Account of therapy with Jimmy Hansen


Account of therapy with Jimmy Hansen

Around 2 years ago, my life had become a confusing mess. I had gotten divorced 6 years previously, and had moved to a small flat with my kids (whom I saw every other week). Additionally, I had been fired from the job I worked at while going through my divorce, and had experienced many personal attacks from my ex-partner, all of which had taken its toll on my psyche, including my behaviour to those near to me, my work superiors and even up to that date – passers-by.

Things clearly needed to change, as I was beginning to lose my grip on reality. My health had begun to suffer; I was constantly worried, and had totally lost all my self-confidence: both in myself, in life in general and the world around me. To say I was confused was putting it mildly: I could find myself taking a sick day from work, and laying there in the same position on the sofa until day turned to night, my mind jumping through thought-loops on a rollercoaster of worry and fret – the heart beating like a bass-drum.

I had finally plucked up enough courage to tell my Doctor, and she had told me about a psychiatrist, whom I had 4 sessions with. He just listened while I talked and talked, working myself up to a rant, but not accessing any of the deeper feelings behind it. I felt good to get this rage out, but afterwards the misery did not cease. The best advice he could give, was that I should go for long walks, get some sleep and eat healthily. Good advice too, apart from the fact that I didn’t want to go out, feeling safer indoors – I couldn’t sleep for worrying – and had absolutely no appetite whatsoever.

My girlfriend, who was studying psychotherapy at the time, got Jimmy’s details from one of her teachers, and I gave him a call. His voice exuded calm as we spoke briefly, and I made an appointment to see him.

Over the course of 5 sessions, during our discussions, Jimmy created such an atmosphere of safety and trust, that it was wonderful to slowly, gently coax answers out of me. Working backwards in time, and by slowly talking, asking, and probing me about my feelings and myself (both emotionally and physically at any given moment in time), we worked together, eventually turning my life-experiences around in order to see them as a) not my fault, and b) as possibilities to learn about myself. I learned that there was nothing wrong with the way things had turned out – that there was nothing wrong in the way I felt – and that I could open myself completely and find out what REALLY had happened to my thoughts, my worries, and my psyche.

The journey, albeit backwards, went thus: I found out that my “best” childhood friend had been jealous of the kind attention his own mother gave to me, and bullied me accordingly, whilst simultaneously being a friend to me. I responded by “cooperating beyond my abilities” so that I wouldn’t lose his friendship, and found myself in the tortuous position of later self-loathing and guilt because of it. This dispelled those feelings and left me understanding him, instead of hating him, and myself.

We also discussed conflicts with bosses in various past jobs. I found out (through analysing my physical and emotional reactions while I recounted these memories) that these issues stemmed from yet earlier situations that I had found myself in, having their foundation in a female teacher, who bullied me at Primary School, when I was 6 years old. Going through the feelings surrounding this (again, both physical and emotional), using empty-chair techniques and breathing exercises, I finally had the chance to give her a “piece of my mind” – something that I had wanted to do for years (and it felt good too!). I realised, too, that the by-product of this bullying had also affected my way of “survival” in later life. This manifested itself by me wanting authority figures, or those in a position of power (or partners, or friends for that matter) to “like me” – whilst simultaneously despising them, and being completely miserable about myself, deep down, with all the “false me” connotations that that contained.

More excavation into my feelings and emotions brought me to understand what I had been doing all along – protecting my inner child, a lovely but shy boy, who I visualised as hiding behind my legs, exactly as I did, all those years ago in the supermarket, when I was with my parents, as they chatted to someone they knew. After examining my thoughts about him (my inner child), I could finally visualise him playing freely on the floor, not hiding anymore.

In 5 sessions with Jimmy, I had excavated a great deal of my life, and every time I left the sessions, I felt lighter than air. At that point, I felt also that it was time to take a break, having touched briefly on the biggest challenge for me, that of suddenly losing my Dad when I was 14, due to a blood clot in the heart.

A few months later, I re-convened with Jimmy for 3 sessions, and “went for it”. I knew it was going to be tough, because I had bottled up this sorrow for 27 years, building “survival strategies” around it and removing myself from situations when things got too much. I had also developed a sense of self-control over it in order to stop myself getting upset – all the things that made me feel even worse and didn’t deal with the problem at all, which meant, of course, total avoidance of the issue. I was simply too scared to “open that box”.

