Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

PSYCHOTHERAPY Out of Bounds, continued
Felicity tried something he realized could well risk his already shaky reputation with his hosts at the clinic. He asked Passionato to tense his fist, hand and wrist in various ways in order to increase the tension of those painful bands of muscles. He watched as Passionato tried every way to tense every other set of muscles and to stretch or relax the tight band. Through the interpreter (who may have feared interpreting correctly), Felicity tried to shape Passionato’s efforts toward tensing the very bands which were already much too tense. At first, it didn’t work.
Then Felicity turned Passionato’s attention to his jaw muscles. He asked him to tense them. He could do that easily. He asked him to pay strict attention to how he was tensing his jaw muscles and to see if he could reverse the process. He could do that almost to the point that the jaw line reverted to a smooth curve. He then asked Passionato to hold his jaw as tense as he could for as long as he could. He encouraged him to keep it tight. Minutes ticked by. Twenty minutes elapsed. Suddenly, Passionato’s jaw started to tremble and twitch. Then it fell open. Through the interpreter, Felicity kept encouraging Passionato to tense his jaw muscles. After about two minutes the sharp angle of the law line re-appeared. It held for about ten minutes before it started trembling and then fell open again. There was more encouragement. After about a minute the sharp angle of the jaw developed again. This process was continued for another twenty-five minutes, during which there were three more minute-long periods of twitching and sagging jaw activities.
But Felicity kept watching the tense bands along the forearms while this focus of attention on the jaw was going on. They were steadily becoming less apparent. Felicity asked Passionato not to move in any way, and then asked him just to look down at his forearms. Shock registered on his face and on the face of the interpreter as they stared at the smooth forearms. Then the tight bands in the arms grew once more as if stretched by the fixed stare of the two men.
Felicity asked Passionato to tighten up the bands as much as he could now. He did. He was asked to practice that exercise of tightening them and letting them go over and over again to feel what it felt like to do both actions from inside himself. He was seen again the next day. He was strumming cautiously on his sitar. Felicity asked him to ‘put that thing away’. The intended result was achieved. He seemed offended and he stared at Felicity as though the latter had just made a perverse and profane demand. However, he did as he was asked.

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