Interact Journal Integrative Ideas for the Process-Oriented Psychotherapist

Categories Supervision Dialogs

On being disconnected

Three different times last week I found myself disconnected from my work. Essentially, I wasn’t really in the room.

I’m glad you are aware of that. Were you aware in the session or did you figure it out afterward?


• You thought you had to fix somebody.
• You thought you had to do a perfect job.
• You were scared.
• You wanted to be someplace else.
• You were angry.
• Your body was trying to tell you, “I need to get out of the room.”
• Your body was trying to tell you, “I need to get out of the system.”

As you become more experienced, you will probably find it easier and easier to recognize and name (at least to yourself) your process in session while it’s happening. Sometimes the most effective therapeutic interventions are the ones that come from our countertransferences.

Find out for yourself. As an experiment, see if you can find a way to use your own process at least once in every session you do. If you can’t think of anything else, you might try something like,

“I notice I’m thinking, feeling, responding, making up a story, remembering, seeing, reminded of . . . (whatever), right now. What’s your response to that?” How does that relate to what you’re talking about?”

Make a broad guess that whatever is going on for you is also going on for the client. You can use yourself as a starting point, (see above) or you might just go for the big time.

“On a scale from zero to ten, how disconnected from yourself are you, right now? . . . Okay. How did you find the answer to that question?”

“Where do you go, when your body is sitting in that chair and you are not in the room?”

“Say that again and this time, find out what you have to do in order to stay in the room as you talk.” ¯

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