When something is triggered in us, it can color everything. I know that from my own experience and from working with clients.
An old trauma may surface, old hurt, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness, inflation. Something that wasn’t fully felt when it surfaced initially. Not fully loved. Something that remained unfelt, unloved, and unexamined.
So it comes up now, and it can color everything. And our minds tries to make sense of it by explaining how something in our current situation triggered – or even created – this feeling or experience.
This may also come up in a session, and it may be directed at the facilitator or the situation.
Anger may surface, and be directed at anything and anyone in the present situation including the facilitator. Sadness may come up, and our mind makes up a story about how our life now creates this sadness. Hopelessness may color the experience of the session, and the client may feel hopeless about the process or the prospect of ever healing.
This is called transference in mainstream psychology. As usual, I don’t like that word so much. It’s too limited and sounds unnecessarily clinical.
Then there is counter-transference, where something is triggered in the facilitator (or therapist) and color his or her experience of the session and/or the client.
It’s universally human. And it’s good to be aware of. It may happen, and if we notice what’s happening there is a little more distance to it, and more room to relate to it more consciously.
This is something it’s very helpful to educate clients on, as well as facilitator trainees.
- what comes up colors everything
- abandonment – feeling abandoned by facilitator/center
- hopelessness – about the session, approach
- anger – at facilitator
- good to notice – old stuff comes up, colors the present
- (may also be a grain of truth in what it says about the present)
- aka transference (and counter-transference)