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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Big Sigh

Some people do this when they enter my office and sit down.  They let out a sigh of relief.  It happened today:  My patient said:  "Oh, I just feel so safe in here, as if I am protected from the world.  It's as if I'm inside a bubble.  No one can get to me here."
(and, in fact, I always deadbolt the door, from the inside, after the patient enters, so as to be sure that no one can interrupt us).  There are big windows wrapping around a corner of my office and this particular patient mentioned that too, saying she liked it that she could see out but, since we are on the second floor, no one can see in.
Earlier in the week, another person made that sound after he came in and said:  "I feel like now things will be sorted out.  I can get squared away."
In a recent post, I wrote about a woman who said, following the initial sigh, "I feel like I can say anything here.  I can pour it all out.  Everyone should have this.  It's my sanctuary."

Everyone feels differently about therapy.  People come for different reasons; they have varying expectations; they interpret the experience in their own individual way.  But this sigh at the beginning happens often enough that I have taken note of it.  Apparently for some people, the therapy setting is, amongst other things a respite from a demanding, difficult, sometimes challenging world. 
Therapy can provide many things---a place for confession, a chance to sort out problems with assistance, an opportunity for personal review,  a person from whom to get suggestions, new ideas, a sounding board, a relationship different from all others, a place to think out loud, and more.  But, I am noticing, it can also be this other thing---a sanctum.

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