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The Kids on the Couch

41. The Kids on the Couch

Years ago when I took a Pastoral Studies Program from Blanton Peale Institute, one of the instructors was Pat Briegs. After I finished that two year program, I saw Pat for another two years with her being therapist and me being client. It was a fruitful relationship.

One of the things I will always remember about Pat was her telling me about the “kids on the couch.” She said that sometimes when you’re getting ready to strike out into something new, or you’re preparing for a venture you’ve never done before, all of a sudden you will hear the kids on the couch. They’ll say “Oh, don’t do this, it’s not going to go well.” Or another one of them will say, “It makes me worried—you know you’ve never done this before.” Sometimes they’re saying what some relative might have said to you when you were young. Or they’re repeating what some person who was very anxious might have said to you, and those negative messages pop up in your brain. So another kid on the couch will say, “I don’t think you’re quite ready for this. It scares me.”

Pat said that you should talk gently to them, reassure them, and tell them, “Shhh… Shhh… It’s going to be o.k. I’m grown up now and I can do this. You quiet yourselves, suck your thumbs if you need to, but I’m going forward.”

That image has stayed with me and meant so much to me that in my consignment and thrift store shopping years ago I started looking for a little couch and found one. It’s a white rattan little couch that now sits on top of one of my low bookcases. In the same consignment shop I kept looking around and lo and behold found three small dolls—teenager types that just fit perfectly.

As I pass them, I sometimes say, “See—it’s working out—aren’t you glad?”

And I think they are.

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