There are few things more satisfying in relationships than being "met". "Met" in this context is more than a friendly hello while waving across the street, a passing comment to your regular butcher or polite phrases to a co-worker and equiries about their weekend. To be trully "met" is to have ones thoughts, feelings and soul find resonace in another. When I can voice my passions and see the light in the eyes of another who is nodding along. Being "met" is when I do not need words to feel understood, yet I can use many words, gestures, artwork, sounds, dance or whatever to explore what it is I am really exeriencing. And in this I am not alone. One other is along side, and in this exploration is am
I am been pondering what it is about therapy that maintains my interest. Am I changing the world? Perhaps in a small way, but I do not want to be a politician or activist. Create more justice in the world? Maybe so, but I do not wish the be an advocate for the poor as a lawyer or social worker. For me therapy is an encounter with the human condition, more aligned with art or theatre than charity work. It is the prospect of rich contact with another person, and in so doing, rich contact with myself as a human being that keeps me interested. Only as a therapist is every part of who I am potentially relavant and useful and as such the most alive and vital way of being I know.
The issue of shame is important in therapy. Shame is generally thought of as "the bad things I do", "that which embarasses me" or "that which I wish I had not done". At best it is generally thought of as the "impulse that stops me from doing bad things". Gestalt writer and therapist Robert Jordan speaks of shame as being ‘the perceived possibility that our desire and urges are not supported by those who are important to us’ (Lee, R. p 61 (1995) Gestalt and Shame from British Gestalt Journal, Vol 4 #1). Thus when we feel embarassed or ashamed, it is because our present wants and desires are unsupported by our immediate environment, i.e. those who are present. We feel emabarasssed or ashamed when we express romantic interest towards some one who dies not feel the same way, anger towards someone who will belittle our needs or vulnerability towards someone who cannot deal with the fact they have hurt us.
The solution to shame is support. If we see something special in another person that illicits our romontic interest, are we not honouring that person by expressing our interest, even if they are not able to respond in kind or accept our interest graciously? If another person agrees with what we see in that person, does that not reinforce our perception and the beauty of our expression of interest? Is not our anger as expression of our respect for justice? Our vulnerability a revelation of the significance of another's impact? Not every want or desire will be consistantly met, but with enough ongoing support, even unmet needs have honour.
Renewal Therapies Australia was established in order to offer quality psychotherapeutic and counselling services. We believe in promoting emotional, psychological and spiritual health to all. Our practice is informed by unconditional positive regard for our clients, a respect for the inherant wisdom of every human being's choices and their natural inclination towards health and growth. In subsequent posts we will explore more of the philosophy, skills and techniques that underly our practice.
Gestalt psychotherapy is realtionally focussed; that is the primary healing, growth and change comes not so much as a result of been taught a new technique or understanding of the world or the self. Instead, the experience of support within the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist enables change. With enough support, a human being can do almost anything, take on any challenge and fulfil their greatest potential. Much the same, when the cost of change is too high, support enables one to endure anything, until the time for change has come.