A few words
"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence
"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"
"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation
"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes
"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
~ William Blake
Think about it
Kill that boredom!
Binder Paper Comics
Web Comics and Such
A Distant Soil (Some nudity)
The Adventures of Gyno-Star (Some explicit stuff)
Blue Milk Special
Cigarro & Cerveja
Cyanide and Happiness
dead winter (has some explicit stuff)
Devilbear: The Grimoires of Bearalzebub (PG-13?)
Eat That Toast!
Ectopiary (Some nudity)
The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon
For Lack of a Better Comic
Girls with Slingshots (some explicit stuff...?)
The Intrepid Girlbot
The Last Halloween
Last Train to Old Town
The League of Evil Genius
Legend of Bill
Living With Insanity (some nudity)
Love Me Nice
Married to the Sea
The Moon Prince
Moth (Some nudity)
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Political Cartoonists Index
Poorly Drawn Lines
The Property of Hate
Robbie and Bobby
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Scenes from a Multiverse
The Secret Knots
Stand Still. Stay Silent
Strong Female Protagonist
The Super Fogeys
Tales of Pylea
Three Word Phrase (some nudity)
Tiny Kitten Teeth
Toothpaste for Dinner
Trying Human (Some nudity)
Two Guys and Guy
Yellow Peril (PG-13)
Infrequently/No Longer Updating Web Comics
The Abominable Charles Christopher
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
The Adventures of Ellie Connelly
Bag of Toast
Bear in Mind
The Book of Biff
Chain Bear (Some explicit stuff)
Daisy is Dead
Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life
A Fine Example
Finn and Charlie are HITCHED
Hark! A Vagrant
Head Doctor Productions
Hello with Cheese
Kyle & Atticus
Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space
Letters to a Wild Boar
Lovecraft is Missing
Meat and Plastic
The Nerds of Paradise
No Reason Comics
One Swoop Fell
Pictures for Sad Children
A Redtail's Dream
Roy's Boys (PG 13?)
Run Freak Run
The Super Gay Adventures of Ross Boston
YU + ME
Pure Flash Awesomeness
Die Anstalt : Toy Psychiatry
Clients from Hell
Creatures in My Head
Damn You Auto Correct!
Jhonen Vasquez's site
Overheard in New York
Passive Aggressive Notes
The crying therapist
Thursday, March 29, 2018
In my Thursday class we do dyads. These are practice exercises where we partner with a classmate and act as client or therapist for fifteen to twenty minutes, then switch roles. After each session, we reflect on the therapist's performance for five minutes. These dyads give us a chance to try out skills we are learning in class and to improve our listening/therapeutic skills by getting feedback and discussing our process.
In my dyad today, my 'client' told me about an experience she's currently going through (really currently-- she had an incident involving it right before class started) that she has a lot of feelings about. She got to a point in her story where her face just fell and she looked so small and crumpled up, and I felt tears coming to my eyes from the immense sadness and aloneness I sensed in her narrative. Feeling my eyes water made me nervous, and I tried to prevent myself from crying, but I couldn't stop the tears. I focused on what she was saying but kept having to wipe tears off my cheeks while she talked.
In our five minutes of reflection on my role as the therapist afterwards, I told her that I had felt self-conscious and somewhat embarrassed about crying, but that her story had made me so sad I couldn't help myself. She said that I had given her an odd look at first when I moved my hand to wipe my eyes, and she had worried that I was judging her in some way, so she was relieved to know that it was just me feeling self-conscious about my emotional reaction to her. She also told me that she liked the expression, because it felt like a genuine display of empathy to her.
I have always hated how easily I seem to cry sometimes. It's not entirely consistent, but it can get really annoying. For some reason I just have strong emotional reactions to certain stimuli, or to seeing other people cry. At times, that made it a little difficult to work in a nursery full of babies. For the most part I wasn't too affected by their crying, but sometimes holding a baby who was crying just after being dropped off would start my eyes watering, and I had to do my best to contain it. I too easy imagine the fear and loss and powerlessness of the baby, who is unable to articulate any of these feelings in a way other than crying. They don't have a well-developed organizational structure for the world yet. They don't have a defined sense of separation between the self and the world. They don't have the capacity to understand that the mother will return soon, or that she even exists when she is away. How terrifying must that be, to a baby who can't understand why its mother is, as far as the baby knows, abandoning it?
Anyway. it's not always something as traumatic as the baby-mother separation that sets me off. Sometimes it's just... random loud music in a movie, or a particular arrangement of words, or a look, or something I'm passing by but which hits me in an unexpected way. I don't think anything is wrong with crying in itself, but it impedes communication and I don't like to cry in front of people, especially not if I'm trying to talk.
I think I would feel awkward if I had a therapist who cried in front of me. I've tended to prefer male therapists, in some part due to a (possibly sexist?) belief that they'd be less likely to be too emotionally expressive. I guess I just don't like seeing strong emotional reactions in general in an environment where I'm supposed to feel safe. I prefer a neutral presence to contain the energy in the room. Similarly, I don't like the idea of myself being a therapist who cries in front of clients. I'm not saying that I want to be emotionally expressionless, but crying feels like is more of a reaction than I want to have in a professional therapeutic environment if I'm trying to hold space for the person I'm supporting.
On the other hand, crying is not discouraged--maybe it's even encouraged--in the general therapeutic orientation I find myself in at school.
From my first experiences with counseling, when I cried for something like eight out of the ten sessions I had with my counselor at St. John's, I always thought that they taught you how not to cry in therapy school. My tears back then weren't contagious to my counselor, and I figured he must have a secret way to prevent himself from crying. When I actually got to therapy school myself, I realized that there were no secret techniques for keeping yourself from crying. I am constantly horrified to remember this.
I find myself conflicted over this issue of crying as a therapist. Crying in front of clients can have different outcomes. Not everybody would see it as a bad thing. In fact, it can be a constructive force in some situations. A client who tells their story flatly, without any visible affect, might be emotionally disconnected from the story, and the therapist's tears could signal to them that hey, this is actually a story with a lot of feeling to it. Crying, even if the client isn't, can show them that the therapist is being genuinely touched by what's being talked about, and that the therapist cares. It might help to dislodge the fear some clients have that their therapist is just someone who's "being paid to care." The therapist's crying, if handled well (without shame, without redirecting attention to the therapist) can also serve as a model for acceptable behavior. It's okay to cry, it's a natural human reaction to emotional situations. You don't have to make excuses for yourself or feel embarrassed or try to hide it. Part of the job of the therapist is to show the client alternative behaviors and reactions that are healthy.
In any case, it's a subject I'm thinking a lot about right now. The pros and cons of it all... I have to find my own style as a therapist, and I'm still feeling out what's right for me.
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