Often when I am working with a new family the fact comes up that I (and other therapists at Evoke) spend two days of the week in the field. At this point I can usually hear anxiety and concern in their tone, "You only see my daughter or son for two days? What happens the other five days of the week?"
Each week I come into the field and, as I walk into the group, I usually have a number of dirty teenagers clustering around me. They approach at varying speeds and rates of enthusiasm, but almost without exception, they pause what they are doing to come over. I am their therapist and they want to talk to me and tell me about their week, yes. But I am also the letter carrier and Tuesdays are mail days—the one day of the week when therapists bring out letters to students from their parents and immediate familes.
The meaning that we ascribe to elements in our lives and experiences is powerful. Over half a century ago, Albert Ellis created an entire theory, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, discussing how we, as humans, ascribe meaning to an experience; that the way that we interpret it will give rise to the emotions we hold about it.
One of my favorite times of year in the desert is monsoon season. From mid-to-late summer there are almost daily thunderstorms and monsoons. The sky is wide enough that you can watch storm clouds roll toward you for an hour before they are overhead. The sky goes from bright and sunny to ominous and dark grey with a purplish tinge. Right before the rain hits everything seems to still, and then a slight breeze picks up that cues the downpour. The rain hits the ground with enough force that you can see tiny impact craters in the sand. The water often runs over sand and rock and creates washes as it flows downhill. Thunder and lightning crash and light up the sky in an elemental way that makes you very aware of your decision to be working outside.