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be your own therapist

puzzleOver the years I’ve hired the skills of a therapist/counsellor on many occasions: in moments of panic/crisis when I hungered for clarity, also to seek help in sorting out some of life’s basic and less urgent questions. Like plumbers and dentists, some therapists I found to be intelligent, helpful, and creative–others restrained by set methods and narrow worldviews. Not always an instant match, but powerful when we clicked.

Out of this experience grew a familiarity with counselling skills and interventions. There’s something about the intensity and honesty of therapeutic relationships that continues to attract me. My meditation practice and hospice work are embued with these qualities.

To help dig below the obvious explanations for my recent accidents (see yesterday’s blog), I turned to a book on the Hakomi Method which draws on eastern philosophy and western psychotherapy. The chapter on Trusting points the way:

Lao tsu believed that in addition to being subtle, mysterious, competent and responsive, the ancient masters were characterized by patience. They would remain unmoving until the right action became apparent. Therapy requires good timing. Timing is inevitably ruined when the therapist feels a need to fill space, to do something just to produce more visible action.

“If we are mindfully exploring some issue, it can be like giving birth. … The art is to sense when something organic should be trusted, and when something has becomes disconnected from the thread and needs attention.  … Much of therapy is an act of trust. When things seem muddy, we can be patient if we believe they will eventually become clear.”

source: Johanson, G. & Kurtz, R. (1991). Grace unfolding: psychotherapy in the spirit of the tao-te ching. New York: Belltower, p.55.

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