Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost: Shame, Transformance and Tolkien

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost:  Shame, Transformance and Tolkien

“Why do I feel so bad?” my client asked. “I feel like I have so much potential and I’m not living up to it. I get stuck in the same patterns, the same bad thoughts.”

Sandy* was a puzzle. Clearly bright and capable, and a hard worker, she seemed very uncomfortable in her own skin. A writer and a healer, she clearly had many gifts to share with the world. When she spoke, I could sense a lot of power. Yet she was underemployed and seemed on the verge of going into panic or breaking into tears much of our time together.

Transformance — What Can Happen When Shame Lifts

Transformance — What Can Happen When Shame Lifts

My client was a high functioning professional. During our many months of therapy she spoke of numerous times in her life when she felt too awkward or too shy or too depressed when she felt put down by people in her family or at work. She had a part of her that believed that something was wrong with her. And yet there was another part of her from long ago that knew that what was going on in her family was not right. And that part had been frozen in shame. All her emotions and her life forward direction stayed stuck and frozen in that shame/trauma bubble.

Co-Creating the Session: Guiding the Client’s Attention – Establishing Optimal Distance – Leading From Behind

Co-Creating the Session: Guiding the Client’s Attention – Establishing Optimal Distance – Leading From Behind

Natalie would always come into therapy with a lot of energy and a million things to talk about. Judy, her therapist, was stumped. “How do I get her to stop talking long enough to help her?” she asked. Joan, another client, is different. As soon as she mentions her boyfriend, she starts to sob uncontrollably. Steve, her therapist, feels helpless to help her.

While they are responding in opposite ways, Natalie and Joan both have the same problem: Neither is able to keep an optimal distance from their feelings. Natalie skips from topic to topic to avoid going into her feelings. Joan plunges in too deeply and too quickly.