Once the therapist has gotten a sense of his/her side of the relationship, the therapist can explore the interaction and interdependence with the client. Oftentimes, what’s happening in the client may be the catalyst for exploring the therapist’s side. Regardless of where it begins, just like with our clients, we can track a pattern of interaction.
Questions to explore – interdependence:
These questions take last week’s inquiry and look at the interdependent cycling back. When B is impacted and reacts, how it will then impact A.
To better illustrate this, let me tell you about a case I had a number of years ago where I was in a fascinating dynamic with the couple, specifically with the male partner. I presented this case at my 2013 presentation. The videotape of the session showed this cycling full-on. I will try to do it justice verbally.
Sam and Sally, young 30-somethings, were making headway in treatment. Sally was sharing an important fear that she experiences. While she was trying to express this, Sam kept interrupting her. Initially, I asked Sam to pause and wait her out. He would pause for a moment, and then a few minutes later would attempt to interrupt Sally again. I continued to ask him to give her space to explore; however, he continued to pause and then interrupt. The more I asked him to pause, the more frustrated he became. The more frustrated he became and interrupted her, the more I became frustrated and asked him to pause. Eventually he was so frustrated, he stood up and began pacing the room.
Using the above exercise, I felt frustrated (feeling) with the client, I started thinking “he isn’t listening to her, or me (thoughts), and I kept interrupting him (action) to get him to stop interrupting her.
As he was interrupted, he probably felt dismissed and frustrated (feelings) with me, may have started thinking that I don’t care or his thoughts/needs don’t matter (thoughts), and he kept interrupting, and eventually began pacing (action).
The more he interrupted, the more I paused him. The more I paused him, the more he interrupted. And so on, and so on. The more and more this happened, the more out of attunement we became, getting further from each other’s understanding.
In a future post, I will explain what this was all about for me and for him. For the moment, just notice the interdependence and pattern.
Reading Reflection: Consider your cases and explore possible interdependent patterns. Map out the pattern in your journal; share any relevant experiences you notice. I welcome questions for clarity at all times.
Next Up ~ Phase 2 - Exploration and Expression of Self
Hi and welcome to my blog! I am excited to have this endeavor underway. It has been many years in the making.