|"When Claire Martin was diagnosed with an inner ear infection which necessitated time away from work, she was forced to reflect on the impact her clinical work was having on her life and personal relationships"|
Claire Martin’s article ‘Into the labyrinth’ is a salient reminder of how illness can force us to down tools and take stock
Inner ears and inner stillness
Claire Martin’s article ‘Into the labyrinth’ (Therapy Today, October 2011) is a salient reminder of how illness can force us to down tools and take stock. What does it take for a person to completely re-assess themselves, and effect change? Anthony de Mello (1992) said that ‘people only change when they are sick of suffering’.
As therapists we support people whose suffering has pushed them to look at who they are and what has been driving them, often in a search for inner peace or a ‘stiller centre’, as Martin puts it. In an ironic twist of ethics, her conscientious attitude to self-respect was shaken to the core, resulting, after thorough self-examination, in deeper care towards herself.
Reading this took me back 12 months when I contracted Swine Flu. Following an enjoyable outdoor holiday in Scotland, I thought I would be refreshed and ready to engage in client work. Far from it; after a week in bed I prematurely forced myself back to work to see a new client. Over the course of an hour’s intensive listening, my left ear gradually shut down. By the next morning I could no longer hear in the other one. Overnight my world had become quietly muffled, leaving me feeling detached and unable to see any more clients. Diagnosed with two ear infections, it took me another year for them to work properly.
Claire Martin’s article is a reminder to us all to consider the strain our auditory system is under when our whole being is focused on listening at many different levels simultaneously. Inner ears and inner stillness may be more intimately connected than we think.
MBACP. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org