A Madrid-based psychotherapist who conducts therapy in several languages, writes about his work with a Russian patient named Alex.
By choosing English as his initial language of self-exploration, Alex had been able to put some distance between himself and the voices in his head, and move toward self-healing. Having been through my own personal therapy in English, I knew how reassuring this linguistic shelter, this “place of hiding,” could be.
Over time, as Alex’s work with me progressed, he would discuss his mixed feelings about conducting therapy in Russian. It was somewhat like coming home, he said, to find your house ransacked by intruders. Russian felt unsafe, at times terrifying. At this stage in our work together, I focused on being there for him, supporting him during this inspection of his “home,” as he cleaned up the mess, restored some order to it, opened the windows to let in some fresh air.