My experience of therapy

Lawrie Horner
I am autistic. I have also been admitted to hospital with schizophrenia. I had a difficult childhood. There was violence. I have also been rejected often. The therapist Mia was quietly spoken. But she had a strong presence. I had only been to three sessions with her. She wanted me to commit to regular therapy. She was very convincing. I decided to take a risk. I think I can do it.
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Lawrie Horner on 08/12/2011
A long, luxurious timber and velvet couch that looks like it could be used for therapy sessions

"I could do therapy with you," I said.

You know what they say. The best stories are the true ones.

Mia looked 35. She was dark and pretty. She had short bouncy hair and was wearing a neat shirt and jeans.

She leant forward. The coffee table and a world separated us.

The coffee table was gleaming blondwood with crisp moldings. I felt the difference.

Strong presence

Can you? persisted Mia. She was quietly spoken but persuasive. I had only been to three therapy sessions with her. But I had already discovered she was very open. She also had a strong presence. She had both sympathy and strength.

I don't know, I said. It's just ... I'm autistic. I've been in hospital. They said I had acute schizophrenia. I had ECT. I've lost jobs. I've never been in love, no-one would have me..

What are some of the things you have done? asked Mia.

Nothing. My response was quick, final.

You've won civic awards. You own your own house. You're on disability and arts committees. You wrote an autobiography. You didn't give in. Through all those years and problems you never gave in.

There was a silence.

Something new

It's time for something new, she said. You can be yourself. Mia's hands fluttered in her lap when she was excited. She looked at me.

Maybe I can... I ventured. No, I feel stupid.

Can you? asked Mia. She smiled, then suddenly looked serious and intense.

I could do therapy with you, I said, weakly and faint. Maybe we could try it. I could do it. Despite myself, I felt my voice stronger and saw Mia's dark eyes fixed on me.

I can

I thought of the past. Mum's fury, Dad's drinking. The violence, school beatings. I thought of the sackings, the rejections, laughter and derision.

I could... overcome... my parents... all those problems... the medication. I might. I think. Yes I could do it, I finished. I can. I can.

Mia looked intently at me for a second, and I actually felt myself smile. She also briefly smiled, swallowed and looked away. She then gazed down at her lap. Her hand scurried blindly across the coffee table and found the tissue box. She took a tissue and wiped her eye.

You know, Lawrie, she said. Sometimes this job is really worthwhile.

Readers comments (4)

I love this. Beautifully written. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

hang on to her Lawrie. Of all people that play with other peoples heads that l have known, l never dreamt for a minute that they could actually feel what l was saying. [except for the therapist that had an affair with my ex. He literally felt what l was saying!]

Great article Lawrie. And somtimes all we need is someone to believe in us. That alone can give us the courage to rise above many adverse situations.

Its wonderful you have finally found your way to some professional help.. I strongly urge you to continue with it. My life has been enriched by working thru significant issues in my past that ended up manifesting in physical problems with my body. Ignore your mind at your peril I think. after many years of weekly therapy with a wonderful woman, at the start of this year I realised for the first time ever I can hear "the voices in my head that deliver the negative talk" Now I finally understand all the books about addressing my self talk as a way to help me. It never worked b4 because I didn't think I had any self talk; simply bcos I couldn't "hear" it. Similarly I can now adress various emotions whereas prior to therapy I truly believed I was a well adjusted person who didn't HAVE any emotions. Turns out this was probably because the most prevalent emotions expressed durig my childhood were anger and violence so I thought emotions were dangerous and bad things to have . I tuned out from my emotions in order to survive,rather than realising its the behaviour that can go with them that can be a problem and we all have choices re how we behave

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