Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Finding a rhythm

Apparently the dark hours before dawn are very productive for me. On Friday I woke up at 5:00a.m. thanks to the kittens and could not go back to sleep. That is when I finished the edit of the research paper, wrote in my online classes a bit, emailed a different professor (who has not written back yet!) and so forth. Friday night is when I finished the cat bed and the mittens. Saturday I did not wake unusually early but evidently propelled by the productivity of the day before had me posting away on my online classes. Then nothing. No seriously.

Fast forward to this morning. Again the kittens decided playing on sleeping mama heads was a good idea. Again I could not fall back to sleep because I started obsessing on school work - a common thread over here at The Cedar Street Zoo. So at just after 4:00a.m. I quietly found warm clothes, grabbed my glasses, headed to the laundry room to throw a load in, and settled on the couch with Lotus (my laptop) and my Crisis Intervention book. Read chapter eight, reviewed the assignment based on the chart in chapter six on Erikson's stages of development.

"Using Kanel's chart from page 93, map your own life using Erikson's stages but put in a "Possible Problematic Social Role Change" from your own personal life history. From your current vantage point suggest the Intervention(s) you would recommend now. Use only one "Possible" for each stage. "

There is something especially surreal about doing this type of assignment before daybreak. I realize that one in a graduate program in psychology gets to examine their life and all the minutiae of crazy that has happened but trying to choose the one problematic crisis? How is it possible to determine which messed up episode captures the representation of development for each life stage? Saana and Atticus served as silent supporters of my careful consideration of what details about myself I was willing to reveal and still truly fulfill the assignment. It was very interesting writing the interventions as I have wondered about this sort of thing, without the language and background, in earlier musings. Also as this part of the course is focused on crisis and not particularly doing therapy, it was really challenging because deep therapeutic work was what was needed frequently in the episodes I choose.

Sometimes doing this work reminds me of when I did the certificate program in Maternal and Child Health at Boston University's School of Public Health. You read about all about the multitude of things that can go wrong and scare yourself. During that one year program I did about, hm, 6 births? It was hard as hell not to worry, to pick over symptoms, to pray furiously to deities you're not even sure you believe in. When I read about the dysfunctions of families, there are times I feel like my life is being used without permission in vignettes. Looking at couple dynamics I feel like I am scoring my relationship against the examples in the texts and trying to justify where we are not perfect. No couple is perfect, and no one really knows what happens when no one is there to listen in. In theory we all know this, but still we posit the dynamics we only have hints at. There are times I feel like I am a living, breathing example of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Who am I to provide therapy? I realize I have some skills, and will gain more before, before what exactly? In truth I have been already providing therapy but somehow it doesn't feel real right now. When my next client is assigned, will it start feeling real again? Probably and it will leave me with a fear that leaves me hollow on the days when I feel it is hopeless and I am ineffective. Those days will be countered by the moments of deep connection with a client. It's then that regular math doesn't work. Minutes will quell days of dread. It's magic formula.

Remind me of that will you?


Anonymous said...

Will you be able to do therapy by phone? If so, line me up as your first client...


Dharma said...

LSR my love you are so sweet. If it wouldn't go against my ethic the answer would be yes. However I would be happy to talk to you any time and offer a good ear, occasion suggestions or reframes things just a bit. As a friend, you understand.