I have had the idea for a blog for some time now, but I have resisted the temptation to use it.

My original title was Rest In Peace, but I thought if someone saw that they would think I had died. It was really the idea that I needed a place to put my thoughts. Somewhere I could lay them to rest so that I could make more room for new ones to arrive.

My basic reluctance to do this was perhaps I wasn’t ready to let them go. Or I told myself that if a patient read any of this they might learn how I think. But this is only an illusion. The kind of illuion created by on-line dating services. You read “about” someone, but until you actually “experience” them you really don’t “know” them. So if you read this and think you “know” me ….

A patient once asked me for my definition of therapy. I responded something like, “Two people sitting in a room”. In retrospect, this was probably accurate. Oh I could have spouted theories “about” therapy and quoted major thinkers in the field, but the experience of therapy is an experience which I do not think can be described or communicated. It can only be experienced.

The other obvious thing about my definition is that there are TWO persons in the room, me and you. And it is the relationship that is there that is the experience of therapy. It is all too easy for therapists to deny this experience and turn therapy into a dead sterile exercise. As if there were only one person in the room–the patient. That’s a good protective device for the therapist, and I wouldn’t blame them for it. We all need our shields.

But, in the end there is no substitute for experience, only ways we have created to avoid it.

Then there is the whole issue of “lost in translation”. In my mind, my thoughts are sometimes brilliant sometime stupid, sometimes scary etc… But that’s merely in my mind. When I move these thougts outside, into the other world there will always be something lost. Words cannot perfectly describe or capture or catch what is in our minds. It is as if there are two different worlds. What is in our minds and what we try to communicate via words. Of course this is what happens in therapy. But how do you communicate or put into words an experience? How do you tell someone else about a “feeling”? Feelings can be felt/experienced but can’t be seen, touched, etc.

On my good days, I believe that I can sense the feelings, the experience that the patient is attempting to tell me about. I “feel” it. So I try to not listen to the words, but to something else.

What? Well I imagine that babies and mothers communicate without words, and the mother “senses” what it is a grunt, a moan, a cry means.

Pehaps you will “sense” what my words cannot communicate.

Or is this just another illusion?

Dr. Brody

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