When I asked if he was all done, he took a deep breath and let it out. It was as though he was completely exhausted. I don’t think he had ever been able toexpress himself to the point he felt he had talked himself out before.
I went to my three pages of notes and clarified each the points I wasn’t very clear on. He made many states that started with “you make me . . .” or “”ou don’t . . .” What I realized was he was bringing old conversations with his ex-wife into our relationship and holding me responsibile for what his ex had done or said.
I asked him if he would be open to restating his statements with “I feel . . .” “When this happens, I think . . .”
I asked him to repeat a number of his previous statements with those parameters. He agreed and I asked Michael how he felt about the difference. It was obvious it had a positive effect on him. He no longer looked exhausted. He regained his natural enthusiasm and became animated, but not overly so.
We went through his entire list of concerns and after three hours he said he felt he had talked it out.
What a relief! I knew we made some serious progress, until two months later!