I am pleased to be able to take part in the Rave Reviews ‘Pay it Forward’ week and tell you all about another great RRBC author and psychotherapist, Jeffrey Von Glahn.
Jeffrey Von Glahn has been a psychotherapist for 45 years, and counting. That experience has been, and continues to be, more exciting and fulfilling than he had ever imagined. On occasion, he has been known to suddenly exclaim, “If I believed in reincarnation – which I don’t – but if I did my fondest wish would be to come back as one.” What has been especially rewarding for him is when he has been able to help someone reconnect with a “lost” part of their basic humanness. That’s when he feels that he has helped to give birth to a new human being. “I don’t mean that literally, of course, but there’s no other way of explaining how I feel when I’m sitting face-to-face with someone and I see such a dramatic change.”
Beginning as far back as his days as a graduate student, Jeffrey – as he prefers to be called – has always believed that crying created the most profound change. He is quick to point out, however, that only a particular way of crying will do. That is, when it spontaneously occurs during a session rather than as a forced response to an unexpected event in everyday life. With some clients, such a change can happen with just a minute or two of deep crying; while with others it could take many months. While this degree of change is not always possible, Jeffrey has discovered that it can occur with far more people than most of his colleagues seem to think.
Jeffrey began his career at a clinic where he gained a great deal of experience with a wide variety of clients. He left after seven years to take on more challenging cases, which required more innovative methods than were welcomed at an agency that had a public image to worry about. “It was the second most important decision in my life,” he says. As if the goddess of all things psychological had been reading his thoughts, his very first client presented a problem that he had never heard of – and one that he had never imagined as ever being a problem. Many years later that pioneering adventure was told in Jessica: The autobiography of an infant. It would not have happened if he had not have immediately agreed – his most important decision – to Jessica’s bold request for multiple-hour sessions in hopes of a therapeutic breakthrough.
Jeffrey can be contacted in the following ways:
Please check out Jeffrey’s interesting book ‘Jessica: The autobiography of an Infant’.
Jessica had always feared that the unthinkable had happened when she had been “made up.” She had no sense of herself as a needing, wanting person. Every day she expected to be dragged into court and found guilty of impersonating a real human being. In her therapy, she remembered in vivid detail many experiences from the earliest days of her life. In the process, she discovered that the difficulties she experienced in being born and the inattentive, hurried behaviour of her mother in the ensuing weeks made her feel that the needing, wanting part of her was “dangerous” and that she “had to stay away from it.” All of Jessica’s remembrances were audio-taped and edited for inclusion in the book.
Jessica had always been terrified that the unthinkable had happened when she was “made up.” In her mind, there was no other explanation for what she experienced when she said “I need” or “I want.” The second these words flew from her mouth she felt as if she were floating hundreds of miles above the earth and that her mind was about to dissolve into chaos. If someone had said to her, “I never hear you say ‘I need’ or ‘I want,’” her crisp reply would have been, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Those words would have been followed by an urgent “I have to go.”
Jessica lived in constant dread of someone discovering who – or what – she really was. She was certain that, if her secret ever leaked out, strangers would suddenly encircle her and, with arms raised and fingers pointed directly at her, shout “Imposter! Imposter! Here’s the imposter!” The next day’s headlines would then surely read: SCIENTISTS GATHER TO EXAMINE ALIEN IMPOSTER.
Jessica’s future – if not her sanity – depended on her preventing that from happening. She decided that the best way to do that was to act as if she really was a needing, wanting person. Accordingly, she did whatever she sensed was expected of her, and in a way that would avoid upsetting anyone and keep her as inconspicuous as possible.
Until Jessica entered therapy as an adult, she had no way of knowing how she had become such a mystery to herself. When she was well into her therapy, she started to remember many experiences from the first weeks of her infancy that would provide the answer. During that time in her life, when every minute of it should have been filled with exciting discoveries about herself and her world, she rarely saw a smiling face, or experienced a soft caress, or heard a tender voice, or felt her body being handled in a gentle way.
A few of her many remembrances included her sense in being born of wanting to add one more “good thing” to that “big, working thing” she sensed was out there. Unfortunately, her reception by the medical team made her feel that all she had done was to cause problems for them “because I wasn’t doing it right.” Another remembrance was how the anaesthesia given to her mother made her feel that she had suddenly lost control over her body. Yet another memory was how her mother’s overall hurried and inattentive behaviour in the following weeks made her to feel that she was a disappointment.
For Jessica’s therapist, hearing these recollections was like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening. All of those recollections were audio-taped and included in this book in edited form for ease of reading.