Blog: Confinement Therapy

Love it--You can’t leave it!

April 13th, 2020

Safety in the time of Covid-19 is more than keeping the right physical distance from the virus. It’s about creating the right emotional distance from the people who share your intimate space. It’s finding a new level of respect for yourself and the other. It’s being able to recognize and name what’s happening.

The following excerpt from a therapy session online highlights two critical tools for couples during the confinement. One is mirroring, or communicating in a way so that each person feels deeply heard. The other is emotional release in a safe way through sound and movement.  

In this session, L, a courageous young artist, mother and wife, did the entire process with me on WhatsApp in her small bedroom with her husband and kids in the next room. No video. No audio. Only a written dialogue with me. Here is a key moment with L’s permission:  

 

Marjorie (M):  So are the two things a fantasy:  romantic weekend and available grandparents?

 

L:  I think the romantic fantasy could become alive if we had a bit more time to be alone. As we won't have time to be alone in the foreseeable future there's little if any chance to rekindle romance.  Especially in confinement conditions with zero personal space where we’re both exhausted from all-day child care for two small kids.

 

M: I'm wondering if the need for romance right now is the need for escape from this? 

 

L: It could be! Feels like one of the last things we could do that would comfort us.

 

M:  It’s no accident that the two of you are in a huit clos-- no exit--situation rather than the romantic weekend.  For you, being closed in is a call to recognize the core relationship issues, like when you're judging your husband and the effect of that.  You’ve learned this mirroring tool to help you both. You might mirror him this way, "I see that you're cooped up here and your need for freedom and adventure is proscribed by the government and the pandemic.  This is just the worst thing for your true nature. Right?” And if he's not going to mirror your fear--at least right now--have me or someone else mirror all the fears you have. 

 

L:  Ok, that’s really helpful. I have a friend who could do that if he doesn’t want to.

 

M: If you want safety at this particular time of confinement you'd better know the beast! 

 

L: True!  So when he doesn’t want to interact what do I do, just ignore him?

 

M:  Or mirror him as in, “I get you want space.  Me too. Okay, I'll take a walk even for half an hour.  And then tonight you take your walk.” 

 

L:  Right. I have a tendency to push for communication. 

 

M:  Just mirror all the time.  Drop the judgments. Don't push if you don't absolutely have to.

 

L: It drives me crazy when he goes into his bubble. 

 

M: Mirror the bubble.  Then go into the bedroom and scream in a pillow.

 

L: I’ll do that.

 

M: Don't deny your emotions.  That's also not safe. 

 

L:  Ok I can do that.

 

M:  If there’s anything good about this confinement, it's a healing opportunity for what drives you totally crazy.  Make noise in a pillow and move your body all around the bed till you feel a physical release. Until the craziness has moved and you feel clear again. Don't try to mirror when you're flipping out.

 

L: Ok, I can leave the room and wait till another time.

 

M: Go flip out.  See ya, husband, I gotta go flip out for a couple minutes.  Or you can just say you need a time out.

 

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Within the framework of HonestEmotions Therapy, L was able to experience relief and greater clarity. During this period of confinement I can support you in being with and expressing your emotions in a way that feels safe.

To learn more, please contact me. I will offer you a 20-minute exploratory session.

Marjorie Oberman

honestemotions@orange.fr

06 42 48 21 65

Blog : Confinement Therapy

Walk my Talk : The continuing saga of « L »

April 27th, 2020

Confinement means one hour of walking outside per day. One hour without your partner and your kids. One hour to go inside yourself as opposed to being stuck inside an apartment. One hour for confinement therapy.

When you walk your talk in your life, you live by what you value, that which gives your life meaning. You get your part in what you’re creating in your life. You own up. You stop being a victim.

« L » got out of her apartment, taking space from her family for one hour to walk along Canal St. Martin in Paris. She used this time for “confinement therapy,” to literally walk her talk and make a shift into her true values during this unprecedented period in our lives.

Rather than sharing dialogue from the session here are lists of “L’s” judgments, of what was making her suffer and then how she began to walk her talk, take responsibility and find relief.

The confinement is the worst time for therapy because I can’t plan for the future.

The confinement is the best time to do therapy because there’s no future unless I can just stop and be with myself now and discover what’s true for me.

 

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My partner should not have made the kids the priority over our relationship.

I see how I’m doing just what my parents did where their relationship didn’t matter.

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My husband should want to talk more and get to what’s under the surface like I do.

Now I can see my part.  I see that I push him away by judging how he communicates so of course he doesn’t want to talk to me.

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Because we’re together all the time, stuff in the house irritates me to the point of wanting to explode, like him wiping the table after I’ve already wiped it!!!

I don’t want to be exploding at him about stuff like this.  I can just go in the bedroom and scream in a pillow and feel how now more than ever with the confinement I don’t want to sweat the small stuff.  I don’t want to hold onto what doesn’t really matter.

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Now that we’re together all the time I can’t stand how often he raises his voice.

I see how I have to make my own boundaries and find ways to spend time alone even by taking a 15 minute nap.  I’m in charge of my own well-being.  It’s up to me to get more creative in this tight space with 3 other people.

 

Here’s how L shifted in her perceptions and her emotions:

Experiencing the value of therapy at this time.

Taking responsibility for how she’s doing just what her parents did in their relationship.

That her judgments push her husband away.  Getting her part in why he’s refusing to talk with her.

Seeing what her deepest priorities are. 

Setting boundaries that work. 

My approach during the confinement is to empower people to discover how they can transform on the inside a situation that’s not going to change so fast on the outside.  As we head into a time of de-confinement this is still true.  Confinement therapy supports you to welcome the possibility of how a seemingly stuck situation can be just what was needed to find a more satisfying relationship with yourself and your significant others.  You can take advantage of this unprecedented moment to see how it feels to walk your talk.