It can sometimes be hard for me to accept that I do not know entirely each client’s experience of therapy.  I know that they’ve achieved their therapeutic objectives, I know they’ve benefitted from symptomatic relief, I know their friends and family have noted a change in them, they’ve thanked me and we prepare to say goodbye and finish.  This is a gift from one of my clients which explains her experience of our therapy so far. 

I love her metaphor of creating something together.

“You turn up to therapy with your big knot of wool. You’ve handed it to people before who’ve tried earnestly to unpick it but really they’ve only made it worse. When you go to therapy you show the therapist who takes a look, nods in a knowing sort of way and then hands it back to you and you unpick it together, their hands supporting yours. You have to really feel the wool between your fingertips, soft and rough with lots of tangles and bumps. Some of the bumps are too tight to undo, and you have to accept them for now, but then after a while the big tangle comes undone. It’s a worse mess at first but it gradually more manageable.

Then you show the therapist your wool, bumpy and kinked but undone, and say ‘now what’. And then they show you how to knit. You fumble with the needles the therapist gives you, in their knowing sort of way, but then, once you’ve learned how to cast on and stitch, realise that you can make it into anything you want. That doesn’t mean it’s easy and you start knitting and make a mistake and undo it and start again and you’re clumsy and get frustrated and put it down and pick it up and cry and throw it against the wall.
And then, slowly, it starts to become what you need it to be – a sock, a hat, a sockhat – and even though it’s a bit wobbly and imperfect you love it because it’s yours and you made it. Your big knot has become a big success in its own warm, wobbly and woolly sort of way, and you cherish it, even when it gets chewed or sucked or tangled or lost under the bed.
You wash it and clean it and care for it and go ‘gosh, isn’t it clever’ and in return it keeps you warm and safe and colourful and unique, because there’s no other thing like it in the whole world. And then you say ‘look’ and the therapist nods, as if they saw it coming all along, and you nod back – in a knowing sort of way.”
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