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This is a story about me and some of my clients who also describe themselves as geeks: it is about geeks in therapy. Of course, geek is a metaphor and a type of behaviour which never manifests itself in the same way. Below is a definition I like:
“a bright young man turned inward, poorly socialized, who felt so little kinship with his own planet that he routinely traveled to the ones invented by his favorite authors, who thought of that secret, dreamy place his computer took him to as cyberspace—somewhere exciting, a place more real than his own life, a land he could conquer, not a drab teenager’s room in his parents’ house.” Julia Smith, New Orleand Beat
I was eight when I received my first computer and, for many reasons mostly related to my family situation, I chose to withdraw into computing. Programming and playing games constituted most of my life up until the age of sixteen when I noticed that other people seemed to have more friends and other things to do in their lives. At that time, I was lucky enough to have a supportive person in my life who recommended a psychotherapist; a person who helped me to change my life but who I also often felt misunderstood by.
When my therapist asked me how I felt I honestly thought she was joking as I wasn’t used to this question and, although I had some intuition as to what the feelings may have been, I was not able to notice let alone verbalise them. I felt very ashamed, vulnerable and thought that my therapist was on a different planet. Clearly she took for granted that people had feelings and she was not able to understand how ashamed I was to admit to what I felt.
Initially it was a very painful experience. Not only was I often asked about those feelings, which I did not understand, but the therapist was also not willing to discuss with me the theory of therapy or of human development. It took us about a year to establish the fact that I was too scared to proceed through my feelings unless I could understand where we were going – in other words my heart would follow my head, but not the other way around. Nevertheless, this experience eventually not only changed my life but also had a direct influence on my becoming a psychotherapist.
Now I notice that some of my clients choose me because I have this experience. I understand how it is to be lonely and scared to reach out. Most of my geek clients suffer from a mistrust of other people, relationships (this includes sexuality) as well as shame and anxiety. Usually through this kind of work we are able to create what I had with my first therapist; a safe environment in which we can connect and attend to the pain of the missed connections that some of the clients experienced. This is usually a very moving and rich experience.
Geeks are often very talented, spiritual, ethical and philosophical people. By fostering the connection, which I believe is the main task of psychotherapy for most of us, they are able to accelerate in their lives and find the most amazing theories linked to these experiences. For me it is always an exercise in creativity, as I not only feel moved but also stimulated to think about the world in a new way.
6a Bessborough Place
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Our practitioners are individually registered with either the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy or the European Association for Psychotherapy.