Saving Her from Drowning
A new client today asked me, before leaving the office, “Do you always use the same words in your sessions?” After seeing a puzzled look on my face, he explained, “I mean, you used the word God a few times in our session.”
As far as I could recall, I said the word God because his subconscious mind disclosed to me that he has disappointed his parents, himself, and God as a teenager. So, I reflected this back to him.
“No, you mentioned the word God before I even said that I disappointed God.” That, I honestly didn’t remember. Many words I say in a session I don’t necessarily remember, unless I took some notes right after a session. Nevertheless, I remarked, “I hope it didn’t go the wrong way, whatever I said.”
“No… Actually, it worked. I’m feeling very good now. I ran away from my religion, as far as I could, at a very young age.” Of course, he went from Africa to North America. He continued, “I was just surprised I was not offended by that word… And curious if you always say the same things in your sessions….”
No, I do not always say the same things. In fact, every session is very different. And I have no affiliation towards any system or religion. But I was very glad it worked for him.
It reminds me of another client of mine who pays me a visit about two or three times a year. On one of her recent appointments, she said, “I was just telling my sister how I felt I was drowning a few days ago – By the way, my sister says hello.” (Her sister is also my client.) She then continued, “And it was she who reminded me that it was time to see you again. Kemila, for the past two weeks, I’ve been feeling that I’m drowning.”
This client was drowning in legal affairs with her ex, the joint custody with her young son, and the emotions of fear and anxiety around those occurrences. She dealt with them with some of the tools she learned in our previous sessions. “I do the breathing techniques, very deeply. I look at the brighter side of my life. I do affirmations. Sometimes it helps, but for the past two weeks, it was too overwhelming. Maybe my self-esteem is really very low…”
I had to slow her down in her narrative, to help her not work up the energy to overwhelm herself, right there in front of me. In our slowing down examination, investigation, and inquiry into her own thoughts, she realized how the past judgments she held onto were blocking her from clearly seeing the current moment. She pulled out her notebook and pen and started to take notes of our conversations.
At one point, I sensed it was time to bring all these together for a hypnotic reinforcement. So, I invited her to make herself comfortable in the recliner, and put aside her pen and paper… She leaned back and closed her eyes. Her breathing slowed down. Her eyelids quickly fluttered. And I found myself giving her hypnotic suggestions, utilizing her own word of drowning, her self-diagnose of low self-esteem, our agreement that not the circumstances but her own thoughts, judgments, and beliefs could drown her, her habit of notetaking, and her practice of doing affirmation:
… Something you are going to do, maybe today, but no later than tomorrow, is that you are going to write a page-full of general affirmations, statements such as “All is well, and I am right on the track”, such as, “I make my own decisions, to the best of my ability.” If someone says, or yourself say, ‘it’s not good enough.’ you will respond that it is the best, as you know best is always better than good. Such as, “I trust intelligence in everything knows how to work things out on its own, and I am willing to be delightfully surprised.” You will write down things that feel true for you. And every time when you come across this one letter word “I” in your writing, you are going to make sure it occupies some extra space. Maybe this letter itself is going to take two lines in your notebook. It’s okay to end up with fewer words written on one page than usual because, you, the “I”, deserve extra space. The “I” is going to be tall and strong. It is there to really make a point, or a statement… When you have done a page of affirmations, if you want to continue, which is even better, you can write as many pages as you’d like, but a minimum of one page.
When you have done that page, you are going to take a picture of it, and send it to your sister, to tell her that you cannot possibly drown in the sea of words, which are the makeups of thoughts. She will probably give it a good chuckle.
And every time, you feel drowning, you are going to come back to this page, seeing all the I’s standing tall and standing out in the ocean of words, impossible to fall, it instantly puts a smile on your face, because you know “drowning” is just an unnecessary figure of speech.
My client later told me she had found her favourite English word. And that word takes only one letter. And that letter is always capitalized.
I nodded my head with understanding, for I know an “I” life is a much better life than a “me” life.