Some things I believe about psychotherapy, life and healing

  • Most of the things that we believe will make us happy won’t; true healing involves giving up the insistence that we know what’s best.
  • Darkness is part of the human experience. To become comfortable with our own darkness is part and parcel of growing up.
  • Much of our psychological and emotional pain comes from denying aspects of ourselves that we believe are bad or shameful.
  • The most difficult parts of our lives have the most to teach us. Psychotherapy can help us reframe awful or terrible experiences so that we can find the hidden blessings underneath our pain (believe it or not, blessings are there).
  • A good relationship with your therapist does not substitute for you living your life. A good therapist should work him or herself out of a job, that is, should assist you in applying new concepts and ideas to your life in a meaningful way.
  • When we have traumatic experiences, the mind will tend to split off aspects of the experience (thoughts, memories, body feelings) in order to survive. This is natural and important for surviving very difficult circumstances. At some point, however, those broken and split-off pieces should be brought back within. This is part of healing.
  • The worst thing about healing is that it requires taking responsibility for your life. To be sure, people are very comfortable blaming others. What people don’t get is that blaming others is directly related to feelings of unhappiness. If you are unhappy, ask yourself: who am I blaming right now? That should give you a clue about where your mind is.
  • The reason people don’t heal is that they aren’t ready to forgive.
  • Forgiveness is a process, but one that can and will transform everything in your life.
  • If people don’t get in touch with their rage, hatred and darkness, they will never find the love that exists underneath it.
  • The most common fallacy about relationships, but one that nearly everyone falls for: that the person you are with is there to make you happy. That’s the biggest of life’s illusions. Relationships are satisfying insofar as one is willing to withdraw from the insistence that their partner (or child) should be a certain way.
  • True healing means learning to accept, from the heart, what is. That includes the bad stuff.
  • True spirituality means becoming fully human.
  • A truly mature adult has forgiven his or her parents. That’s pretty much the only way. Your second birth happens as soon as you realize that your parents are not your parents, but are simply people, just like you. This cannot be merely an intellectual exercise, but one you experience in your guts, in the deepest part of yourself.
  • The people you hate are your greatest teachers.
  • The wisest words that people are capable of saying: “I don’t know” and “I need help”
  • Life happens in the mind – what we believe, feel, think and the way that we behave is all generated and modulated by the mind. You don’t live your life in the world. You live it in your mind. Getting back to the mind is to find your way to the source of true power.
  • To allow yourself to be stretched beyond your limits is to let life show you what it needs to show you.

artwork: Van Gogh, Landscape with Snow