many therapy graduate students are doing what i've been doing for the past 11 weeks.

it's family of origin time.

thanks to Murray Bowen, we must sleuth our own families.  trace our ethnicities.  examine patterns of gender and socioeconomic class.  explore emotional cut off.  triangles.

undifferentiated family ego mass.

i get it, but at the same time, old murray was the same one who pushed the "you're schizophrenic so it must have something to do with how you were mothered."

yep.  same guy.

i'm not saying there's not value  in what we've been doing, though.  in the end, it makes sense.  exploring our own families helps make us aware of our own reactivity to certain dynamics in session and our own countertransference.  the thought is this:  we can only help clients in therapy to the point that we, ourselves, have arrived at in reconciling our own views about our families.

it's a little bizarre, asking all of these super personal questions to family members.  it's more than slightly interesting, getting 15 different responses to one question.

my paper is due wednesday.  i've easily given it 20 hours of work so far (interviewing, drawing the genogram, research, writing the paper), and will put in quite a few more before it's all said and done.  i'm exhausted.  i think we all are.

what i have found is heart breaking.  and perplexing.  and resilient.  and inspiring.

all of this, in the middle of some very, very difficult personal family situations this week.  i almost chucked all of my reference materials for this paper [they were in such a nice, tidy stack] at the wall -- such timing the universe has!   it resulted in shoes and i having an hour long conversation about what we wanted to teach our children about resolving conflict and confronting difficult emotions.  (the difficult situation, however, was not between shoes and i.  he's the receptacle, though, for all of my big thoughts.  lucky him.)

it's friday night.
it was a long day at community outpatient mental health.
it's time to work on the paper again.
so tired of this paper.

when the dust has settled, and spring break has sprung, and i've collected myself again, i look forward to sharing a few stories about forgiveness and love and tenderness.
i look forward to really having a chance to think about what this means for me.
(i'm supposed to do that in my paper, but, you know.  sometimes i'm a slow thinker.)

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on March 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I think when I did this paper, it was supposed to be 20 more, no less. Mine was 28...I didn't care if the instructor didn't read past 20. I needed to complete the exploration for me. I found it cathartic, and hard, and interesting, and heartbreaking, and depressing, and enlightening. It was of value, but it sure was HARD. I'm now reading "You Were Always Mom's Favorite; Conversations of sisters throughout their lives"...I'm youngest middle of 4...which made me baby for a while, but since the youngest came 5 years later, I also became oldest to her. I'm finding it equally interesting, heartbreaking, enlightening and frustrating. We are not the Cleavers. And I often find I'm not so interested in working it out...oftentimes I just WANT out.

    Good luck on that paper, "sister". I feel ya.


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