Working with the empty-chair technique, breathing exercises and a picture of my Dad, we worked through the feelings surrounding my Dad’s death, and I talked about his life, as well as about my life at that time. In addition, how I felt about the whole thing and what had happened to me since that day. It was tough, especially when Jimmy asked me to be my Dad, and asked me to give myself advice, as he would have given it to me. This was ground breaking for me: Tough, yes, but immensely liberating, because when he died in 1986, there was no talk in the UK about psychotherapeutic support – we had to just “put on a brave face and deal with it” – and “let time do the rest”. I had waited so long to say the things I said that day.

With Jimmy’s guidance, I felt I have finally been able to steer my sorrow – something that had had a knock-on effect on who I was, and the way I interacted with people from that time onwards. The most important thing for me was to hear that it was OK to feel bad; that it was OK to feel sorrow. I mentioned to Jimmy that I wanted to say goodbye to my sorrow, and his answer I will never forget: It is not about saying goodbye to it, he said. “It’s about saying hello to it, and goodbye to it, and hello, and goodbye: Each time it comes and goes, accept that it’s there, because this has happened to you in your life and there’s nothing that can change it, only the way you perceive it. This will help you in dealing with it when it comes again”. This blew my mind completely. Of course, he was right. It’s all really so simple. But when you’re in it, you can’t see it yourself.

My time with Jimmy was a major step forward to my current state of balance: balance in my head and my heart. Because of this, I feel much more prepared to take on the challenges of life, both professionally and personally. It has filled me with new confidence, and is leading to new paths of self-awareness, self-compassion and an understanding of myself I had, before meeting Jimmy, never thought possible. It has also made me more aware of trusting my body and the way it feels in situations, rather than my head and my thoughts with their constant analysing. Some things just are – they do not always have to be understood at all. Thinking along these lines has chilled me out immensely. I feel I can better tackle awkward conflicts or misunderstandings in a working situation, whereas before I would spend 3 months analysing it to death. I have become much better in putting myself in other’s shoes and thinking about why they did what they did, whilst simultaneously not being so choked up about it, or sucked into their lives and energies. Earlier I would have taken it much more personally – now it’s like, not really so important at all. Probably the most important thing is that I’ve learned to hold onto myself and understand who I am.

The trust and safety Jimmy creates and the way he listens without judgement is so important to good therapy, and he possesses all those qualities (and more) in abundance. I would not hesitate to talk with Jimmy again if I need to get things “straightened out”, and seriously cannot recommend him highly enough.

  • Thanks Jimmy

Thank you, man! It was equally amazing and full of learning for me to participate in your journey and witness your transformation. It may sound corny, but it was an honor for me to help you through these processes.

Cheers, J.







At være ubetydelig – af Jimmy Hansen


Af Jimmy Hansen

Der var engang, jeg følte, at jeg var bedre end andre mennesker. Det var dengang, jeg blev optaget som jagerpilot i det danske forsvar og skulle flyve hurtige fly. Da jeg senere fløj som civilpilot i udlandet, havde jeg samme fornemmelse. At når jeg hang deroppe i luften et sted over det nordlige USA og skulle lande i en lufthavn, var der jordpersonalet, som tog sig af flyene, og så var der os piloter og ikke mindst mig, som var lidt højere på strå.

Jeg er ikke sikker på, hvor ideen blev født hos mig. Måske på flyveskolen, da vi som nyoptagede jagerpilotaspiranter blev fortalt, at vi var cremen af den danske ungdom, fordi vi havde klaret det igennem nåleøjet. Tanken var der nemlig ikke i gymnasiet. Men det er vistnok også lige meget. Den sad der i hvert fald. Ideen om bedreværd. Og det fik enorme konsekvenser for mig. Jeg svævede lidt højere end alle andre og var bedrevidende på snart sagt alle livets forhold. Men en sommerdag i 1989 ændrede alting sig. Livet blev smidt så kraftigt i hovedet på mig, at jeg gik ned med flaget. Nervesammenbrud. I min bil på vej hjem fra et flyvejob. Højt at flyve og dybt at falde kan man vel sige. For jeg skammede mig så meget over denne psykiske svaghed og episode, at jeg ikke sagde noget til nogen. Ingen. Og derfra flyttede skammen ind i mig som fast rejsemakker. Og sammen med ideen om bedreværd kom de to tilstande til at spille en form for bordtennis i mit sind. Fra det grandiose til det selvudslettende. Det var på det tidspunkt, jeg begyndte at få fornemmelsen af at miste mit eget fodfæste.

