I recall reading a book called The loneliness of the long distance runner. When I first saw this photograph of myself I thought of the phrase, The loneliness of the long distance therapist. It was taken at a residential weekend Redecision marathon therapy group which I ran by myself (not as part of a co therapy team). It is Saturday afternoon.
That means I have done the Friday evening session, Saturday morning and have Saturday night and all day Sunday to go. I know the look on my face. Being a psychotherapist on such an all weekend therapy group in one sense is lonely. This may seem odd as I spend the entire weekend engaged in psychotherapy.
That means I am having contact with others at quite a deep level. People are talking about some of their most intimate thoughts and feelings and there may be strong transferential feelings in the group as well. Not what one would usually see as being devoid of human contact, indeed there is intense human contact. If that is the case, how can one feel lonely which usually means a lack of human contact or only superficial human contact?
But I find this photograph captures it for me. Firstly I am by myself at that point and as I said I know that look on my face. The therapist is not part of the group like all others there so in that sense one feels a bit ‘removed’. I do not belong in the group like all the others belong in the group. I am part of it but in one way separate from it. Group members can simply be in their Child ego state and indeed that is actively encouraged whilst I can also be at times, it is very different for the therapist who is constantly assessing the group members psychological status as well as his own.
It’s an odd situation where the therapist is involved in a group that is intensely personal and people are making contact with others at an intimate level and yet can feel lonely in it. I am part of the human group and yet I am not part of it. Loneliness one could say. Anyways that is how I experience it but maybe I have a loneliness racket.
In a room full of emotion and human contact I feel like a stranger.
One way of saying it I think is that the ‘business’ of the group member is intimacy and the ‘business’ of the leader is task (or more task than the other group members).
Good comment Evan. It’s just a bit strange being in a room full of emotional intimacy and yet feeling separate or not part of that.