Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Strength in Numbers

Our family is in counseling, and I feel for our therapist. Yesterday, she had excellent intentions of helping us all to recognize that we each bring strengths to our family relationship. Our first task was to use a series of clues to identify certain information. We were each given a strip of paper with a clue, but we could only resolve the questions with the information on our individual strips of paper. We had three minutes to work out the resolution. It took me all of two seconds to declare that we were not going to be able to answer the questions with the limited information available on our individual paper slips.
Bonus points awarded for recognizing that we need to communicate with one another and pool our individual information (a.k.a. strengths) to reach the solution led to instructions to use a single sheet of paper and refrain from verbal communication while sharing our clues to come up with a corporate solution. Erin informed the therapist that she, "used to sign because she couldn't talk." I explained that we used sign due to Erin's initial speech delays to force her to use some form of language in communicating rather than meeting her needs in response to gestures or non-speech sounds. We were then given permission to sign, but Erin explained that we don't use it anymore and don't remember it.
Meanwhile, Don and Katie had developed a chart to indicate the three categories of information we were supposed to be gleaning from our clues. Erin moved to the other side of the table and began writing on a second sheet of paper. I wrote on Don and Katie's paper a question, "How much do we care about [pursuing the information]?" because I really could not have cared less about the exercise at that point, and Erin was drawing on her separate sheet of paper while ignoring reminders to share a single sheet of paper. At the end of the 3 minutes, Don and Katie pointed out that not all the information was in the clues. Our therapist discovered that there were two essential elements missing, and we could not have solved the puzzle. She also mentioned that she had a migraine.
She sat across from us in a chair, and stated that she liked the way we all crowded together on the sofa. This brought to my mind the image of us lined up in a shooting gallery, but she seemed to see it as a positive sign that we are all together in our seating preferences. Okie-dokie. She asked us to identify our strengths, and then to identify each other's strengths. It was a little concerning when Katie identified Erin's primary strength as being, "an Evil Genius" and Erin named her own primary strength as being, "good at manipulating others". She then answered the therapist's queries to show that she did in fact understand the meaning of the word "manipulation" and that she had been "living in a box" in response to Dad's statement that she is an "out of the box" thinker. *sigh*
We were running over on time by this point, and our therapist's head was likely about to explode. Still, we explained that the microwave had died the preceding week, and the replacement came in a big box. The big box was now situated in the middle of the living room where our youngest child climbs inside to watch television through a hole in the end pointed toward the t.v. We are unlikely to hear a recommendation to discontinue therapy anytime soon.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh, do I have flashbacks of my family therapy days when I was in high school and college. Of course, it probably didn't help that I could NOT stand the therapist.
Interesting exercise she had you do.

Fannie said...

No family therapy here, but some days.....