Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

PSYCHOTHERAPY Out of Bounds, continued
He asked Primula to tell him, if she knew, what it was about cats that she sensed or received and reacted to – any picture of what it looked like from the recesses of her mind would be fine, no matter how ‘silly’ it may seem. She said she imagined that what she reacted to about cats looked like little spirals – like curly hairs, except they spiralled to a point like a cone. They were black, and the point on their ends would catch onto skin or mucous tissue and irritate it by tickling. Felicity was pleased, and he asked her to put that image up on a shelf. He then asked her what else she could think of which was small, looked like that, but had no unpleasant effect on her at all – in fact, she liked it. After some thought, she said she thought of tiny cone-shaped sea shells which had black mother-of-pearl all over them. Felicity was delighted and he asked her to put that image up on the shelf too.
He then asked Primula what particles of the house dust that afflicted her looked like. The image was of little irregular black things with hairs coming off them which could stick to tissue and irritate it. The similar but pleasant and non-irritating image was of particles of smooth black coal dust from a particular fireplace which she had liked as a child. Those were put up on the shelf. Then he asked about tree and grass spores. They looked to her like tiny green balls with little spines out from them which would stick into tissue and irritate it. The similar but pleasant and non- irritating image was of little green sparkles which one might spray on a Christmas tree and that would stick there to make the tree bright. Those were also put up on the shelf.
She was asked to close her eyes and picture herself in a room divided in half by an impenetrable, transparent plexiglass screen stretching from ceiling to floor and from wall to wall. Closed doors from a common hall accessed each half of the room. She was asked to watch from her partitioned off half of the room while little black, cone-shaped spirals from a cat were released in the other half of the room. How did she feel? “Fine.” She was asked to arrange for a frame, like a picture frame, to be put around the area containing the spirals. Then she was asked to compress the frame with its contents to the size of a picture frame, and then to push the frame and its contents back against the far wall. She accomplished this image. Then she was asked to arrange for a whole lot of tiny black, cone-shaped, mother-of-pearl covered sea shells to be flung lightly into the frame with the spirals of hair. As the sea shells moved toward the frame, air currents sucked the air out of them so that when they reached the frame the spirals of hair were sucked into them and gobbled up. She said she could really see that happening and had already anticipated that occurrence.

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