Tag Archives: Support Systems

Intimate Relationships Newly Defined.

So here they are.   My guys (I don’t think they’d mind knowing I think of them that way).  The one who’s in love with me.  The one who can’t live without me.  The one who doesn’t say a word but can’t stop staring and smiling at me.  The one who can’t really see or hear me but just has to talk for a few more minutes.  The one who doesn’t need to talk at all, just sit together…

We met in the square.  Actually, I entered the square not knowing it was their square.  But – after they’d circled me and clucked at me and asked one another what they thought –  they told me I was welcome.  In their square, have a seat. In the sun.

They’d been waiting together, waiting for one another and with one another, for years. And now, it seems, they decided they’d been waiting for me.  They couldn’t have been more gracious.  They invited me to sit, to visit, to tell them about myself and my world.  The invited me to get to know them, to take their picture, to remember them, to let them remember me and the day we all fell in love…

Because really, what could be more intimate than being welcomed, invited to sit on the sunny bench in their square?  What could be more intimate than waiting, together, me and my guys…

Relationships come in all manner of packages.  Intimate moments are just waiting for us to find them, or to let them find us…

Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

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Waiting…

Do all things come to those who wait?

What things would those be?  All good things? The things others leave behind?

The things worth waiting for?

Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

The Road Ahead, 2010:

Sometimes, it seems full of promise.
Sometimes, it is hard to see ahead, past the dark clouds.
Sometimes, the road’s too rough, and you don’t have enough gas in the tank.
Sometimes, the signs don’t really seem likely to get you where you want at all.
Sometimes, it seems futile.

And sometimes, all you need is a wrinkled and spotted hand, reaching out over the seat for your wrinkled and spotted hand, wordlessly letting you know you are not alone…

Hard times. Recession, 2009. Hard times.
And the road ahead in 2010? Hard times or good times, or some combination of both…
There’s an outstretched hand; you are not alone.
Remember the outstretched hand. And remember to look ahead.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

Reasons to Leave your Therapist, Part I: The Good Experience

Ok. So I lied: not ready to “go fishin'” yet. You see, it’s August, the traditional month most therapists take off (hit a beach on the Cape and you’re apt to see yours in a bathing suit). I, on the other hand, generally stay in the city and see patients. I figure just because most therapists take a break in August, psychological needs and interpersonal issues don’t necessarily.

So here I am, with a lighter load (many of my patients are off for part of August, too), thinking about the process of therapy. What helps, what makes it less effective, and, today especially, how to manage and understand the breaks: illness, vacation, I-think-I-need-to-try-this-alone-for-a-while. And ending therapy.

How in the world do you know when to end therapy? There are a number of scenarios, depending on you, your therapist, and your course of treatment. So let’s start with:

Part I: Leaving a good therapeutic experience. You’ve been in therapy what seems like forever. You look forward to your regular Monday afternoon sessions with Dr. Whoever. You save up stories during the week to share, you note things you need to discuss or get opinions on, you’re comfortable and always enjoy your sessions. You trust your therapist, even like your therapist (except, maybe, for that horrible taste in office furniture). So why in the world would you even think about ending therapy (we call it termination – but since neither of you are not terminating your life, just the therapy, it’s not a word I find myself using…).

If therapy’s gotten too comfortable, and you find yourself sharing views on the markets’ rise or fall, discussing the relative merits of one sort of restaurant (car, clothing line, gardening tip…you get the drift), or inviting your therapist to your son’s middle school graduation, it’s time to reassess. Maybe, hold on, even time to leave your therapist.

What! Leave, just when I’ve gotten comfortable, when I really trust this person?

Yes, leave. Graduate, perhaps. Or switch to another therapist with a fresh take, a different style, maybe even a different approach.

Therapy requires trust, a level of comfort, and communication to be effective. But really useful therapy, the kind that helps you learn about yourself and change, becoming more and more the you you want to be, that kind of therapy starts there, but moves on to so very much more. It’s not enough to get support, to feel understood and accepted. Crucial, but you can do better. And you should.

You should leave your sessions often feeling challenged to think in different ways, uncomfortable because you’ve felt emotions you haven’t in years, awkward because you are trying out new behaviors, angry because you’ve been pushed to confront something you’ve been avoiding, teary-eyed because your therapist ‘got it’. More than comfortable: growing, learning, taking therapy into real life, facing the hard stuff, sharing your fears and taking risks.

If that’s no longer happening in your treatment, bring the subject up in your next session. What have I learned and accomplished so far? What work remains to be done? What are my goals? What issues haven’t we tackled – and why? Do you think you can help me with the next phase, or have we done all we can together?

And then decide. Ending therapy. Ending therapy with this therapist and beginning anew. Getting a consultation. Or just taking a break and giving it some thought; maybe even with the help of the meditation you’ve been practicing.

Part II: The Not So Good Experience to come…stay tuned…

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

Wake Up and Smell the…

coffeebeans Pay attention.
Think. Deal.
Do something about it.
It may be later than you think,
but there’s still time…
almost enough time…
for the things that matter:

Dinner and conversation at Elaine’s last night.
Espresso and Grand Marnier.
Friends and ideas.
Writing and reading.
Learning and sharing.
Living in the real world.
Difficult, perhaps, but what other game’s even remotely as interesting, important or – dare I say – fun?

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

All Therapy, All the Time…

girl lookingIf your 45 minutes in session is all you’re getting from your therapy experience, it’s one very expensive use of your precious time and money. Too expensive.

You uncover things about yourself during the session, learn new skills and perhaps try out new behaviors. All good. But therapy is meant to be more than just what happens in your therapist’s office. It’s meant to be an ongoing process, a way of thinking and learning about yourself and your connection to the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean the sort of “Woody Allen” therapy you stay in (seemingly) forever. It means you are meant to ponder, to practice, and to let it all penetrate – both within – and outside of – the therapy hour.

On the way to your session (sort of like how you sometimes feel you have begun your vacation the minute you buckle your seat belt?). When something about a habit you’ve had for years somehow feels different. When you notice yourself feeling something in an otherwise ordinary everyday encounter that reminds you of something you’ve been working on in your therapy.

Therapy happens between therapy sessions, just as much as it does during session, perhaps even more. Because it is between sessions that you make your therapist’s brilliant insights your own, drop the particulars you can’t really make your own, and take your own insights out for a test drive. With consequences.

Because therapy is meant to help you make your life work better. It is not meant to be a substitute for, or a place to hide out from, living your life. It’s a way of looking at the world, your way of looking at the world: clarified by information, enriched by insight, enhanced by openness, and uniquely your own. And that takes practice. That is an ongoing practice…

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

A Therapist Learns about Love: The Real Deal

thekiss2The little things.

They are the big things.

Going the distance.
Safe haven. Trust.

Imperfect.

Impermanent.

Impossible?

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.