I saw my first client in 2017, toward the beginning of my time in graduate school. Before my cohort and I saw our cases, we practiced therapeutic basics with one another, such asking open-ended questions instead of closed-ended questions to encourage deeper exploration, or reflecting and paraphrasing statements to get to the gist and the heart of the matter. Though these techniques feel automatic to me now, I still remember how much my listening skills – and my self-awareness – improved when I started using them on a consistent basis.
“You don’t really go toward sadness,” my first therapy supervisor told me, way back in 2017. Continue reading
How do you cope with a ten-month crush that will just not quit? In July, when my most recent crush said he did not feel ready to talk to me, I used every ounce of my willpower to move past him. I first sent him an angry email because one, I felt angry, and two, if I roasted him that meant I could tell myself I no longer cared about him. I then invested my energy, as I always have, into my clinical work, mentoring, friendships, and hobbies. For the last couple weeks of September, I felt that I had moved on from him, managing to go days at a time without thinking about him and at least two or three conversations at a time with friends without analyzing him and his motives. I even went on the patriarchy capitalism devices, otherwise known as dating apps, for a few days before remembering that dating apps make me feel sick.
I experienced a romance-induced relapse last week, when my brain betrayed me and flooded with thoughts of him: is it possible that he still likes me? Continue reading
When J hurt me a few months ago, he reawakened a lot of the trauma I experienced from my mother’s hands as a child. I had a brief phone conversation with him last weekend, which hurt me a lot, because in several implicit ways, he blamed me for what happened. As I gripped my new smartphone in my hand and heard his callous tone, a flood of questions and doubts raced through me: am I just a product of my mother’s abuse? Does my compassion for others only stem from a need to distance myself from her? What does this mean for me, for my personality, for all of my good deeds? After that conversation, I deleted a post I wrote on this blog – a decision I regret – so I want to re-share a quote I included in it, about how people misrepresent love as a bond free of conflict:
“Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the center of his existence. Only in this “central experience” is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis of love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence, that they are one with each other by being one with themselves, rather than by fleeing with themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.” – The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm.
While J has been the only friend to do something horrid to me this semester, others have abandoned me, and I realize I cannot control that. Continue reading
On Wednesday, I felt unwanted.
Today, it took me an hour to write the first sentence – that sentence, about Wednesday – of an emotional, super personal, and rather melodramatic blog post. Continue reading