I went into last night’s session with determination. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would say or how I would say it, but I knew that we needed to talk.
Except, you know, not right away.
I walked in and, per usual, asked the therapist, “How are you?” She replied with her standard “I’m okay.” Which made me realize that she always replies with either “good” or “okay” when I ask her how she’s doing. I pointed that out and asked if she always answers that way when her clients ask how she’s doing. Rather than answer my question, she asked me why I was asking it. Typical therapist.
I didn’t answer her directly, but I said it’s strange that I always ask her that question even though I know she’ll never respond with anything beyond a simple “good” or “okay.” She noted that it would be inappropriate of her to share beyond that because my sessions are about me, not her. She also said that based on previous statements I’ve made, she feels that perhaps my former therapists shared some stuff that wasn’t necessary for me to know and just added to my list of things to worry about. She’s totally right.
So I know she’ll never answer with some grand manifesta of how her life is playing out on any given day, and quite frankly I’d be horribly offended and disgusted if she did. Yet I still feel a compulsive need to ask “How are you?” whenever I walk into her office. Why?! I was starting to work myself into an unnecessary level of distress about this when she interrupted my internal meltdown by saying, “Maybe you just ask that because it’s part of how we so often begin conversations and it helps you establish the beginning of session.”
Oh, right. That actually totally makes sense. We also discussed how it might be a way for me/us to ‘check-in’ and just sorta establish that all is well and the space is safe. This seemed reasonable enough, so I calmed down and remembered the 47 other things I wanted to talk to her about. Mainly the end of last session. But I wasn’t ready to go there just yet, so I stalled some more…
My next statement was, “I think it’s time we had a conversation about something. I’m not sure what – but definitely something.” She said, “Well, I’m glad you brought it up then. Maybe by just talking we can figure out what it is.” And I was like “Well that’s all I had to say – that was the beginning, the middle, and the end.” She said, “That’s okay.”
But then I realized I most definitely knew what I wanted to converse about, so I said, “No that’s a lie. I know exactly what I want to talk about. I’m just scared.”
“Scared of what?”
“Scared of everything. Scared of this. Scared of you.”