The rookie cop pulled his squad car up to the group of people standing on the sidewalk and rolled down his window.
“Hey,” he barked, “there’s no loitering in this neighborhood! Move along.” The people grumbled and began to dissipate.
The policeman turned to his partner and asked, “How’d I do?”
“Pretty impressive,” the partner responded. “Particularly because it’s a bus stop.”
Laws restrict loitering because it’s thought to be a nuisance or associated with crime – prostitution, drug dealing, “casing,” panhandling, scams, stalking, harassment, etc. But what about in therapy?
E-H Therapy calls on several micro-skills to activate and cultivate presence toward illumination, understanding, and ultimately greater freedom. Staying with or lingering in experience presumes and, consequently, promotes presence.
Staying with stands opposite moving on. Clients may move on from the insignificant, but, notably, they may also move on from the terrifying or terrible as self-protection. Moving on then stops the threatening. However, it also stunts possibility and promises repetition.
On the other hand, staying with is continuing. We invite our clients to continue with their experience. “Maybe you could stay with that feeling for a moment.” “Why don’t we hold that thought before moving on?” Lingering promotes understanding and opens possibilities.
In therapy, then, loitering isn’t a crime or nuisance. Instead, it’s an integral part of a transformational journey.
Links to Related Resources and Blog Posts:
Read all the posts on Micro-Skills here on EHI’s blog.
Read all the Existential Moment series posts on EHI’s blog.