I feel sometimes like one of those clowns in the circus, who keeps putting on a different funny hat just as the audience begins to stop laughing, and so repeatedly energizes the crowd and himself. This is especially true on days when the schedule is full, and I am seeing people one right after another. Each time I open the door, I am myself, but I am also who I need to be for them. Good therapists do this instinctively; they know who needs a gentle touch, and who a raucous laugh to get things going. They choose materials that match the person, and not merely the symptoms. Master therapists do it so well, that the evolution from one persona to another is seamless, and the sharing of self flows back and forth across the therapy room like the air we breathe. In, and out. With occasional deep sighs.
I don’t think I knew the therapy dance very well in the beginning, focused as I was on being right, being smart, being effective. I was not comfortable dealing with their feelings, or my own. Being me did not seem very important, or for that matter, appropriate. Revealing what I felt, sharing the sadness and pain, was off limits. Like Quasimodo, aphasia therapists are not made of stone, and even if they were, people with aphasia would gently chip away at the exterior to find what is inside.
Part of the dance is sharing the chisle.