THIS IS THE WORK.
As a therapist, it is my job to be deeply attuned to my clients, notice when they are becoming distressed, and assist them in returning to their window of tolerance.
I like to think of it as good mothering because it is! If I am with my son and we are talking about something, and he suddenly becomes uncomfortable. I notice that. I am attuned to him, to his feelings, his movements, and even the shift in energy between us. I name that shift. Sometimes I’ll ask what happened, sometimes not.
When I work with clients in this way, I feel a lot of love and compassion. It takes so much bravery to sit with someone and visit the most vulnerable parts of self. What will she think? Is it safe to go there with her? Can she take it? What will she think when she knows THAT about me? It is a vulnerable space to be in.
But the relief of sharing! To have someone REALLY listen. To REALLY be with you and hold you as you navigate, staying in your window of tolerance is more than healing. It can be life-changing.
The beauty is, once you have had it done for you in the therapeutic space, you then know what it FEELS like to be attended to, to have someone profoundly attuned to you. It is incredibly helpful going into new relationships because you have a different imprint. It helps create secure attachment patterns, which we know are the foundation for better relationships.
Secure attachment CAN be learnt, and working with a therapist is one of the best ways to get started on that healing journey.
Reference: Ogden, P., Pain C., & Fisher, J. (2006). A sensorimotor approach to the treatment of trauma and dissociation. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 29, 263-279