Sunday, April 22, 2012

"It's a joke." " How do you feel about that?"

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a colleague regarding a comedian she was just beginning to  see as a client. The situation was presenting issues for my colleague related to the fact that the client had found her Facebook page and that of her current boyfriend and had taken to leaving amusing posts on both of their pages. At the end of one of their sessions, the comedian took out a phone and texted my colleague's boyfriend, asking if he had liked the gift my colleague had given him for his birthday. Understandably, my colleague was quite distraught about what she was experiencing as an invasion of her privacy, knew she should somehow react in a way that was professionally productive and had no idea how that could be accomplished.

Being a therapist, a confused and angry one in relation to her current client, she was tempted to make use of her professional bag of tricks and label the client as narcissistic and lacking empathy; turning over in her mind how she could communicate her negative reaction to what she saw as the inappropriate, intrusive actions of her client in a less judgmental way than her feelings inclined her towards. Her manner indicated she felt rather threatened and had a need to contain the client within a professional relationship that protected her own privacy. Clearly, she found herself engaged in a conflict that was mostly about control; realizing that fact brought us to some interesting reflections related to comedy and therapy.