Something clicks when I see my patients get comfy on the couch. I bear witness: This therapy couch is not only for them, but made by them. The postpartum mom who finally has a moment to release her self-expression, after she tried to keep a perfect facade up for others’ comfort everywhere else–collapses into the couch and loosens her limbs like an octopus– The child who forgets his anxieties and self-consciousness during art as therapy, and with paint-splattered hands, readjusts himself on the couch (and I am thankful I put tarp on the fabric!)– The student who bounces up and down on the couch in excitement to share her art as therapy work with her therapy group members– The male elder who sits relaxed as he starts his story, then stands to demonstrate the apex of his dilemma, and then sits back down, squishing his shoulders into the cushions–
Sometimes, I chuckle when a patient decides he or she wants to sit in the therapist’s chair. Of course, I let them. Sometimes, the patient wants to be bracketed more snugly between the two arm rests. They let me know it feels better. Sometimes, the patient needs to feel more in control when they otherwise feel out of control in their lives. Sometimes, it is not an emotional decision. They see the tissue box next to the smaller chair as an invitation for them.
There are no assigned seats in my office. The patients make it their own space. They determine how far they wish to go emotionally and mentally, by the breadth of their body language. They decide who they are for this moment. They take the tools they want from this space and therapy-time, back to the bigger space out there. It is theirs.
For all the small victories,
Licensed Professional Counselor, EMDR Therapist, PeaceLove CREATOR Facilitator, Certified Dancing Mindfulness Facilitator, Certified Laughter Leader