Ginger Schenck, thank you for the opportunity to share with you some of the clues Kathy dropped. My experience of Kathy was that she did NOT "scatter them like bread crumbs in the forest," but rather laid them out for me to find. At times when I had difficulty finding them, she would make them more obvious for me. I found her to be working extremeley hard with me to put all these pieces together. So let me try to communicate to you how I found these clues.
As I review the initial 2 sessions with Kathy, I see places where I noted clues: 1) The fact that I liked her immediately, even though she presented herself in such an irritable manner, made me think that there were some deeply likeable parts of her that she was hiding. 2) Although she spoke in an unanimated and efficient manner during most of the first session, she came to LIFE for just a few moments when she talked about her wish to move further emotionally from her current level. I knew that affect would be important to find and follow. 3) The event that caused her current depression was her 15 year old son's moving to another state to be with his father. The way Kathy described this was curt, short, abrupt, and without affect. There was some mystery here in my mind. 4) When I asked about her childhood, she made her half-brother, Dan, a big part of her story. She talked about his death at age 16, which was very close to the age of her son. The way she talked about these events made me think they might be linked in some way. 5) She used an unusual expression in talking about her mother's reaction to her brother's death: "Mother died inside. She resented me and my father for surviving. There was always a tinge of punishment, maybe just in withholding." These expressions caught my attention. Abortions are "deaths inside."6) Kathy described a period of her life when she felt wonderful in contrast to how she felt most of the time. I associated her description of this time to the LIFE she expressed in wanting to grow further emotionally. 7)In the second hour, Kathy gave me a chance to show her what I thought was important for her, by asking me to help her focus. I remembered the irritability of the first hour and how she had been most open talking about her wish to grow, so I asked her about that. Her animated response was a big clue that I was on the right track. 8) She then described her current depression being only the second in her life and being similar to a first depression 6 years earlier following an abortion. I quickly remembered that phrase she'd used the first hour in talking about her mother: "Mother died inside." 8) Her first depression was very interesting and mysterious in that it occurred during a time of great feelings of being alive. Kathy described feeling exhilerated when she was with people, but crying when alone. Then Kathy added "To this day I still cry when I hear stories." 9) In trying to make sense of these paradoxes I asked what sorts of stories made her cry and she gave me a huge clue . . . "Stories like about the Olympics." In my mind I thought and said, "Achievements, accomplishments" and I then reminded her of another clue I forgot to mention here but in the first hour she had said that she missed having someone to share the good things with, so I connected these in my mind and she looked surprised (as if I had recognized something in her that she was unaware of) which was one more clue that we were on track. 11) As she elaborated more about the feelings after the abortion, I knew we were onto some huge crumbs of clues: She was afraid she would stop mothering her surviving children. Those are all expressions she used in describing her mother's reaction to her brother's death. I saw a powerful connection that I would continue to look for more evidence about. 12)She finally describes her goal for our work to be regaining the "sunshine times" without feeling depressed. There we have important issues related to spotlight, achievement, somehow depression, and mothering.
So there are some of the clues in just the first 2 sessions. I hope that helps you gain the sense of Kathy as the hard-working patient she was. The two of us were both extremely interested in her puzzle and putting it together. I can give further examples if that would be helpful, but I'll stop here and wait for input. By the way, I agree whole-heartedly that telling the story of one's life to an interested, caring "other" is a powerful healing agent. If you follow the case further, you will see how Kathy further develops this storytelling and uses it in powerfully creative ways to heal some deep emotional pain. And also, family dynamics play a key role in this case, as in most. So, thanks so much for your comments and interest.