Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last chance lost...

I noticed this song- "Last Chance Lost"-  running through my mind over and over again as we struggled to come to some kind of....okay-ness, an okay space today in our session. My client has some very strong feelings toward me, and although he knows "we don't have that kind of relationship" it's hard for him to hear it. Over and over.  

Yes, and it's hard for me to keep having to say it, because I feel cruel. I mean, I realize I'm not being cruel. I'm being truthful (and a therapist), and I know it would be more cruel to lie to him and pretend I don't see how much he wishes this weren't "just music therapy" and it was a better version of his life. 

And I'd be lying to you if I didn't say the rescue fantasies on my end can be intense. If I weren't so used to this happening it would be freaking me out. But this is something I go through, and it's more so with some people than with others. 

But here he was, this man who doesn't use speech, working so hard to be heard- using his voice even (which is rare)- and there I was...rejecting him again. 

When I step away from the session for a while and think about it, I have an idea of how to proceed and what we need to look at: Where are the feelings for me coming from? What might they be helping him to avoid feeling? What relationship(s) might he be trying to create or re-create in our sessions? And so forth. 

But...right there in the session...I feel like such a jerk. 

It's not that I'm afraid he'll be angry with me- although it would mean the beginning of the long period of anger. 

There always seem to be stages in the music therapy process- at least with the folks I work with individually. Initially there's a long period of "I don't trust you." That's usually followed by "okay, maybe you're not so creepy," which eventually works its way into "must we leave now?" Then we get into the "I like you/I can't let you know how much I like you" period which gradually becomes "I love you and you should never leave me!"  

I think my client and I are in that latter period right now. And I'm in the complicated "be firm but kind and figure out a way to reject without being rejecting/remember you're trying to help him realize how he's relating to people that's not really working for him/come on, Roia, you can do this" part of the work. 

And I know. The big anger is coming. Okay, so maybe I'm a little afraid. It's hard to give up being loved. Not that the anger indicates an absence of love. It's just easier, I'm sure you'll agree, when your client is in the "you totally rock" phase versus the "you rejected me and you are horrible and cruel" phase. 

Anyway. We struggled. He was sad. I was sad on his behalf. 

It was hard for him to return his instrument at the end of the session, and he insisted on carrying it back with him to his cottage- where he finally gave it back to me after a brief, gentle tug to make sure I understood he wasn't happy about relinquishing me or the instrument. 

The only part of the song I remembered as we worked through this session was "last chance lost". When I read the lyrics I was fascinated (for the hundredth time) by how our minds create musical connections with people, with moments and experiences. 

Last Chance Lost

by Joni Mitchell

Last chance lost
In the tyranny of a long good-bye
Last chance lost
We talk of us with deadly earnest eyes
Last chance lost
We talk of love in terms of sacrifice and compromise
Last chance
Last chance lost

Last chance lost
The hero cannot make the change
Last chance lost
The shrew will not be tamed
Last chance lost
They bicker on the rifle range
Blame takes aim
Last chance
Last chance lost

© 1994; Crazy Crow Music 


Meghan Hinman said...

Roia, the song lyrics are amazing. I love the way songs reveal and reflect our unconscious so well. As I was reading your piece, I was struck by the impression that you *do* love this client. Not in a violating-boundaries kind of way, but in a real, honest, intimate way. Don't you think? Healthy love does have boundaries... of course you know that... and I think as therapists we are allowed to feel genuine love and intimacy with our clients, and to honor their fantasies about us without enacting them. How difficult but also how healthy it must be for this man to experience how love and separateness can exist at the same time. That is a hard lesson for anyone to learn.

Roia said...

Gosh, Meghan, you said it so beautifully, there is simply nothing I can add that feels as if it would do your comments justice. Thank you for putting it in such a lovely and loving way!

Anita L. Gadberry, Ph.D., MT-BC said...

I love your honesty and willingness to share moments and topics that are not often pointed out---unless in supervision. Keep up the great work, Roia!

Roia said...

Anita, thank you so much for coming by to read my carryings on! And thanks for your comment. I guess I write about stuff I wish other people would talk about. Anyone? Anyone? :- )

Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC said...

Roia, I know you've had this post up for a while but for some reason I'm just now finding it. Thank you for holding up a magnifying glass of sorts on those moments that many of us all-too-often move on past without so much as a thought.

Anita is right . . . your honesty . . . your transparency take my breath away and reorients me to what is truly important in our work. That's exactly why I've nominated you for The Beautiful Blog Award here . It seemed like a really easy way to tip my hat to your healing spirit and, at the same time, introduce my readers and many more to the amazing work you do here on your blog and in your work with your clients, too.

Blessings to you on your journey!

Roia Rafieyan said...

Tamara, you absolutely rock! Thank you, very belatedly, for the nomination. I guess being obsessive has to come to some use in the end, doesn't it? It's hard work we do, and I find, for me anyway, it requires an awful lot of thinking and feeling. :- )

I do so hope you end up visiting NJ again at some point. Every time I drive by Morristown I think of our lovely meal together.