June 15th, 2011



Once or twice a month, I help a friend of mine out with whatever she needs doing. Mimi is a certified art therapist, and today the job had the two of us sitting by a box of files in the cool of her basement. The summer air outside was a good 95° F, but it was cool and quiet down in the basement.

Therapists have to keep files for five years after they last see their client or five years after a child client turns 12, for court reasons. So we were going through all her case files to see what there was she could send to the secure shredder. She had cases from 1982, still, and we went through them folder by manila folder.

Abused kids, adopted kids, court-recommended therapy for abusers, and the like. Each had a story and a history and some Mimi talked through with a soft voice and reverence, others with a laugh, and a few with wry commentary on what she'd learned through hard experience. It was fascinating, and I helped mostly by sitting there and giving her a reason to just keep going instead of hanging over each one, trying to decide what she wanted to keep, what she no longer needed, and what her clients no longer needed.

I love learning from her this way, from her experience and wry humor. She seems so gentle, but still dealt with some spectacularly hard cases. She said that eventually the court work wore at her, especially the ones she just couldn't help, and she stopped doing that work. She also gave me a book called Healing the Sensitive Heart, as she saw similarities in me and it helped her figure out how much she could or couldn't do.

It was a very peaceful bit of time, and I needed it. So was very glad to get it.