Once more you pouted, made that sad face and put your head down on the table in complete exhaustion. I know you are tired of this battle. I know you are really tired of having to face your own self day in and day out. It has become difficult for you to keep up this facade of being strong and invincible, now that you’re yourself seeing through your own defenses.

I had a strong urge to ruffle your hair while you continued to rest your head, right before me on the table. But I held back. I am not supposed to. It breaks my ethical conduct code. But I want to reach out and comfort you nonetheless. I want to shake you by the shoulders and tell you that it’s going to be okay. I want to hug you and let you fall asleep peacefully. I want to show you how the world is really not as bad as you have come to see it. I want you to be a child again so that I can bring you up a little differently, with more warmth and affection and validation. You have missed out on these all your life. Now when it comes to you, you shun it and turn away, unable to believe that it is really meant for you. Don’t do that. Trust the now. Trust the fact that you do deserve love and care and that there are people who might feel it for you, without having any personal agenda.

I wish I could adopt you for a few months and set right, all that went wrong in your past. It had gone wrong in mine too. I know the battles you are fighting and I know how hard the going gets. I got by with a little help from those I allowed to come close. And then I got by by using all my strength and will. I wasn’t too worried all along because I knew that within me, there is something that cringes at the thought of having to give in to the ugliness around. There is something that cannot stand the thought of letting myself down.

I don’t sense that in you yet. I sense that feeling of defeat, almost a final one. And I feel desperate to want to help you. You are still young, almost a child in some ways, on the verge of adulthood. Don’t be scared. It really doesn’t turn out to be as bad as it seems to be in your mind right now. I know this because I am on the other side. I was where you are, not too long ago, wishing with all my might that there will be saviour to take me out of all my problems. And a few years later, here I am, before you, having made my peace with my demons.

I’ll tell you a secret here. There was no saviour. There was no one enlightening episode in my life. There was no spiritual experience that jolted me into higher awareness. I simply took charge of my problems and finally faced them. That was the only trick I used. Of course I had help from a few people without which this process would have taken longer and might have been more difficult. But the harsh fact of life is this – it would have happened nonetheless. My change was not solely dependent on the presence of any other individual. The answers lie within. Even for those times when you feel you just cannot make sense of the world outside, the answers continue to lurk within. If only, you would look.

I feel annoyed at times too. When I sit in front of you, doing my job, adding a little bit of humour to help you see how ridiculous you sound at times, moving between being firm and gentle, I sometimes find it hard to wait for you to see the point. If there was anything that I could have made easier, I would have done it. You need to understand that nothing will change unless you give up that demand of life getting easier, in every sense of the word. Take it from me, it never does. What can change however, is how you begin to view it and deal with it. That is the only thing that can and needs to be worked on. Help me to help you in this.

I wish I could be your family and show you how different realities can exist. Only to help you move on from that disappointment in life. But then again, I won’t be helping you get better; and simply feeling better is not good enough.

This is what I go through when you sit there in front me, half expecting me to sympathize with you and console you. But this time, by the time you lift your head up again for another round of ‘why me…’ and ‘I wish…’, I am sorted in my head. I have resolved my own feelings about this and I am seeing you as an individual in need of help and a firm stance. I don’t see you anymore as a hapless child who I wish to comfort. I have reminded myself of the reason why I chose this profession; to help people at whatever stage they wish to seek help and make a change in their lives. I am no expert on humans and problems. But I know one simple rule of thumb – there is not a problem that you cannot resolve in your mind, if you so wish to. And with that knowledge, also comes the realization that I can only help you when you take the initiative to help your own self. My words otherwise, are a mere empty lecture that can sound good, but do no good.

As your therapist, that is my counter-transference defined and dealt with.