Thursday, March 29, 2007

Supper with Shrinks

This past Tuesday evening I had arranged for a second "reunion" of my past school internship group. We had had one the month before and had so much fun catching-up we scheduled this month's reunion within the first 15 minutes of the first reunion! HA!

This time around there ended up being 4 of us from our group, because two people ended up nothing being able to come at the last minute, but we still had a blast! We played "catch-up" for about the first hour and then one of the counselors had to get back to work because she still had clients that evening and was just on a dinner break, so this left just the 3 of us--myself, one of the women who was also an intern there with me and who also graduated that semester with me, and then one of the counselors from the agency--who happened to be my supervisor from when I was there. I was the youngest of the group all night, but once it was down to the three of us, the other two are both in their early-30s. They are very close in age and both share a high level of spirituality with a religious basis. Both AMAZING young women, that I'm blessed to call friends.

So the three of us spent the next 1.5 hours talking as passionate individuals in our field would--discussing human behavior and how intriguing it all can be!

I want to share some points that were made during that hour and a half. I must admit, that I shared limited comments during that time; however, because much of the talk was about areas I'm not particularly "well-schooled in" but at the same time, I listened intentively and chimed in here and there occassionally. I found some of the points so interesting I wanted to share them here for y'all to consider:

[You'll soon pick up on the fact that much of the talk surrounded around spirituality/religious beliefs and differences between men and women--particularly concerning marital relationships. Not big areas in my life, but still interesting to me]
  • Men's biggest temptations tend to come via the eyes, while for women the temptations seem strongest via the ears. (i.e. women like to gossip)
  • Men typically seem stronger than women in an immediate emotional sense. Like if an emotional situation comes about, a man is more likely to keep his composure and remain calm in the immediate onset. But women tend to have more endurance and a sense of resilience. Women might be hit hard at first with an emotional setting, but they will fight through it and "bounce back" and be able to go for the long-haul in the end.
  • Men can typically have several close buddies. Men can call up the guys from high school, several years down the road and just pick up where the left off and no one thinks a thing of it. Women usually have a few close friends that sometimes will out-last the rest, but over all, female friendships seem to take a lot more effort to sustain than male ones.
  • A story was mentioned about a friend who had been looking for "the right guy" for years. This friend was described as highly beautiful and highly religious. She often had men, but always felt like she was never going to find "Mr. Right." She apparently prayed often about it and was always given "a sign" that he wasn't the right one, nor him, and so on and so forth. This friend kept coming to my friend (the therapist) and asking for her advice. Saying, "why can't I find the man God has chosen for me?!" My friend shared this with her friend, and with us at the dinner table. She said she once heard that God always has one of three answers for us: "Yes," "Wait," or "I have something better."
  • Apparently it's been said that what you might find you love the most about your spouse when y'all first get together and are dating, will end up being the thing that will drive you nuts the most once y'all have been married for a little bit. One example given was about a spouse who was just naturally polite and well-mannered with women. Always treated women with great respect. Not being a flirty type guy, but a guy who was raised with all sisters so he was good around women. Of course when dating this gentleman, the woman was loving how he treated her and all the attention; however, once the woman married this guy, she began to feel a sense of jealousy realizing he was still like this to other women too and feeling as if she needed to be like, "Hey buddy, I'm the most important woman in your life now." And though she knew he knew that, and he did feel that way, she was still having to learn how to adjust to his respect for women in general.
  • A book that both of my friends had read and they both highly recommended it was "Captivating" by John Eldredge. When I looked it up on Amazon it noted what the women talked about and how the book focuses on a woman's sense of spirituality and how a women's 3 core desires are: to be romanced, to play a role in her own adventure, and to display beauty.
  • A story was told about how a couple had gone over to some of their older/wiser friends house for the evening. The younger couple kept arguing and bickering all night. Finally, the wiser couple sat the other couple down and said, "We want y'all to do something for us. We want you to leave your kids here with us for the night, and then go home and continue your fighting there, BUT you can only do it under one circumstance. When you get home you have to continue your fighting in the nude." The younger couple, unsure about the suggestion, but willing to try it, accepted the offer and where on their way. When they got home and got undressed they found they were unable to fight with one another. This was explained as the reason they were unable to continue their fighting was because they were on a level playing field again. They were both in a state of vulnerability. Fighting typically exists in a state of one person being vulnerable to another for one reason or another. One gets on the offense and the other is defense; however, in a state of exposure, where both individuals are vulnerable, the field becomes more level and it is difficult to fight.
  • Another comment made was how one friend has found that if she ever needs to have a serious conversation with her husband, to the point that she needs to make sure she has his focus on her, she always asks him if he wants to go take a shower together. Okay, that might sound "extreme" but I bet it works (not that I would know...but thinking about it and all...HA!). She claims that just about every man will always accept the offer and it is a great place to talk and the men will seem to listen and get into a true discussion with you then. HA! You know some of you married women out there are going to go try this now! HA! ;)
  • Finally, probably one of my favorite points of the night was when my counselor friend stated brought up how important going to counseling is for EVERYONE. She mentioned how she had to go for her graduate studies and went in with this "big head" as many studying-to-be-therapist students will (as if we think we know it all), and then she came out later on wishing she'd started going earlier in her life. She said how she'll never forget being in a session with this one therapist and him repeating over and over to her "IT'S OVER. IT'S OVER. IT'S OVER." You know, sometimes we just need to hear that from someone else to be able to accept it ourselves. I'm sure I could use that pertaining to some areas of my life. It's cool though because we all talked about how it's always said, "Well why should I go to a therapist. What would I talk about. I don't feel I'm having any problems or issues I need help with." But that's usually the MOST fun/beneficial times to go. It gives you a chance to better understand yourself. And when we can better understand how our unique self is, we are better prepared to face what life brings us later on. We are more likely to be able to avoid the "problems" or "issues" that could come.

So that's what three passionate therapists talk about around the dinner table. Incase you were interested! ;)

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