Tuesday Blog Day: “The Cornerperson”

I’m still trying out my new blogging schedule, so this will be for Tuesday, Feb. 16. Tuesday is the day for using words to say something in one or more sentenceI’ve heard this phrase from a few patients about therapy, even about me being in their corner when they are not!

Interestingly the idiom originates with boxing, which I often conjure up as a therapist. It feels like I am in the ring but in the corner; I’m not a boxing expert; in fact, as usual with blogging, I learn something just by getting into a topic. Check out this list of boxing terms:

http://www.predictem.com/boxing/terms.php

The “cornerman” (“corner person”), also called the “Second” is one of several people who work in that corner during the “fight”. The head trainer is described as a Chief Second.

“Go the distance” is from boxing too, and also can be used as a metaphor for therapy.

SO,when you think of therapy as a process and the role of the therapist, one way to describe it is that the therapist is your Second, your Cornerperson, and sometimes you may notice that the therapist is in your corner even when you are not. What this means for me as an art therapist is that I am familiar with sitting or standing patiently in the person’s corner, even when they seem to be hiding or in the other fighters corner. Perhaps the interesting question would be, “When it feels like I’m in your corner when you’re not, where are you?”

Does this mean life is seen as a “boxing match” which involves fighting another person with your gloves on and there being winners and losers?

Not really. To me maybe the boxing match is useful for a person’s process in therapy. Are they fighting themselves? Are they fighting imaginary opponents or very real ones? Are they training and not fighting to win anything?

Maybe it is more accurate to describe the  therapy process as a boxing match that has the patient, their other “parts”, and the therapist in their corner? During therapy you see and accept parts of yourself that were in the “shadow” part of yourself. Integration can involve accepting all parts and having all parts be in the “Whole” gestalt of you and your Self concept. Perhaps seeing the extreme parts of yourself, such as the self-hater and the “grandiose” self, could be seen as having those parts in the ring and at some point they don’t fight each other, they can co-exist side by side. At first, the self-hater may  be taking up most of the space and you can’t even see your grandiose self… Part of the therapist’s job may be to see some parts that are mostly in the shadow and help the person look at that part without hiding from it…

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