Creepy Capitalism and Resisting with picture books

When I was initially introduced to narrative therapy, I was all excited. Oh yes let’s bring out the alternate stories, lets ditch the capitalism, the dominant discourses and all.  Few months into my work with a narrative stance as I became more and more involved in my work with my clients a lot of interesting discoveries happened for me.

Loitering in therapy room had been an area where I came face to face with my own resistances. As much as I am intentional to loiter and really just be with those experiences, a part of me had been resisting to loiter. This part of me is the capitalist discourse which always makes me feel guilty if I am not staying with client’s concerns (problem stories). This part also comes in the way of my presence with my client and shows up as a rush, guilt and restlessness during therapeutic conversations. 

The recent library initiative for MHPs at Pause had been a great anchor through which I could navigate my ways of being and notice when capitalism creeps into the therapy room.  We have been keeping picture books in the therapy room as part of this initiative and it was interesting to notice how different clients responded to the idea of picture books. Our idea was to use books as an intervention (bibliotherapy) and explore possibilities of these interventions. But the capitalist idea perceives reading picture books as a leisure activity, an activity that is to be done when there is no *serious work* involved. When clients bring in this idea about picture books, I have been trying hard to resist and sometimes go into the conversations of exploring these ideas and where they come from, other times I do go with what is important for the client to discuss.

As I became aware of my bodily responses to capitalism, I tried to pay more attention to its tactics.  I began to notice that with some clients (mostly the old ones with whom I have done considerable work) it becomes easy to just be with anything that is showing up in that moment, loiter a lot and read books and indulge in reflecting a lot. However, with new clients it’s a bit of a challenge. When clients are coming from a space of let’s resolve issues first and not waste time in reading stories, I also respond to it with a rush. This is also the time when capitalism takes over me.

As I reflected on why it is easier to loiter around with older clients it occurred to me that those older clients have a sense of how therapy looks like, there is a lot of slowing down, they trust the space and sometimes just love coming back and sharing their own stories of resistance and are open to read and reflect.  When it comes to my new clients, there is a sense of urgency that brings them to therapy. Capitalist, Ableist ideas telling them to get fixed so that they can be more productive, so that they keep going etc. This urgency is what I want to resist. Because if we are building a community where people can come together and resist capitalist ideas of their own lives, then it is a daily struggle. Struggle involves me as a therapist to become aware of my own responses and continue to resist in tiny ways and build this space for my clients to feel okay talking about their so called *unimportant* events or indulge in leisure without feeling guilt.

For me, two tiny ways of resisting right now had been keeping books in my therapy room (books help me take a breath and slow down) and sitting in a room that is beside the kitchen (aroma of food is grounding and allows me to be present). 

What are your tiny ways of resisting capitalism?