Det gjorde jeg så også, og i kølvandet fulgte mange års fortvivlelse og søgning efter mening. Men heldigvis fandt jeg den. Meningen. Og hvor underligt det nok kan lyde, så handlede en af de vigtigste fakler i den forbindelse om at erkende, hvor ubetydelig jeg er. Selvfølgelig vil min familie og venner begræde mit endeligt, skulle det ske i morgen, men ellers vil livet, tilværelsen og samfundet, som vi kender det, ikke ændre sig blot det mindste, når jeg takker af. Ikke en tøddel. Og da den erkendelse antog en inderlig resonans hos mig, ændrede mit liv sig. Jeg blev nysgerrig på viden og indså, hvor lidt jeg rent faktisk vidste. Jo højere jeg tidligere havde skræppet, desto mindre vidende var jeg – egentlig. Jeg blev også nysgerrig på mennesker. Måske det er en af grundene til, at jeg trives så godt i mit job som behandler.

Men nok vigtigst af alt blev jeg levende. Og ikke blot en ide om det. Når jeg i dag i vores vinterbadeklub på Islands Brygge falder i snak med en anden vinterbader om stort eller småt, klukler jeg indeni. For livet udspiller sig lige der. Lige midt i udvekslingen af ord og latter og energier. Det samme gælder, når jeg spiser frokost med min mor. Eller med en ven eller veninde. At det er øjeblikkene, der momentant opstår, som er det levende. Som er livet. Det er ikke den selvreflekterende vurdering af mig selv eller andre i kølvandet på et møde. Jo, det kan da være fint nok, men når man som jeg bagved mine problematikker har været dybt angst for at mærke og leve livet, er det en lise bare at være. Hverken mere eller mindre.


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Livet i sidste uge – mening i et kapitalistisk vækstorienteret hamsterhjul


Uge 31 2015 – mening i et kapitalistisk vækstorienteret hamsterhjul 

En af de ting, der rørte mig mest i sidste uge, var et interview, jeg hørte på P1 af en professor i filosofi og økonomi fra CBS, som hævdede, at mange mennesker mister mening i det her kapitalistisk vækstorienterede samfund og anførte to forklaringer som årsag hertil. Den ene, at vi gældsætter os til op over begge ører og bruger hele livet på at forsøge at blive gældfri i en form for endeløst hamsterhjul. Den anden, om ligestilling, og hvordan vi er blevet uafhængige af hinanden. At det faktum, at vi ikke længere har brug for hinanden på den måde, vi tidligere havde, skaber manglende tilhørsforhold og identifikationsproblemer.

Begge pointer bragede ind i personlige problemstillinger hos mig og fik mig ud på lidt af en refleksiv og nostalgisk rejse. Så hvad er mening for mig? At høre til. At have en god økonomi. At grine mindst en gang om dagen. At have en fornemmelse for, at jeg har mulighed for at præge mit liv i den retning, der er i overensstemmelse med mine behov. At have et godt sexliv. At have gode venner og veninder. At min familie har det godt. At have et job, jeg værdsætter. Og at have et håb på vegne af store emner såsom klima, miljø, fattigdom, seksuel frihed, racemæssig ligeværdighed.

Og altså også at hilse på katte, danse og gå til kunstudstillinger, som følgende billeder og videoer illustrerer.

Den her vilde kat på Amager Fælled har ingen traumer. Eller den aner ikke, hvad angst er. Når man som fodgænger kalder på den, kommer den ivrigt traskende ud fra det høje græs og spadserer målrettet hen mod en, lægger sig på ryggen, spinder og venter (utålmodigt) på at bliver aet.

I går trådte jeg ned i Cisternerne ved Søndermarken – ud for Zoologisk Have. For en flad halvtredser kan man se deres udstilling, hvor vand, musik og dunkel belysning taler sammen..

Der var karmafest på Bryggen i sidste uge. Det var der andre end June og jeg, som havde fået færten af. Faktisk var der udsolgt, så vi var (rigtig) mange, som ikke kunne komme ind. Men det blev der rådet bod på foran selve spisehuset, hvor der blev spillet højt musik og danset igennem.

Og så lige et radikalt stemningsskift. Jeg elsker meditation. Nogle gange i stilhed, andre gange i naturen og atter andre gange med skøn, afslappet musik som det følgende.

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