I love the stillness of the night, especially when it gets late, and even more so when it is raining. I like the glistering streets, the roar of the rain against the tiles on the roof, and the interplay between warm inviting lighting and shadows. As I peer out the window from the upper floor of the conservation shophouse where I muse over this piece of writing, I notice the meandering streets, the triangular glow of the street lamps, the silhouettes of people in the pubs as they take one for the road, and the muffled echoes of a lone skateboarder tapping away on a slope off in the distance.
Unseen, yet very much present, and very much felt.
This is the setting for the work that I do with my clients in our sessions of psychotherapy. This is the process of contemplation, and encapsulation of the inherent experience as we journey into the subconscious.
While my client and I are seated on comfortable couches across from each other in reality, this is an illustration describing the experience of our journey into the subconscious that happens during each and every session of work that we do during psychotherapy.
As my clients tell their stories, I gently lead them down the stairs to the street below with my questions and observations, as we gradually descend into their subconscious. Unlike the stories they tell others, psychotherapy is an opportunity to tell the story for themselves and for themselves only. Through the experience of telling these stories, and the way in which they tell those stories, will emerge the opportunity to give voice to their inner self, to give dialogue to the various facets of themselves.
As we walk along the meandering streets of their subconscious, we see people from their past and present, and flashes of their experiences projected on the walls. Some of these are comforting and supportive, while others might bring to awareness unresolved emotions from the past. I am there every step of the way, monitoring the situation, supporting my client, encouraging them to take another step into the distance, or pulling them back when they are not ready.
Along the way, we would also encounter different forms of themselves. Versions that they might not feel is socially appropriate or versions that they might normally keep hidden away. For example, we might encounter a version that is strong and angry, or a version that just wants to comply with the requests of other people to keep the peace. My client might feel embarrassed about these versions of themselves, but I am there to reassure them that these are just different facades of themselves, they should be allowed to exist, and we should take the time to hear what they have to say.
Outside the therapy room, the opportunity to be heard may not always be present. Therefore, the therapy room is the safe setting for them to give voice to these unheard voices within themselves, and to have an emotionally honest conversation with themselves, without judgement.
As we give voice to the various aspects of themselves, I eventually invite their different parts to come into dialogue with each other, and bring to a close the various internal struggles that they might have.
As the session draws to a close, similarly like in a dream, we ascend the stairs back to the therapy room, as we slowly return to the conscious world, back from our journey into the subconscious with a renewed sense of awareness, stability and inner peace.
This is the process of contemplation and our journey into the subconscious.