you suggest an appropriate gift for Christmas for my therapist; I have been
in analysis for the past year.
The relationship you have with
your psychotherapist is not like any other relationship you will ever have
with anyone elseexcept, perhaps, another psychotherapist. Its
a special relationship in which you learn how
to be emotionally honest with another person while paying that person to
teach you how to overcome the obstacles that prevent you from being
So, as long as
your psychotherapist is being honestly paid, there is nothing more you can
give him or her except your gratitude.
In this context,
then, a giftany giftserves only to bypass the emotional vulnerability
of expressing your gratitude verbally. Consequently, a gift can be seen
technically as a form of the psychological
called acting out. That is, by offering a gift, you expect it to
say what you fear saying openly and honestly.
Now, you might
claim that you have no problem expressing your gratitude and that you simply
want the gift to be something more tangible than mere thanks. But, as odd
as it might sound, this sort of yearning for something tangible leads ultimately
to many psychological problems. All emotions are essentially intangible.
Even the greatest emotion of
lovehas no reward but itself. Love is the reward of
love. There is an agony as well as a bliss to this fact. The agony derives
from our existential human lack, a lack grounded in our physical and spiritual
separation from each other, a lack that can be bridged symbolically in language
but never closed by any human effort in any tangible form. And its
in our desperation to avoid that agony of our lack that we seek out tangible
reassurances of connection to others and thus fall headlong into
appear to bring us closer to others and yet endlessly miss the point about
who has been well-trained, therefore, has been trained to refuse all gifts
within the psychotherapy and, in refusing them, to get to the point that
the client, in offering the gift, is trying to avoid.
advertisingno sponsorjust the simple truth . . .