‘Love is an existence, not a reaction, not an activity. It is not a thought, or an emotion. It is as substantial, as real as Essence is, because it is Essence.’ (Diamond Heart Book II. p157, A.H. Almaas)
In the course of my journey, I have come to appreciate the simple truth that a personal, relational field of love and reverence for the client as ‘Thou’ (Buber, 1958) is central and crucial for the healing process in psychotherapy.
One can have trained and studied the full myriad of brilliant models of psychotherapy and therapeutic approaches, but without the presence of love and a fundamental respect for the experience and essence of the other with whom we meet, I doubt if benefit can result from sessions, offered ostensibly as ‘therapeutic’.
As I will articulate in Chapter one, I believe we are constituted as sentient beings with an essential self, which is distinct from our personality structure. With the help of a healing therapeutic relationship, we can become more fully ourselves, and so, increasingly free and available for the fulfilment of our inherent potential; and for connection with others and the ground of being beyond our physical bodies, of which we are an indivisible part.
My understanding of the practice of an ‘I-Thou’ attitude (Hycner and Jacobs,1995), is of a faithful, reverential trust in the divinity and potential of the other, irrespective of appearance and presentation. This attitude enables and supports profound contact, from which can flow up from the deep, those matters which need loving, compassionate attention.
In this way, liberating exploration can take place, of imprints, introjects and intrapsychic and relational adaptations, which stand as impediments to our self-realisation, connection with other beings, and the fulfilment of our individual and collective majesty.
In such sessions particular conceptual models, approaches, techniques and supportive strategies we have learned over the years, can emerge and occur to us, from within the dialogue and our process of ‘imaginal thinking’ (Sardello, 1999), as helpful to the person at this time in her/his journey. In this paper I will describe some I have found to be of use. It is critical that these are resonant with, and simply in the service of the movement of the soul towards expansion and greater freedom.
Love and reverence are primary words for the practice of psychotherapy; and brilliant theories, concepts and plans need to be understood as secondary, and, in the service of the individual and collective soul. An identification with any modality and concept (including the essential self) which takes precedence over love and reverence will restrict the work.
In this way, I have found both personally and professionally, that psychotherapy as a formalised process of deep contact, sharing and exploration can affect healing and transformation, which can be spoken of in alchemical terms.