why this title for a psychotherapist's blog? it's so ...
it's so ...
literary. remember philip roth's human stain? that kind of literary.
explanation: because it represents me as a human being and a therapist as much as words can represent a person.
this moniker for my practice came about in chilly alaska, when i was stretching my brain muscle looking for a soundbite descriptor of me and my approach to health, healing, the human journey, the all of it, the enterprise of being human and counting life's minutes passing by via idiosyncratic laughs, eyelash flutter, gaze, sigh, stretch, lunges toward health, away from isolation, and such ... like.
these many years since, the moniker has stuck. and it suits me still. even though it's ... un-clinical. exactly and almost for that reason alone: because it is un-clinical.
clinical. let's play with words: sterile. blinding white. cold. smells like rubbing alcohol. cold, again. metal. scratch. cold, once more. forms to be completed. charts to write in. insurance billing. diagnostic codes. formulas. treatment. prescriptions. mottled blue skin. white pills, different sizes.clinical research; statistics. lab. white noise. cold smell. cold walls. cold. cold.
i've never been able to conceptualize the client - therapist relationship as a clinical relationship, even though technically and professionally that's what it is: it's a contractual relationship where information is exchanged for remuneration: my time and information = your payment.
maybe because my "becoming a therapist" was an organic process which, more or less, evolved out of my polyglot wanderings. or maybe because i am personally and politically opposed to the modern constructs of "marketplace" and "critical mass." or simply because this is an all-too human thing, this face-to-face, week-to-week, in-depth check-in, a compassionate and evocative dialogue that i engage in with whomever happens to sit opposite me. it has never escaped me, the nuance and complexity of The Other who sits across from me and discloses. and trusts. lives and breathes.
how can it not be qualified as heart and soul work, i asked myself? i attend to, i comfort, i am entrusted with, i cry with, speak to another's heart with my heart - knowledge base aside; this is a given - am privileged to be with, intimately - if by intimacy, emotional disclosure is understood. it is profound, empathetic, at-times wordless connection.
as opposed to a purely clinical relationship.
it is a relationship that requires presence.
it is an endeavor that requires heart and soul.