Water water everywhere-musings of a therapist

Like much of the rest of the city, I have become one of those people who rushes to the basement on first entering my house.

I feel just slightly closer to my ancestors who were farmers…I grew up hearing people talk about going to take a walk around the land, or check out the crops…as I find myself getting my rubber boots and jacket on and grabbing my flashlight for one last loop around the yard to check out my land (hey, I know it’s a small yard, but technically, it’s my landor mine and the banks, anyways).

We started off by shovelling the water over the snow banks-trying to get rid of the large pools of water that took over our yard…and threatened to overwhelm our foundation’s ability to stay dry. The shovelling worked for a few days when it first started to melt, but on the weekend, the rising waters made shovelling seem rather like trying to empty a bathtub with a spoon. That is to say, somewhat effective, but not efficient.

When it was apparent that shovelling could not keep up, I and my kin spent a chunk of every day chopping passages in the ice (yep, got out the axe) piled high to create a little path for the water to escape to the lower parts away from the house-the city sewers. 

There was a significant level of satisfaction to create the path in the ice bank to the street…though, it didn’t come immediately. We worked for a long time without a drop being drained, chopping, clearing, scraping over and over. Even at first, we weren’t sure how much water would actually leave.

Two days later, what we had not-so-affectionately come to know as Lake Bergen in front of the house, had significantly reduced in size. This was due to the human made River Bergen which, over the course of time, made itself wider and wider, and more effective at draining the water.

Seems to me that life can be like that. 

Clients come telling us how very hard they work at a situation-lots of effort, but are concerned or even terrified at the lack of significant movement on the issue. Hearing oneself talk about it, getting another perspective, processing the issue through a different lens and looking at it, with the support of another in a fresh way potentially allows the way for a whole different strategy.

Often, after a first session, it’s a little like the axe is starting to create the path, but nothing can drain yet…that’s when a skeptic can say, “See, I knew this counselling thing was pointless…what good can talking about it do?”

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But the fun starts when new understanding comes, new strategies start being used in neat ways…and then the water starts flowing.

Clients come in saying, “I came for help in one area, but I’m loving what is happening in another area in my life that I haven’t even talked about”the path becomes wider, and things happen, even without deliberate effort.


*An example of what happens in a therapist’s mind, while spending copious time with puddles and ice, shovel and axe.


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