How Long Would It Take to Eat a Whale?

In my clinical practice as a therapist, I observe a great disparity in the pace of clients healing from their psychological wounds.

Generally, a lot struggle with patience. With the waiting for the process to bear fruit.

“How long is this going to be?,” asked Rolly during a session. 

He was recovering from the grief and emotional consequences of his wife’s infidelity.

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Author John Monbourquette, a noted Catholic psychotherapist, had his share of impatient clients who get agitated over the length of time to become “free.”

Monbourquette would ask them a question: “How long do you think it would take you to eat a whale?”

At first, his question confused his impatient clients. But soon, they’d get the message.

They would have to “eat” the whale one mouthful at a time.

It’s a guard against hastiness. 

Dr. Carl Jung, founder of Analytical Psychology, used the metaphor of the fisherman. 

If the fisherman doesn’t load his boat properly and overloads it, he is in danger of sinking.

On the other hand, if he doesn’t pack enough load into the boat, he’s just wasting time and energy.