My purpose is to present original, creative and helpful psychotherapeutic ideas. While “pessimistic” may seem a provocative or self-sabotaging quality, it is actually a facet of optimism. Just as a physician would harm a patient by ignoring injury, and helps the best by facing the worst, so must a therapist know that we grow from roots bent by psychic injuries in our past. Optimism must be based in this reality, not on a cloud of wishful thinking.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
A generalization, or summary #2: Stress the paradox*
Do you think
people are living on the plane of their true self in their adult lives?I am certain they are not.But this certainty comes from my belief that
I am attuned to the defensive front and that adult psychological distress is akin
to the Princess and the Pea**: Like the sensitive maiden who is discomforted by
a pea buried beneath forty mattresses, we are exercised, restless in the
present because of embedded injuries in the past.They and their meaning are buried and we are
not with them: We are dissociated from ourselves.
There is, then,
this truer world, different from the one where we live, think and dream.We come to therapy because we want our
injuries healed.But our injuries have become our
life: our personality, pleasures, beliefs.Our personality may be accommodating or driven or vigilant; our
pleasures self-medicative; our beliefs a major part of our ego and compass in
life.Do we really want to change these
or erase them from our self?
So we are not
our real self in therapy, and we do not want to change our predominant self.What is there left to do?We must stress – put stress on – the paradox of
healing, which is to reclaim more and more of our true self but never too much.I am not afraid of reaching Primal*** depths,
where a middle-aged person, now a child, cries for his mother.What I am afraid of is one’s
feeling-knowledge that he never became a living person because he faked a
viable self from the beginning.Who has
this awful truth?Let’s hope we never
the third dimension of this paradox is love, our intense presence with the
client that leaves more than an imprint – an appendage in the person, or
holding his shoulder or hand through the dark night, and for years to
come.A client recently said he felt it
would be God’s terrible goof if we were the only life in the universe.A humiliating loneliness.Knowing there are others out there would be a
critically necessary solace.Similarly,
knowing someone has joined us in our lone boat in the world, who is there for
us, may be enough.
This is the
three-sided therapy that, I believe, is the only kind that helps.