“Put your purse on the floor”.
“No, it’s ok, I said as I struggled to hang my bag on the back of the chair”. The treatment room was small and it was awkward to maneuver my big purse onto a chair that was squashed into a corner of the room.
“Look how much work that is, just put your purse on the floor”.
“This purse has never seen the floor,” I said feeling a bit neurotic about my admission. “I made a decision never to put my purse on the floor after I read an article in the Edmonton Journal about how dirty the bottoms of purses get and then we set our purses on the kitchen counter!”
“I can’t believe you just said that”.
“It’s true, our purses are filthy”.
She responded with “there is bacteria everywhere, on everything, in the air that we breathe. The reason we are so sick is that we hide from bacteria and our bodies don’t have a chance to build up its immune system”.
I had heard this before and was not going to be swayed. “Yes, you are right and I choose to hang my purse on the back of the chair”.
“Put your purse on the floor”.
“No, it’s fine where it is”.
Shaking her head, “I can feel your walls going up. I don’t know if I will be able to get through to you today”. She paused, eyes closed, in a momentary commune with something.
I waited, stunned and surprised at my shallow breath and my nervous stomach.
“Are you going to put your purse on the floor?”
“No” I repeated.
“You are judgmental and opinionated”.
“As are you” I replied.
“We are not talking about me. You are not going to put your purse on the floor are you”?
“How are you feeling right now” she asked?
Taking a moment to collect my skittish thoughts, “I am very angry. The issue I have worked on all my life is ‘to be heard’, and you have not heard me”.
“I heard you”.
“No you have not. You dismissed what I had to say. What I have to say is valid for me. I feel diminished and my feelings are true for me”.
“No they are not”.
“Are you telling me that my feelings are not accurate” I asked incredulously?
“That is correct. Your feelings are not true because you have told yourself to feel those feelings. You made them up.” As she continued her diatribe I became very quiet. My throat squeezed in pain. There was no point in talking. In fact I couldn’t talk. I later found out that I had moved into what is called a freeze response.
I wanted to leave the room but I didn’t know how. We finished the session.
I had gone to her at the recommendation of my previous voice coach. After 35 years of struggling vocally following a thyroidectomy, I decided to see what my vocal potential really was after all these years. I had the time, I had some money, so why not?
The real reason for my voice work was that deep down I believed that if I found my physical voice then I would find my inner voice; this would make me a better writer.
I am not new to energy work nor am I afraid of it. “This new therapist may be my ticket,” I thought.
In our first session with her, the back of my thighs ached significantly, and my throat tightened with major discomfort.
“Why is that happening to me?” I asked.
“I am not telling you. You will have to figure that one out yourself”.
Fair enough. I thought my physical responses were telling me that I was just scared. I wanted the healing badly and I if all I had to do was face my fears, it would be done. I trusted my therapist more then I trusted my own body.
“I don’t coddle my clients. I am very outspoken and if they don’t like it, tough,” she continued.
“This energy worker appears gifted,” I thought. She communed with the spirit world in a childlike innocence and a matter of fact knowing. She gave me tools to disengage from my unhealthy patterns and tools to enhance my connection with the Divine. She spoke my language mostly, if I could just get past her aggressive comments.
As much as I yearned for it, she could not provide a place of safety for me that included dignity and integrity. Violence no matter how small is unacceptable. Putting a client into a freeze response is one of the worst things we can do as therapists.
When we are in a freeze response, we are unable to move. Our alarm system is activated, bringing us to our deepest level of trauma. When our parasympathetic system sends chemicals that stay in our bodies, they can later be reactivated by a lesser trauma. We can then become re-traumatized.
The writing of this article is a way for me not to be silent, because if I am silent I am in collusion with an unhealthy situation. For whatever reason this therapist was unable to hear me. Is she unprofessional and perhaps working though her own stuff, or is it that she does not know what she does not know?
Being morbidly curious about her journey only takes me away from mine.