I left work today feeling as if I’d done something wrong. I mean, logically, rationally, I know I didn’t, but, for some reason, today I feel as if I did. Honestly, as I’m sitting here and thinking about the interactions I had with my clients this morning and this afternoon, I can’t say that there was anything I’d have done differently.
I was frustrated after person number one, sad and defeated after person number two, confused by person number three, and felt as if I’d blown it with person number four. Actually, I’m fairly certain that person number four felt as if he was the one who blew it in our session. I think the intensity of the feelings he is experiencing is overwhelming for him, and, to his credit, he came to his session anyway, and he did his best (not unlike the situation with the person I described yesterday). His best involved refusing to be in the Music Room, dashing around campus with me trying to keep up, making a bold attempt to steal someone’s coffee (I made a daring rescue), and finally ending up back at his home base (after I quietly gave him the choice of either returning to the Music Room and figuring out what the problem was or going back to his cottage).
I don’t usually get stressed out walking with him. In fact, I rather like to walk with him, because, usually, there’s a very nice easiness about our movement and interaction. Not today! We sat outside for a couple of minutes before heading back in to his cottage (it was his “request”), and he looked at me for a while, and I looked back. It was then that I realized how hard he had been working to keep in contact with me, so I complimented him for his efforts (especially since he used to just plain refuse to come at all- again, not unlike the person from yesterday’s installment). A little later, as I walked back to the Music Room feeling a bit disappointed at how short our session had been, I saw that he needed to not be in the intimate space of the music therapy session until he could get his feelings back under control.
Meanwhile, I truly felt awful after session number two. After vainly trying to get the man to stop eating threads from his clothing, I literally had to say to him “you know what? I am waving the white flag. I admit defeat. I am sending you back to your staff. Let them stop you from destroying your innards.” I said this in frustration, but I immediately felt very sad (a sure sign of projective identification- I’d almost swear it). I told him we’d try again on Wednesday, and I continued to feel sad through half of my lunch hour.
So, yes...today was not quite right.