Ok. I’ll go first. Leslie Phillips and I, as co-chairs for the Leadership Development Committee, created this blog. I believe it’s a great idea. It’s a place where the creative minds from our community can be heard, and our members can listen and think. This blog site will underscore us as the bright, contemplative, and creative minds that we are. So, why isn’t everyone rushing to be the first?
I spent the summer trying to elicit interest for contributions to the blog. I made private pleading calls, shameless requests at awkward moments, and sent out one too many emails to the listserve. Many people responded with enthusiasm, but the unified response was, “I don’t want to go first.” It led me to wonder, “what’s stopping me from going first?”
Exposure? Judgement? Two words that I try to hide myself from feeling, especially as it creeps in at 3am during my nightly trip to the bathroom along with my ritual of reviewing the previous day. Interestingly, we named the blog “Free Associations”. This calls to mind a relaxed, therapeutically contained space to speak, without judgement, our private thoughts. But, going first feels just the opposite: not contained and dangerous. These words will be posted, naked, alone, until the next brave soul blogs to “cover” me, and my words.
In my office, I strive for clinical engagement, spontaneity, and understand my involvement as a somewhat mutual endeavor with my patients. There’s risk there. But, the risk is contained within the office walls. As a public site, our words, our blogs, will be seen by people we don’t know and with whom we don’t have an established sense of safety. And I chose to go first?!?
Yes, I’m challenging myself. I’m thinking of this post as the first line of a squiggle game. I’m entering into it with the spirit of venturing into the unknown, where there might be danger, but also with the hope to be seen and to connect, not unlike how I position myself in the office with patients every day. So, when you receive another email request on the listserve, or get my calls, please consider contributing to the blog. And, remember, now don’t have to be the first!
Coren Schwartz, CSW, is co-chair for the Leadership Development Committee at WCSPP. She is has a certificate in psychoanalysis from Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, and is a graduate from the WCSPP Supervisory Training Program. She has a private practice in Pleasantville, NY and on zoom. www.psychotherapyinWestchester.com