You might well ask what the above have in common? Yesterday I went to a group family cognitive therapy session. Having spent many hours working in this kind of field I am in a position to say that the therapist was excellent, if that is what you want. However I cannot give a definitive opinion as I developed what was, in the jargon ,a psychosomatic coughing fit , more like a paroxysm actually, and had to leave. Now that was Ok as far as it went, but I came away with a terrible fear of snakes and a return of my fear of flying which I have worked hard to overcome in the last forty years, and been moderately successful in that aim; so much so that I was planning to visit my new esteemed friend Bev In India where there are, I am told many snakes. You see before getting to work the therapist took us on a lively preamble of his fear of snakes and his inability to overcome this after four years in Freudian therapy. Now this was not a good start, but then things got more intense, as for some reason we were taken into the awful journey into “fear of flying” with rather graphic descriptions of my particular phobic obsession about the final moments as the plane goes down. The session was not about either of these things, but I had recurring dreams last night one of them involved being in a plane with a snake, and not the human kind. Well.. perhaps this was a kind of displacement technique …but I took refuge in my own therapy today where I do not have to cross the room and select a partner who is a complete stranger to me with whom I can share my feelings which is where the codpieces come in.
This set me thinking about peoples ways of handling stressful and terrible events, and I realized, and not for the first time, that my whole domestic life is a giant cognitive therapy session, this house is always full of people talking about their feelings and wanting to be fed. This is why I write historical fiction and spend many hours immersed in the delightful escapism it offers. My characters do not have therapists, they work things out and they, at least the people, in my books, are not so surprised by the vicissitudes of life. I think there is a spider in the basement I am off to see my friend next door and have asked the Sainted One to deal with it .. he is being adorable at the moment and finished painting the lodger’s bathroom , I do not ask myself why .. life is a mystery….you see it is all so simple really.