I worked with my client in her home office. My attention was drawn to a stack of old musty smelling cardboard boxes against the far right wall. I said, "Let's start here." There was a look in her face of dread. It was the look of resistance. I knew I'd picked the right place.
We sat on the floor and opened the first box. There were a lot of old journals that she wrote in high school over twenty years ago. She hadn't looked at them in many years. I asked if she wanted them or could she let them go. She seemed to shrink and tears filled her eyes. She said that she didn't know. I asked her to open one and read and see how she felt. She did. She looked even more sad. She said she wrote them at a very sad and depressed time of her life. She said it made her sad to look at them again.
I said it must have felt good at the time to express herself through her journals. Those memories probably made her want to hang onto the journals even though she didn't read them anymore, or had the desire to re-read them. She still seemed uncertain about what to do with the journals.
I had to take a different tactic. She had a black cat named "Huck" who was rubbing up against her leg. I said, "What about Huck? Do you like him or can we let him go?" She was startled. She said, "I want Huck!" I said, "That certainty you feel about Huck is the feeling when something is a part of your life. You don't doubt it. You don't have to think about it. You know."
She got it and tossed the journals.