Sunday, October 11, 2020

On psychotherapy

I’ve been asked recently how I work with a person in therapy. Of course, each situation is unique and in large part a matter of (al)chemical interaction and our intersecting worlds of emotional, somatic, and imaginal experience.

If someone is struggling with trauma, drowning or flooded by unbearable feeling, we build resource in the nervous system, bottom-up by way of metabolizing sensation in the body, recognizing micro-moments of dysregulation and exploring ways of coming back into ventral. Safety and connection. I’m here with you. We will do this… together.

With borderline or narcissistic organization, we build structure in the sense of self, where there have been profound deficits and consistent empathic failure, a seemingly infinite number of relational ruptures with little or no repair.

In these situations, we would not lead with transpersonal work such as active imagination, shadow, or resting in open awareness, but first build the requisite safety or structure, and repair the pathways of relational misattunement.

For someone relatively regulated and more neurotically organized, we would explore the transpersonal bands, with an emphasis on uncovering and shifting one’s center of gravity into the embodied experience of open awareness… focusing not as much in establishing resource or emphasizing safety.

But underneath it all, it’s clear I know little about the soul, how it heals and unfolds. The person in front of me is vast and majestic and I can only stand in awe at the power and beauty of one human heart as it longs to return home. To attune to and be a companion within that level of mercy and grace.

In the end, in my experience, it’s not techniques that heal. It’s love that heals. Techniques are fine, but it is the relationship between two nervous systems and the love that infuses that which allows the techniques to come alive, if and when they do. Love first, techniques second.

The nature of what this love is must be discovered moment to moment as it emerges in that vessel where we dwell together and is the neural and spiritual scaffolding that opens a light into the darkness.

Photo by Adrian Campfield

Learn more about my new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - and read Editorial Reviews here. For a full list of online retailers, see the book's page at my website here

To learn more about and purchase my previous book - The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You - please visit the book's page here