It all started when a line manager in one of my freelance contract settings said something to me immediately I arrived for work one morning, almost before I even got through the door.
It sounded just like something my mother would say, and the conversation unravelled quickly. Before I had even started to respond to her, she continued, and we both moved through the roles of persecutor, victim and rescuer in different measures.
Eventually I made contact again with the adult part of me. “You know, you sound even more like my mother than my mother ever sounded – and that’s not good for you and it’s not good for me. Shall we start again?”
So we started again.
The drama triangle was in full action that day!! And it can all happen in the blink of an eye.
Over the years I have nurtured my own “internal” supervisor, and was able eventually to recover that situation for both of us, but it still didn’t stop it from happening! I think in the course of our daily relationships and conversations, it’s almost inevitable. We are, after all, only human! But it’s how we deal with it that’s important.
If it happened between you as a therapist or coach and your client in session, how would you deal with it?
Please don’t tell me that it would never happen with you because you always put yourself to one side. That’s idealistic and unrealistic. Be honest. It happens to the best and most experienced of us. It may not be glaringly obvious, rather a much more subtle exchange which will leave us wondering “what happened there?”
Putting our own stuff to one side in a session with a client does not mean we also abandon our levels of personal awareness and processes. But the more we cultivate our inner supervisor, the more we are attuned to our own processes. The more honest we are with ourselves and in supervision, the more those instances will become rich elements of the therapeutic process on all sides.
Don’t be a drama queen (or king) – live with it. Engage with it. And learn from it