Side stepping a bit, from the (cont) blog story, this happened at the same time.
The hypnotherapist suggest I work 1:1 with a man called "Strongfield" (name changed/withheld for privacy), to try to unlock some of the deeply repressed memories.
I went to my next session with Richard and as we were talking I casually mentioned this.
Richard was the perfect mirror. What ever body position I had he reflected. If I was sprawled in the chair, so was he. His body language was never harsh or confrontational. He excelled in this area. He was a male working with a client with a history of sexual abuse. Had he in ANY way made ANY, EVEN REMOTELY harsh or off gestures, looks or easily misconstrued motions, it would have ended our therapeutic relationship instantly.
His voice was always calm and nothing seemed to ruffle his feathers. He could say the most intense things with such an easy tone that it was both powerfully intense and soothing at the same time.
We were both melted into the chairs when I dropped the name Strongfield, and I got to see a side of him I hadn't encounter in our years together.
His face changed instantly and he snapped up and leaned forward. "Have we talked about Strongfield before?"
"No. I think I want to work with..."
His shoulders flattened as he leaned forward and cut me off. "Be careful!" He stressed in a tone that he hadn't ever spoken in before, his voice rising beyond his quiet level. He went on to tell me he had several clients who had worked with him and none had anything nice to say about him.
Every time I tried to counter his argument his body got bigger and bigger till even the rebellious children rolling around with in me were all clear on the point he was making. DANGER.
He never said "don't work with him/stay away." He just stressed over an over, "Be careful."
This was the only time I ever saw this in him. He kept harping on it until I involuntarily flinched away from him as he leaned ever closer. When he saw me dissociate he melted back into his chair and instantly resumed neutral body posture.
It gave me a lot to think about.
I valued his opinion. I loved that he let me choose the healing path in our journey together. If he thought we needed to head another direction he would gently nudge me that way. It was never "do this period." Yet here he was standing up to me like a father talking to a rebellious daughter wanting a tattoo at 12 years old.
Was it okay for him to talk to me like this? To do everything but put his foot down and forbid me to work with Strongfield?
Oh you betcha.
This happened near the termination of therapy. It was the perfect slap in the face and return to reality. He couldn't have planned that any better if he tried. He was truly gifted in the art of healing.
Being in therapy is a weird relationship. You are an open book and boundaries don't really apply. You are suppose to trust deeply and be open. You get used to talking casually about some really deep stuff. In a few short sentences he transitioned me from trust me tell me everything to hey this is reality, choose who you trust/open up to carefully there are predators out there.
I did meet Strongfield in a college day seminar a few months later and got to do some group work with him. Tcos were on high alert and Richard's BE CAREFUL were sounding a massive alarm in my head.
His concern was valid.
I am grateful he cared enough about me to jeopardize our therapeutic relationship to protect me. Had he pulled that early in our work together I would have terminated on the spot. But after four years he had earned the unconditional trust of all of me. A feat no one has ever duplicated since.