Excitement and anxiety is the interesting emotional mix evoked by writing this blog. I actually take great pleasure in the process of writing (just as well as I have recently dedicated months to writing a book!) it is both satisfying and valuable to clarify for myself my thoughts and feelings on topics that matter dearly to me, such as my work; writing is a process of self reflection. I do find however that when finished writing for my blog it can take courage to press the ‘send’ button. When I do so I am sending my thoughts and feelings out into the world to be seen and heard by others. How might I be received and heard? What might they reflect back to me? In essence how will I be judged? If I project my voice into the world, raise my profile stand out from the crowd, what if the people who already know me feel I am declaring myself different to them. Will they still like me…
It sounds child like, does it not? As mature professional women, a therapist used to public speaking, delivering training and media broadcast I might expect myself to have a little more self confidence. There is something about speaking out in the written word, going on record with what I think, what I feel that brings out all those childlike fears including that very basic need we all have as children to be liked and to belong.
The therapist in me knows that it is natural to have this child still within me, this little girl who wants who wants so much to be liked and accepted by the group. Group situations remind us very much of our earliest experiences of groups such as family and school and so too those strong needs we had to be accepted and to belong. I see this again and again in the therapeutic groups I provide for women with gambling addiction. A vital element of the work we do together is finding the voice of each woman, after maybe years of it being silenced. I see the strong desire to at last be seen and heard alongside the intense fear that speaking out can bring. Fear that she might say too much or not enough. That she will say something to upset another or to set herself out as different to the others. Ultimately, the fear is that she will be judged and rejected by the group.So what I feel I know to be natural.
On Tuesday my book” Women and Problem Gambling” will be published and a whole 154 pages of my thoughts and feelings as professional will go out there, on permanent record, into the world. One woman I have worked with for gambling addiction treatment told me that she and she imagines all the other women I have worked with will be metaphorically standing right beside me on publication date. As her therapist of course I reflected on the deeper meaning of her expressing support for me, but also in that moment the anxious little girl in me felt an enormous strength from being told that it is okay for my voice to be heard. That I am still okay and I still belong.