My new therapist is not what one would expect. When I think of therapists I think of women in knee length skirts, surrounded by books, slightly bizarre manner, probably not the most gregarious person in the world. Or a male, glasses, slim, stuffy, practiced smile, uncomfortable in a social setting. I’m stereotyping – GUILTY! Shoot me now! But to be fair, I’ve seen so many therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, mental health workers, etc I’m sure with all statistical probability I could provide a good approximation of the right image.
Now this woman, I didn’t expect. Dressed like she’s going for a champagne brunch, nice heels, styled blonde hair, nice handbag (not designer, but hey, we’ll let that slide), make up on. This is a woman that screams, I’m having a Pinot Griogio and a salad with girlfriends, not counselling a poor little messed up bunch of clients.
In our first session her cell rang. Yep, the thing RANG. My eyebrows shot up to the ceiling and I must have looked at her accusingly. She said, ‘oh, of course I’m not going to answer it,’ with a nonchalant wave of her hand.
Further on in my session she told me she trained as a grief counsellor initially, but now she simply ‘loved’ (almost with a drawl) this work. To be honest I couldn’t decide whether this woman drove me insane or in fact I found her rather honest and different approach refreshing.
I decided to see her again. And again.
Thus this rather awkward and at times bemusing relationship has begun. She always turns up dressed immaculately making me feel like a scruffy mutt. We actually used to live on the same street it transpires, and without sounding too petty, my car is better than hers (!), but the roles have been set. She sits with her platinum blonde hair and perfectly applied make up seemingly humouring me, and I sit with my scruffy red hair and no make up.
The work is good. Let me tell you. I spend the drive there wishing I wasn’t going. I feel every second of the hour. The ‘rock’ I keep buried in my heart, I feel it, grinding, cutting, pushing to get out, the tears they want to fall. The room feels small, she waits expectantly for me to break, because to her, that’s what happens. To her, it would be completely unreasonable to move forward without grieving for the past. She is non judgemental, she’s open and patient. She asks point blank questions – what are you scared of? Why? There is no room to move. I understand more and more. I’m out of my comfort zone. But it’s where I need to go to see.
At the end of the hour, I’m exhausted. She hugs me. Every session is a hug. I wouldn’t usually like that. It seems odd, but with her, it’s sweet.
She wants me to start talking now about things I never talk about. I joke to her that maybe we can skip that part, and she can say something really inspiring like in a movie, and I cry and then BOOM! I’m healed! The end.
I realise I need to put the hard work in. I need to really find my voice. It terrifies me.