i’m sitting in eileens office. i’m quiet.
hi, she says softly. i smile and say a quiet hey.
how are you today? uh, oh, ok, i think, i say slowly.
that doesnt sound ok to me she observes.
oh no, i think. she knows. she knows whats going on. now i’m going to have to talk. i am scared. i dont want to say anything. i dont want to be here. i just want to run.
just notice, she says. notice your body. how does it feel? is it safe to be here with me? do you feel safe?
i mumble yes it is safe.
how do you know, she asks, what does safety feel like? how do you know its safe in here.
i’m not sure. i just know. i hear your voice. i hear the clock ticking. i smell the nice scent in the room. i feel the warmth of the room, its all safe.
right she says. ok. so you feel safe. so is it ok for you to be here with me? is it ok for you to stay here, tell me what is happening?
parts are panicking, I say. some of the kids are panicking.
what is that panick about? she asks gently.
I dont know eileen! Its been there all morning. And last night too. Its getting worse and worse!
then I start to feel emotional. sadness, mixed with frustration. fearful, angry, but very very sad too. then all of a sudden bang. nothing. everything goes blank.
are you with me? she gently asks. Carol anne? come back to me? What’s happening?
if only I knew. If only I could get the words out.
I stare straight ahead. I am really dissociated. I frantically try to come back. I reach for her hand. She takes my hand and squeezes it. Carol anne, you are going to be ok, whose scared? Whose this, is this carol anne?
Sort of, I say but really I am not sure. I am too dissociative to know. Everything is getting on top of me. I just feel spacy and triggered.
Can we let the parts know it is ok, I am here, you are safe, I am not going anywhere, Eileen says softly. I am really invested in this work we are doing. I’ve been working with you all for a long time now. I want these parts who are panicking and coming through to know that it is safe and I am here for all of you even them. You dont have to do this alone. I am with you, supporting you. We’ll take this journey together.
I start to shake. I think it is others reacting to what she is saying. a mixture of relief, happiness, and still some trepidation floods through me.
she is here and she is not going anywhere. she is invested in this work we are doing. i dont have to worry! i am not going to lose her.
i dont think these parts know me, she says softly. i am eileen. i am your therapist. i’ve been working with you all now for almost four years. we’ve done a lot of good work during those years. but maybe you havent been part of it. and now that you are, it feels risky. i get that its hard to take a risk. i really get that. i understand your position.
this seemed to calm the parts down a lot. she got it. she understood them. that made them happy.
and it allowed me to let my guard down. and after that, we managed to talk about the hard stuff I’d been avoiding. And the rest of the session altho intense, was great.