Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pot Shot

I spotted this at a Wicklow garden where there this giant clock was part of a collection of salvage material. I wonder where the hands are now? The question of time is always important to psychotherapists and "we have to finish now" is a typical end of session closure. Too often it's at a most productive moment, yet holding the material over until next week can also be productive. It's always a balance. Clocks are very important to us all and it's not only psychotherapists who have issues about time. There are "punching in" clocks in factories and offices and even if there are none, we work to the clock. It is said that citizens who took over Paris in 1871 during the Franco-Prussian war took pot shots at the clocks - because they regarded them as exercising a tyrannical control over their lives. They wanted to be rid of the constrictions of time that their employers enforced. In psychotherapy, time is a boundary and it is also related to work. The client must use his or her time productively and it is up to the psychotherapist to encourage that duty. Psychotherapy offers an ethical space, where the client is not invited to "waste" money or indeed time in fruitless labour. This would be what William Morris regarded as "useless toil". So when I see the clock without hands, it is saying something to me about the place of time in our lives. Time is there to be used and in some sense we would all like to shoot the clock.