Sometimes the life of a psychotherapist is a funny old thing! I had a bit of a strange one the other day.
I saw this woman who is in her 40s. I have know her for about 20 years, counselled her husband, kids and I am sure I will counsel the grand children in the not too distant future. I know her very well and we have had a good therapeutic relationship over a long time.
Anywise I had not seen her for about 6 months and she makes an appointment. When she gets there she starts to give me an update of her life, what has happened with her relationships and other significant life events. This is always a good thing for the therapist as we are all professional busy bodies and nosey parkers who like to pry into people’s private lives.
I got my curiosity satisfied and during her talking I asked her a few times what was she wanting out of this consultation. I never really got an answer to my question on each occasion. So as the end came closer I had decided that this was a check in consultation and an ‘I am just wanting a bit of security’ consultation.
She had been widowed about 7 or 8 years earlier and since that time she had had a few relationships but nothing serious. However in the last 6 months she met a guy and he was shaping up to be quite serious and in her mind this could turn out to be quite a long term relationship.
Right near the end of the session I asked again what was she wanting out of this meeting and she said, “I want your approval” (about her new man). This took me back a bit as I wasn’t expecting such a thing from her as it was not really her style to assume that position in relationships - seeking approval.
Will this get approval?
So firstly I had to quickly jump into my Parent ego state to work out if I did approve or not, as I hadn’t even thought about such a thing. Then I thought, well what happens if I don’t approve! I can’t lie to her.
But the point at hand is here we have a 44 year old woman, who is quite competent and has been successful in her career, coming to see me and wanting my approval about her new boyfriend. I find it just a bit odd. Such is a psychotherapist’s life I suppose.