I am often asked about this or that technique, powerful new method, or approach: does it work, should I try it, will it help to transform limited beliefs, deeply embedded trauma, unbearable emotions? Will it eliminate my vulnerability, increase my sense of self-worth, relieve the despair, soothe the anxiety?
In my experience, techniques do not heal. Relationship heals.
As nearly all of our somatic and emotional wounding arose in interpersonal contexts, it is best unwound, untangled, and metabolized within an attuned, empathic, relational container. This container is nonordinary, alchemical, and sacred, and weaved of strands of the heart.
The “technique” that the therapist, coach, practitioner, or counselor employs is much less important. There is nothing wrong of course with learning new techniques, but there is no activity that is more creative, wild, and revolutionary than attunement, presence, and love. These are not techniques, but are aspects of your true nature, luminous and longing to erupt and come alive here. They are already wired into the fabric and substance of what you are, uncaused and unproduced, and await recognition.
What you are is infinitely more powerful than any technique. You are the technique … each time you listen deeply, look at another with love in your eyes, speak words of kindness, allow them to matter to you, nourish and hold their experience, and attune to their inner world as it is …
… allow yourself to care about how they are making meaning of their lives, making sense of a crazy world; as you dare to see them not as an “object” arising in your experience—who might or might not be able to meet your needs or confirm your hopes and fears—but as an outrageously unique “subject” in their own right. And as you mirror back essence, offering cosmic permission for the ultimate discovery that who and what they are was never “unhealed.”
Based on their theoretical lens, different approaches will look to intervene at different levels of the spectrum, i.e. cognitive, affective, somatic, and behavioral. Each practitioner is going to have their bias. But when it’s all said and done, developmental trauma and other wounding arising out of an environment lacking in holding, mirroring, and empathic attunement is reorganized within an intersubjective field. Research in interpersonal neurobiology* has consistently shown us that neural circuitry is re-encoded within the context of such relational attunement.
While it is natural to become enamored with the latest “powerful” method, technique, and newly discovered strategy to catalyze healing, we can easily lose the forest for the trees, and forget that it is love that heals. Love is not a technique. What this “love” is must be uncovered within your own embodied field of presence, and inside the cells of your heart. It is unprecedented, unique, and relentlessly creative … just like you.
Your heart is not a technique. And love is the ultimate medicine.
*see the work of Schore, Siegel, Badenoch, Porges, Cozolino, van der Kolk and others in the Norton Series.
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