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Are you the Object or Subject of your life?


Recently a coffee break chat with a dear colleague (who is leaving the therapy team and returning to Portugal, but that’s another blog!) became the catalyst for this post.

As we reminisced about our work together Jo voiced;

“it wasn’t until we worked together that I really started becoming aware of myself as an object/subject”

I was stunned.

In context, Systemic Family Therapist Joana Ribeiro is an outstandingly brilliant clinician and so to hear her compliment my methods was deeply honouring. However if I am honest I was baffled that before our collaboration the concept of an ‘objective/subjective’ was not something she had regularly considered.

So let me break it down.

The way I see it:

The objectified self  = a created functional entity.

Subjective self = an ever changing living being.

Bare with me, I promise the psychobabble will become clear and relevant to YOU!

In therapy:

SO from a clinical perspective when in the therapy room clients can at times objectify the therapist in order to satisfy their need. The objectified therapist is merely an object who’s function is owned by the client dependent on their need. For some therapists, this model works well in maintaining boundaries and minimising attachment HOWEVER this has never been my style.

Feeling first, Thought later

As a Dance Movement Psychotherapist to rid myself of my own subjectivity would be to deny my humanity. To become someone else’s object, on a functional level, creates disconnect, something we experience all too often in our current climate.

It is my experience that it is by meeting a person in need,where they are, on a very human relatable level, is where healing can develop from, rather then become the ‘all knowing all being functional’ expert

Subjectivity allows us to track our own emotions and our own experiences to relate, empathise, understand and learn. A phrase I often say to the young people I work with is ‘You are the expert of yourself I am here to help you remember forgotten chapters and support you in the discovery of new ones’ Placing myself in the ‘all knowing all being therapist’ role NEVER works. It may lead to an early discharge from treatment but it’s a short term fix where the client leaves superficially filled with someone’s else’s wisdom instead of trusting in their own.

What this means for You:

Sadly I have begun to notice that this tension between our objectified and subjective self is not something confined to the session room.

As you will notice from previous blogs I have a Love Hate relationship with social media.

It seduces me and I can’t help but flirt with its Hashtags and flattering filters but other times I imagine someone some where is throwing holy water at it trying to elitist a mass exorcism

When social media is seducing me I can see how quickly it persuades me to become the product and object of my own life. Giving me a voice and platform but void of any tangible connection due its lack of  that very basic but necessary humane connection.

The social media platform creates an advert for our lives but Iam pretty sure I am not the only one who  would rather fast forward through the ads to get to the programme,  aka person.

So I invite you, in your day to day life to notice when you are subjectively living and when you are slipping into the role you feel expected or demanded to play. If you are, you may beginning to objectify your own life.

Let’s remember for centuries women and men have fought hard against the objectification of women, lets not reverse this vital work for the sake of a few more followers.

I encourage you to connect with your own subjectivity in the moment. Because in the moment, is the only place life exists.

 

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