TALKS AT COTTAGE HOSPITAL ON THE MEANINGS AND PRACTICE OF PSYCHOTHERAPY


2016:  The Evolution of Countertransference


2014:  The Life Forces that Address Us in Psychotherapy

2012:  The Arrival of a Person’s Destiny  at Certain Moments in Psychotherapy


2011:  Therapy as Seen Through the Eyes of Poets


2010:  Psychotherapy as Retrieval of Sacred Dimensions of Self


2009:  
Aliveness and Deadness in Psychotherapy


2008:  The Sacred Core of the Work



An Introduction to these video-taped public lectures

This lecture series focuses on certain fundamental issues which arise when one pursues a psychotherapy oriented to reaching a person’s essence.

In addition to what a person may say he or she wants from psychotherapy, there is something else, a quality of life and being that often attempts to surface and embody in a course of treatment. Many names have been given to these life energies: spirit, essence, being, soul, the Guest, the true self. But whatever they are called in most of us they live as shadows, existing only as kernels of potential life, safely encased in shells to ward off further damage.

Thus beyond a person’s usual personality is a defended second self, a second realm that may cautiously attempt to reveal its presence at the intimate edge of meetings with a therapist in hopes of having at last the chance to be celebrated and lived. A patient will at times risk living toward a therapist what heretofore had to be vigorously protected and hence unlived. Nevertheless these spontaneous gestures of aliveness are then frequently erased by powerful sources of resistance to their emergence. It’s as if we have inner guardians that act to reestablish the “safety” of at least a known living-death in the form of our usual personality.

The poet Shelley spoke of a “film of familiarity” that sticks to our life and acts as a veil between our self and who else we are, preventing contact with the new and unexpected, especially the presencings of invisible guests that may choose to enter the sacred space between therapist and patient. Thus what I as a therapist try to stay alert to is what is alive in a session, that rare, random descent of what shines in a word that has just impacted me.

What then is asked of a therapist who devotes his or her work to helping others bring into existence a life that feels real to them? To address this we turn to poets and other artists in addition to psychotherapists for their help in entering a certain relational reality with a patient such that in that psychic space between us his or her life-spirit attempts to presence.

To sum up, when a therapist attempts to meet with hospitality the usually imprisoned life-forces, not-yet-lived-images, and encased spiritual realities, such contact also impacts the therapist in a deep way and thereby alters profoundly both members of the treatment dyad.




 

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