My First Countertransference

Last night I was engaging with a couple over a counseling project and I saw a pattern of one partner displaying affection and the other partner, though not ignoring, engaging in their own activities and quietly missing a lot of communication. I’m not even sure the first partner, the affection-displaying one, understood what or THAT they were communicating.

It was not like this. If only because I don't observe people in their bedrooms.

Anyway, I caught myself almost tearing up and getting lost. OHMYHOLYHECK, counter-transferrence! It was happening right there at the kitchen table. (Countertransference is, according to Freud, “a result of the patient’s influence on [the physician’s] unconscious feelings”). While watching an interaction pattern, I was reminded of a relationship I had, and saw from the outside how hurtful and confusing it was for both me and the person I was in relationship with.

It took a one and one half years for me to understand, AFTER that relationship, that my partner had cared deeply, been vastly invested emotionally. In fact it was a monumental issues when i was able to articulate “I finally understand how much he loved me.” (18 months later) because, like my friend replied, “You’ve never said that before. You’ve never said he loved you.”

Anyway, All of this is coming back while I’m watching this couple talk about carrots. CARROTS. Homeskillets are making stew and I’m teetering on the edge of remorse over something that happened YEARS ago and that’s already been discussed, forgiven, and let go. By god’s good grace, I concentrated on what the couple was saying/doing/not saying and pushed the thought away.  I kept myself from getting in the way of the work.

But it was there, for that moment.

There is so much to consider when helping others. Especially when we get to the point of familiarity. I can’t get lost in my thoughts with clients. And I tell ya, pplfriends, I got me some thoughts to get lost in.

most of the other "lost in thoughts" images involved shirtless men. nothanksbye.

And, that’s just one of them, for today.

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