I would guess that many people who find their way to this blog know what therapy is from the inside of the process. My first toe-wetting experience with therapy happened in 1980 right after my 29th birthday. I did not enter that stream willingly. I entered therapy only after I realized something was terribly wrong inside of me and I needed help. Where else could I go to for THAT?
I spent the decade of the 80s in one kind of therapy session or another. The therapy I am thinking about today was conducted by a wonderful man named Stephen Bergstrom. I don’t believe it is possible for anyone to care more than he did, to believe in the powers of healing more than he did, or to be so devastated when circumstances turned themselves against him.
Bergstrom was an addiction expert who understood the need for healing the deepest wounds to the soul through horrors especially of severe and prolonged child abuse. His clientele depended upon insurance to pay for the services they desperately needed. I last spoke to this wise, kind, dedicated man on the telephone in 1998. I urged him to write some kind of a manual to help other therapists understand the work that he did so that they could do their own work better.
Bergstrom was perhaps stubborn, perhaps too busy, perhaps too stubborn. He never wrote that manual. In that telephone conversation Berstrom explained to me that state regulations for insurance payment for ‘treatment’ were locking out any mention of God or of spirituality. He told me he could not continue his work with his voice silenced. I heard very shortly thereafter that Bergstrom had died during a gall bladder operation. I think this friend of mine chose not to live without his work.
I also think about some therapy sessions I went through with him as he had me ‘place Mother in a chair’ so I could talk to her. This morning I realize that in spite of how well-intentioned this technique was, it didn’t/couldn’t really work for me because the essential element of Duck Tape was missing.
Well, I do have to refine my image here. I have always been a big fan of Duck Tape. Years ago when I was taking college art courses I heard someone say, “Give a woman a roll of Duck Tape and she can fix and repair anything.” I recently discovered that the newest version of the fantastic product has been ruined. The sticky isn’t sticky and the backing has less strength to it than does a generic small band-aid. Now I would have to say, “Use Gorilla Tape.” But my mind’s image still involves tape with feathers rather than fur.
The recipe seems to go like this: Take one abuser and as many rolls of tape as needed. Tape mouth shut. Arms behind back, tape hands together, tape as far up the arms as you need to. (Don’t hurt the abuser. That’s not required.) Tape abuser’s ankles together. Tape legs together. You get the image.
Now, to a little person such a trussed-up abuser would not be so mean. Had Bergstrom let me use this process, I bet there is a lot more I could have said to Mother.
I think this could be like a sourdough starter recipe. I think I can use this image to silence anyone who would like to make me feel there is something wrong with me because I have a trauma-source story to tell and I tell it. Maybe we survivors could invest together to buy stock of whichever tape company we select to get our product from. I’m all for that.
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