Here are some thoughts about what I have found to be most healing about my work with you. Let me first say that all of it’s been healing. Absolutely all. There is nothing I would change.
Compassion: I could see it in your eyes from the moment I met you in your office. Maybe that’s why I had my troubles with eye contact [for a long time she could not look directly at me and no attempts to understand this seemed to have any effect.] It was too good to be true. I sensed that you were bigger than my despair and could handle it. I felt that I was in excellent hands.
Attunement: I have always felt that you got me, that you could really understand why my particular life experience was difficult for me. That was a completely new experience for me, having grown up in a family full of denial and secrets and illusions to uphold.
Listening: You listen carefully and intently. You respond to what I need to share and where I need to go and don’t make assumptions or lead me in another direction.
Insight: Over the years you will say things that unlock some old mystery and set me free.
Intensity: I sensed your intensity from the start, too. And it reassured me. I had sometimes gotten the message that I was too intense, but I wasn’t too intense for you.
Equanimity: I could tell you what I thought were the most awful things about me and about my life and you never seemed to miss a beat. You reassure me that I’m not a bad person and that I deserve to have a life. And it is extremely helpful when you just come out and say that, which I know that some analysts/therapists would never do in a million years.
Non-Defensiveness: I’ve been able to tell you the few times I have been angry with you and you have never gotten reactive. It felt very, very respectful. You let me really process my transference issues over your divorce and it was enormously helpful to me [She had had a strong reaction to her own parents’ divorce when she was eight, which was re-aroused by my divorce in 1987.]