Thursday, July 14, 2011

The eyes have it

I was very conscious of my clients' eyes this past week. 

I'm not sure why I was struck more than usual this week (as opposed to most other weeks), but I noticed there was a lot of eye-contact (which you would kind of think wouldn't really be the case when working with folks who aren't usually all that comfortable with looking directly at people). Anyway.

Here's a summary of my, um, eye-catching (sorry) moments:

1. D stared at me for quite a while during his session. Really. I'd classify it as staring. Something was going on for him, which became even more apparent when he got up and pulled me to the Music Room door (which he has only done once or twice in the 13 years I've worked with him) and headed us back to the cottage. I found myself feeling uncertain as to what was going on with him. Was he excited? Angry? Attracted? Frustrated with me? When he decided to leave the session unexpectedly, I felt disappointed and a bit confused.

2. R looking at me rather intently and frequently today. This is very unusual for him, because he usually looks at my hands and at what I'm doing on the guitar. I have very little conscious memory of him ever even looking at my face! I was joking with one of the other music therapists at work that I must be doing one heck of a job. After working together for almost 23 years (seriously), R finally approaches me and greets me when I arrive in his home. Maybe this is an extension of that?

3. W has been expressing some intense feelings toward me. I have, of course, been responding with "that's not our relationship." During a recent session, I said to him, "you know, it seems as if I'm really frustrating you a great deal lately."  He responded by looking at me. Very. Pointedly. [Insert slight squirm here.] And then he left his session early also. But this time, aside from feeling a bit confused, I also felt (yes) frustrated. ("Take that, you blasted music therapist!")

4. V greeted me today by scooting over to me, looking me in the eye, and taking both of my hands in hers when I arrived in her group. This, I must say, was a way friendlier "hello"  than she had been using when I showed up over the past three weeks! (Observe, to your right, the fascinating and unusual unhappy face she somehow managed- without even intending it- to create on my arm with her nails...isn't that wild?) (And, no, don't worry. I'm fine.)

It certainly looks as if the eyes have it this week! (Sorry, again, for the dreadful string of puns.) (Really, I can't help it.)


Laura Cousins said...

This is another great post. All the labels that you have added to this post sum up my thoughts and feelings exactly: "What is being communicated?", "Is this countertransference?", "What does it all MEAN??" (LOL), etc etc, right up to paying attention.

My client K is (mostly) blind. He identifies people by smell. I have learned that when he sniffs repeatedly, he is "looking" at me in an olfactory sort of way. He loves it when I use some rhythmic sniffing of my own to add to whatever music we are making.

Roia said...

@Laura I absolutely love the- er- image (?) of the two of you sniffing musically at each other! :- ) Well, we use what works and makes sense within the context, don't we? Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comments and stories.