Vickie Davis offers:
I find it is the best kind of therapy is talking
to someone who has been there, done that.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
(God help me, I am quoting her, of
all people, but I love that quote.)
Vickie says that she likes this quote because it affirms support groups, like her own Tennessee Vals.
I have a problem with this quote, and not just because Exercise Therapist Schlessenger said it.
There is no doubt that the limits of someone’s fears, usually indicated by the limits of their experience, are a key indicator of their value in the therapeutic process. I have often found that when I talk about business and power, therapists blanch. I remember going to my sister’s acupuncturist, who fancied himself a therapist, who spent the introductory and hour and a half negating everything I said, then having the arrogance to say that his blank notepad was an achievement; the fewest notes he ever took, a blank slate to start on.
I found him intentionally blanking me.
The best kind of therapy, though, is the therapy that helps you hear and trust your own voice. It is the therapy of encouragement and possibility, not just the therapy of talking to someone, whoever that is.
The best kind of therapy is making art, whatever art means to you, potent symbols of your experience, understanding, belief and vision, that you can share with the world in a way that helps you shape it into a more potent expression. It’s not just talking, it is making manifest what is inside of you in a way that makes you visible to the world and to yourself. You can no more see your desires and your essence than you can see the back of your head, so it is only expressing them that makes them visible.
This is the challenge for so many transpeople. We decide that our desires must fit into some box, and we hold tight to that box to stay in the system of desire, and that attempt to hold on, to parrot the phrases we hope work, ends up blocking our own voices.
Problem is that while we are desperately trying to hold on, the one thing we don’t want to hear, don’t want to face, are people who have tried that gambit and had it fail for them. Crossdressers & gays who hold on to manhood, transsexuals who demand others respect the surgically created “womanhood” that healed them, well, they all don’t want to hear from those who have “been there, done that” and found it lacking.
The only thing that can change them is the need and the possibility of hearing their own voice, small & still behind the posturing of shoulda, woulda, coulda.
They need art, and people who can affirm that art.
Or at least, that’s the way I see it.