Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Water water everywhere--musings of a therapist

Like much of the rest of the city, I have become one of those people who rushes to the basement on first entering my house. I feel just slightly closer to my ancestors who were farmers...I grew up hearing people talk about going to take a walk around the land, or check out the I find myself getting my rubber boots and jacket on and grabbing my flashlight for one last loop around the yard to check out my land.

It's frozen over now, and so we've a bit a repreive here, but for several days, I and my kin spent a chunk of every day chopping (yup, got out the axe) passages in the ice piled high to create a little path for the water to escape to the lower parts away from the house--the city sewers. Before that, we were shovelling the water over the banks. The shovelling worked for a few days when it first started to melt, but on the weekend, the rising waters made shovelling seem rather like trying to empty a bathtub with a spoon. That is to say, somewhat effective, but not efficient.

There was a significant level of satisfaction to create the path in the ice bank to the street...though, it didn't come immediately. We worked for probably half an hour without a drop being drained, chopping, clearing, scraping over and over. Even at first, we weren't sure how much water would actually leave.

Two days later, what we had come to know as "Lake Bergen" in front of the house, had significantly reduced in size, due to the human made "River Bergen" which, over the course of time, made itself wider and wider, and more effective at draining the water.

Seems to me that life can be like that. Clients come telling us how very hard they work at a situation--lots of effort, but are concerned or even terrified at the lack of significant movement on the issue. Hearing oneself talk about it, getting another perspective, processing the issue through a different lens and looking at it, with the support of another in a fresh way potentially allows the way for a whole different strategy.

Often, after a first session, it's a little like the axe is starting to create the path, but nothing can drain yet...that's when a skeptic can say, "See, I knew this counselling thing was pointless...what good can talking about it do?"

But the fun starts when new understanding comes, new strategies start being used in neat ways...and then the water starts flowing. Clients come in saying, "I came for help in one area, but I'm loving what is happening in another area in my life that I haven't even talked about"...the path becomes wider, and things happen, even without deliberate effort.

--An example of what happens in a therapist's mind when spending time with puddles and ice for hours.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great analogy! The snow is pretty crazy, eh? Not that I should be surprised. Winnipeg weather loves to mix things up a bit!