Monday morning 9am, the same time each week I am to be found in a big leather armchair, in the equally voluptuous seat facing me sits my Therapist, we are in her consultation room in Kensal Rise. She is a creature of habit, each week she finds comfort in the same clothing, black knitted top, black slacks, high heels, very high, ( black patent ). A tattoo is visible in the nape of her neck, small but indelible, written in sanskrit, her voice carved on skin, wanting to be heard, but not for general consumption, it’s all textbook stuff.
Therapy is hard work, my therapist is hard work, she sits there stoney faced, motionless, she stares intently for long periods, fixing her gaze on me, she talks little. To make her feel comfortable I fill in the gaps for her, it seems appropriate, filling the silence, perhaps it will encourage her to speak.
We repeat this same exercise, each week, stares, silence, me talking over the gaps and then after 45mins she becomes animated, she begins to move and fidget, she utters a few sentences, I understand this to mean that she has had enough, she seems to have a rigid span of attention, after 50 minutes the session ends I get up from my chair and say goodbye, we agree to meet at the same time the following week. I thank her for her time ( I think she needs to hear approval) and I leave to continue my day.
I have been rather concerned that we are making little progress, is it worth the investment I wonder, but today we reached a milestone.
After three months of stares and stoney faced silence, today for the first time she laughed, well burst out laughing, not once but twice in our session.
How I helped her find laughter? Well the catalyst was me explaining what I as a man wanted from a woman, I can’t go into too much detail – confidentiality is important in this profession, ( after all there are vulnerable people involved ) but it is enough to say that I really helped that woman today to find something she has not been able to do for some time.
I am pleased that all the effort is beginning to pay off. Next week I want to talk to her about vulnerability, I have noticed beneath her seat is a baseball bat. I had thought perhaps that she might speak about it of her own accord, but nothing as yet, each week I see it, poking out from beneath the chair, no doubt the aphonogellia is also complicated by issues of self-protection, or alternatively there are anger issues here bubbling beneath the surface, which I am not sure, but we clearly need to get this out in the open and shed light on the matter. Maybe next week would be a good time.