A Metaphor for Psychotherapy
Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick . . . the kitchen timer was marking the time with even, equal ticks, no one more accented than the other. I slowly emerged from my daydream to become aware that I was hearing these ticks as 'one two three four, one two three four, one two three four,' etc. This time, instead of taking my experience for granted, I was curious: why would I automatically hear the ticks with the accent on the 'one' followed by 'two, three and four?' I realized that I was the one organizing my experience - that it wasn't based on objective reality, that my 'come-from,' that is, my automatic reaction, grouped these sounds without my even being aware (until I was). When I became aware of what I was imposing on these sounds, I wondered if I could hear them differently, say as 'one two three, one two three,' or 'one two, one two,' or any variations I selected. Sure enough, hearing them in 3/4 or 2/4 or 6/8 or whatever I decided became as compelling as my automatic, unconscious organizing of the ticks into 4/4. Now I had numerous options that I could not have had had I not become aware of my 'come-from' - that place that, for whatever reasons - whether constitutionally or caused by early experience or social conditioning or musical training - had me unquestioningly assume that the ticks were in groups of four.
This experience has become a metaphor (for me) for one of the elements that can contribute to psychotherapy being transformative: uncovering our 'automatic' or 'come-from' beliefs so that we can observe them, see if they serve us, and if they don't, change them. Paying attention to how we 'automatically' experience our place in the world, whether through relationships, in the workplace, as parents or children, as professionals . . . we may be able to discover that we have options we didn't know we had, and that we have a hand in shaping our lives.