Chapter 14 – Choreography

To choreograph or not – that is the question. Maybe psychotherapy is the art of dance, maybe not. Dance requires music which necessitates an ear for rhythm and a sense of alignment with melody.

Or maybe I’m just the playwright, not the choreographer. The skills of a choreographer I do not possess. As a playwright I create dialogue and I rehearse well before going into session with my psychotherapist, Anne. Usually the plot I design is well-grounded in reality and the play is performed without a hitch (usually, sometimes, occasionally).

The actors involved know their roles well. The playwright (me) has written their lines with a keen understanding of the real dynamics between them and can deftly arrange the movement between them so as to more easily nudge the plot forward.

My preparation is nearly bullet proof. I have my lists of topics: I already know what Anne will say (although she isn’t given much of a speaking role); I push through my agenda with an expertise that most would admire.

The couple of times in which I have not had the latest installment of the plot developed have resulted in a languishing and stumbling episode – a session that does not seem effective at all. The playwright is related to the control freak. (see chapter 8)

So, I’ve learned to always have my play up-to-date before entering her office but sometimes I wonder…

Now, some of my friends have said “It doesn’t really sound like therapy to me.”

Yes, I suspect most clients do not approach their self-exploration in such an analytical way. I guess how I’ve always approached it is like a focused tactician. You’d think I’d be great at math or science given this propensity of analysis towards my internal investigation. You’d think that my methodology springs from a clear and focused mind.

Well, you think wrong. I suck at math and science. Hmmm –interesting that I tap into the qualities that define scientific inquiry when I approach something so personal such as self-inquiry. It’s

just this – it feels like I need to be in control so that I can address fully that which I think needs exploration. Otherwise, it seems to me that I’m just throwing darts in the dark hoping I’ll hit the target.

Sometimes I wish Anne would just take control but how would she be able to do that without me providing a complete backstory for the characters in the play – specifically me? Anne doesn’t get a backstory. That’s the perk the therapist possesses. We all get a little miffed at that sometimes, don’t we? Don’t worry – I’ll address that issue in another chapter.

Now – back on topic. Therapy seems like a school where the students must be fully prepared and engaged in order to learn anything. But in this school, the student must be self-directed and learn to ask the right questions.

New knowledge does not flow easily from some proverbial enlightenment fountain ready to be consumed and absorbed. Effort and self-propulsion are required to drink from its faucet.

Uh oh, I’m beginning to see some fallacy in my argument as I write these words. Doesn’t analysis and reasoning inhibit FEELING? Yikes, have I been doing this all wrong the past few years? Has my fine-tuned method actually delayed my self-understanding and my inner growth? Is my approach nothing more than applying the brakes to forward movement while all the time I’ve believed I’ve been heavy on the accelerator?

O.k. What if I don’t need to be the playwright? What would I be? How would I enter the therapy room? I’m stumped now. I need to think a bit about this. Dang, when I thought I had it all figured out and then I begin to write this book and confusion descends on me.

Maybe choreography would provide better results. Maybe if I had the players become dancers and they moved in harmony to the music, then doubts and difficulties would evaporate with each step they made.

Oops, I see another problem with this idea. How can I be a choreographer when I don’t even know how to dance?

You know, guys – I’m gonna have to get back to you on this topic of how I really would prefer my therapy sessions to play out (pun intended).

Yes, I’ve been a pretty good playwright and that’s served me well so far but maybe I need to study dancing now.

I’ll bring you up-to-date on this latest thought in a later chapter which I haven’t written yet because I’m not a dancer yet.

That chapter may be titled “Misty Copeland”. (Look her up – she’s an incredible modern day dancer) Or maybe I’ll name the chapter “Look, Ma – No Hands”. There’s an optimistic attitude – I would have finally taken off my grip of control. Or it’s possible I’ll call the chapter “Let’s Tango, Swing & Twist” where I’ll offer step- by- step instructions.

We’ll just have to wait to find out, won’t we? Me too, you know. I have no idea at this point if dancing is even my thing.

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