Written by therapist Treshana Lewis
You probably don’t notice me
Last night you threw your 7th piece of laundry on top of me
I get it, I’m not the most pleasing sight to see
I was hoping to be the resting place for your weary feet
I know, I’m hard, unyielding, and not even comfy
But you see these are a few of my best qualities
I bet you are wondering how in the world can this be
Have you ever tried to talk to me?
I’m not easily broken, and definitely won’t get all bent out of shape
I don’t give way to pressure easily, try me
Use those sharp cutting words and you’ll see that these wooden legs won’t quake
And discomfort you say, that’s inscribed in my DNA
That’s why I can sit with you in the pain of yesterday
Hurry now, don’t delay
We wouldn’t want anger, bitterness, and sorrow to eat away
I will absorb your emotions like water
I will reflect on any matter
An original poem by Treshana
The Empty Chair Technique
This talk therapy exercise gives you the opportunity to freely express your thoughts and feelings as if you were talking to a specific person. Sometimes, we are unable to speak to the person we want to directly due to fear, grief, or unhealthy communication patterns. With the empty chair technique, you are able to direct your words, emotions, and gestures at the empty chair, while visualizing the person sitting in it as you talk. One thing is true about the empty chair technique: there is no word, emotion, or gesture that is too harsh.
Can The Empty Chair Really Help Me
The empty chair technique has a canning ability to teleport you into the present moment, bring insight and awareness on things of old, and expose the unknown. Engaging in the empty chair technique is like opening Pandora’s Box. You just don’t know what will be released but whatever it is will finally be free. Through this you will gain a greater understanding of yourself, your internal conflict, and external struggle(s).
How It’s Done
During the session, your therapist may help facilitate the empty chair technique by asking questions or suggesting topics to explore. This is to ensure that you remain engaged in the experience and stay on course with the issue at hand. While verbalizing and processing your emotions, you may become visibly overwhelmed, anxious, upset, or angry, and your counselor will likely intervene to help you process the unsettling emotions.
You may be thinking, “well, what do I say?” I would tell you to say whatever comes to mind, but let’s be honest, sometimes there is a disconnection between the mouth and the mind. Instead I will say; speak from your grief, speak from your disappointment, speak from your anger, speak from your trauma, speak from your worry, speak from your fear, speak from your fractured heart, speak from your weary bones, speak from your soul.
This technique is heavily reliant on imagination. If you find yourself having trouble imagining that the person is sitting before you, it’s okay. Begin to speak and you’ll likely begin to feel that you are talking to the person directly.
After you have communicated or released everything you wanted to say, you may feel relieved, comforted, and uninhibited. You may now have the confidence you need to talk to the person directly, if that is feasible. You may also walk away with a greater ability to identify your emotions and communicate your feelings and thoughts clearly. By the time you finish the empty chair technique, you may feel enlightened due to having deeper insight into your issues with the prospective person or situation.
If you are reading this blog post and struggling with processing difficult emotions, we would love to connect with you and walk with you through techniques like Empty Chair. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.