Normal can be comforting.
If we think we are odd, to be told that this is normal, this feeling (if we believe it) can be comforting. It is good sometimes to discover we are not “odd”.
In a session, it can be difficult to not say to a patient, this is normal, that is a normal reaction, your feelings are perfectly normal.
It is true.
Sometimes it is not what the patient wants to hear. A lot of times, mostly because they do not feel this is the case.
Sometimes because they want to feel that they are not normal.
Or how could there be a “normal” reaction or behaviour, response or feeling, for what they went through?
I have a new patient. I met her in the hospital yesterday, we spent a lot of time together. Her sixth attempt to end things was just thwarted, barely, she has slipped through the cracks in the “system”. This happens all too often. Not receiving help after her previous attempts, filing some of those attempts away as acting out or seeking attention.
This too, can be “normal”. Sad as it is.