Model Scenes: A Guide to Bringing the Theater of the Mind onto the Patient-Therapist Stage
For extended periods of time, I have found myself perplexed about particular experiences and interchanges I was having with a patient. A notion of these experiences, sometimes unformulated, would "sit" in my mind waiting and loosely searching for an explanation. I found that in time my undirected listening for a key to open the door to the puzzle of what was transpiring between the patient and me was rewarded by the revelation of a scene. The scene might be in the form of a memory; a dream; a description of a movie, play, or book; or a rendering of an event from a prior session. Generally the revelation came from the patient with my recognizing its significance. On rare occasions, the revelation originated from my self-analysis. Whatever its source, I treated my "aha" experience with the skepticism I had been trained to value. I then offered the patient a suggestion in as open a manner as my enthusiasm allowed. I then listened to the patient's response. Was the image or picture I had in my mind from the scene in the memory, dream, movie, or prior session a model that linked organically to something puzzling between us? Happily, my conjecture often has been confirmed by the type of yes and no I value: yes that makes general sense, but no it's not exactly how I see it. We then play puzzle solvers, modifying, adding, and discarding. I refer to coconstructing and cocreating a puzzle-solving depiction that helps to discover the meaning of a significant event or enactment a "model scene."