|Posted by Kimaya Crolla-Younger on December 11, 2014 at 9:10 AM|
As a psychotherapist and group facilitator for the last 15 years, it is my great privilege to guide my clients towards the fullness of their awakening. And I am both changed and enriched beyond measure in the process. There are many roads to the self and each person who comes to me will have their own level of willingness of how far they want to go along that road.
What I see as a big challenge for the therapist, is to not put our limitations on to our clients; but to employ our tools and frameworks in a way that facilitates growth and transformation, then letting them go as the beauty of the alchemical process unfolds in the client’s inner and outer life.
One area is diagnosis, particularly in, though not exclusively, the mental health realms. It can be helpful to receive a diagnosis, finally making sense to the group of symptoms and experiences that might be happening for us. But it is important not to make the diagnosis the destination, but a step along the way to…well, on the way to the discovery of greater choices and riches of who you really are. Diagnosis and labels tend to be unavoidably reductionist, and I do not see it helpful to try and fit ourselves into any one thing for too long, anyway.
An example during my psychotherapy training to illustrate, was when I had to shadow a psychiatrist during his ward rounds in a high level mental health institution where people had been sectioned. I would be there every Friday morning for three months, so I got to meet some of the same people each week over the course of my time there. What was clear to me was that the psychiatrist did not see himself in his patients in any way at all. Let me give you an example. There was one young man, l shall call him Aaron, in his early 20s. Aaron had been admitted through an unfortunate set of bad choices, leading him to feeling overwhelmed and having a psychotic episode, which I could see, he very quickly came out of. I felt a growing warmth and love for this young man, which I shared with the psychiatrist at the end of the ward round one week. ‘I’m sure the woman whom he hit over the head with an iron bar would disagree with you’. I challenged the psychiatrist, saying that this young man deserved love and positive regard as much as anyone else – his craziness and behaviour wasn’t the truth of his being, but simply behaviour and symptoms largely stemming from false beliefs, leading to poor choices. The psychiatrist wasn’t interested in what I had to say, only in keeping him in the limited box of crazy.
An example from my own life that has been an interesting learning for me, though was particularly disturbing and confusing at the time, was during my psychotherapy training, we were all reading a book about children who were neglected in a particular way and how irreparably damaged they were through lack of touch and other types of neglect. The words in this book were offered as fact and backed up by lots of research, and my colleagues were agreeing. But I knew differently, because I was one of those children in the book, and I wasn’t irreparably damaged, nor did I have the symptoms or behaviour mentioned in this book. So where did that leave me? Curious to really know the truth about what is possible in our human condition and the impact of our early lives, how this shapes us, and what choices to break free are really available in the discovery of our own keys out of the labyrinth of the disease of diagnosis and to cross the bridge to infinite possibility.
I invite you to come with me…