When Meercat wonders if I can make sense of what she is saying in therapy, I think of the long history of psychotherapy, where the therapist listens, as Billig (1999) would say, to ’subtle clues, which would indicate where the crucial hidden elements was to be found (p. 18). May be Meercat on some level is influenced by this popular view of how therapy works making an effort to be ‘interesting enough’ for her ‘sophisticated’ therapist.
Meercat wonders if it might be too much for me? Does she believe she has given me too much, unsystematized information, so it is difficult for me to make sense of it? May be it also is also about her showing me care and love, and worrying if I’m overwhelmed?
I believe that I may have taken the therapeutic context, as I understand it, too much for granted, and overlooked Bakhtin’s (1981) point about how meaning and understanding are produced and can only be understood in context. Meercat’s utterances will be affected by how she imagines my response and how she thinks it fits with my expectations. While I have been preoccupied by trying to show her, by what I think are tentative and friendly responses, that everything she says is welcome, she might have been concerned about her performance. 7.2.3. ‘How to go on’ Reflections, on the 1st RD So far, I think this process has created more understanding about how my listening affects Meercat, and how I can act to be helpful. My response is important, as understanding and response are dialectically merged and mutually condition each other; one is impossible without the other. I understand Meercat’s need, as a need for being heard by someone who is interested in what she wants to say, someone who wants to hear more and who will acknowledge whatever she says.
When you are working on such emerging thoughts you need time, and the listener must not stress the process. For Meercat, this is also a matter of safety and a space where she can search for, develop and create meaning out of all the dialogues she has been part of through out her life.
To me this means that I have to experience her and listen to her as a unique person, someone who has something to say that I am interested in hearing, and would like to hear more about. I will listen without interruptions, with friendliness and acceptance. If I am able to follow her, I have to be sensitive to when she wants to tell more and try to read her different expressions 48