She was wonderfully grandmotherly. Her hair was curly and gray, she had deep smile lines that framed her mouth, and the couch in her office was covered in doilies that I just knew she had knit herself.
My therapist understood me. She called me on my bullshit. And, because she knew that I process things better when I write about them, she encouraged me to journal our process together. I wrote her hundreds of pages of my overly-dramatic ramblings and she read them. ALL of them. And on her own time. At the end of each of our sessions I would hand her a new stack of pages and she read them over before we met again, and then we'd discuss them.
My therapist was with me before I broke up with my ex and after. When my friend Cari thought I needed a safe place to retreat for a few days, my therapist secured me a spot in the county--ahem!-- "resort" for a 5-day observation period. And she was there for me when I was released.
We worked together for YEARS, my therapist and I, until one day she decided to call it quits. She said I hadn't done anything wrong. She said she still liked me. She said she still believed that I could one day find peace. But she also said that there was nothing else SHE could do for me. She had tried everything she knew. She had provided me all the study material she had. But there was just no more. She knew I needed more help, but she didn't have any left to give.
I was devastated. I couldn't imagine my future without her. I wasn't ready to do it on my own.
She said she had a friend. A smart friend. Someone who might better be able to reach me. She could arrange a meeting if I liked. I said yes, thank you, and we set things up. Her friend WAS smart, and nice, and she and I got along well...But it wasn't the same. I stopped seeing her after awhile.
That was a few years ago. I haven't tried a new therapist since. But I'm really feeling like I should. My head can be a dark place. It's easy to get lost in there. A good therapist is like a guide, shining light in the dark corners and offering a change in perspective.
But what if I can't find someone like her? Are good therapists like soul mates: only one per person??
God that would suck.