Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Psychic Archeology

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 22, 2011

  Ben, forty-three, says,  “why do you not engage with me more?” I feel his rage and his helplessness. “That sounds like a very old feeling of being neglected. It feels to me that we have now entered into an archeological zone where we are exploring some very old feelings. I almost get the sense that you are a child, looking for a parent to take care of you.” I say, feeling a bit bold in the way that I am talking about how early attachment sometimes plays itself out in deep relationships. Ben begins to look confused, then suddenly he gets sad. “I don’t know what you are talking about, but for some reason I am feeling very emotional right now,” he says with a sad tone that I have never heard before. “Maybe you are feeling so emotional because I suggested that you are re-experiencing an old feeling of being isolated and alone when you needed someone to respond to you,” I say, thinking that I am repeating myself, but also knowing that sometimes repetition is important. “This is too deep for me. Is there something I can read so I can understand this better?” He asks, in a way which makes me think he is trying to avoid his feelings. “There is the twenty-three volumes of Freud” I say, lightening up our conversation. “I guess I will go to Wikipedia,” he says, right back at me. “Today has been hard,” I say, returning to his previous emotional state. “Yep! You got that right!” He says as he leaves, reassuring me that he will be OK, once he leaves. “This kind of archeology is more challenging than the traditional type,” I state, again, trying to say that I understand how hard psychotherapy, and for that matter, all intimate relationships, can be.

4 Responses to “Psychic Archeology”

  1. Jon said

    I agree that Ben seems to be very early feelings. What it seems that both you and he haves uncovered in this archeological dig is at least perceived neglect. It will be interesting to see what more can be discovered by your future psychic archeology. The best of luck to you both.

  2. Shelly said

    What brought about Ben’s comment in the first place? What does Ben generally bring to the sessions with you?

    • Ben either brings a lot of things on his mind or nothing at all. This variability, often suggests to me, that sometimes he needs to be deeply listened to, and other times, he needs to feel that I am thinking about him in between our sessions. This range of needs feels “old” to me, and hence when he came in wanting more from me, I shared with him my ideas about that. Thanks.

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