Psychotherapy or Soulherapy
If we break a bone, most of us seek medical intervention. With patience and care our suffering lessens and the bone usually heals. Our body is healthy again.
Why is it, then, that when we are suffering with an emotional issue, we feel we should hide it? We should be able to sort our mental wellbeing out all on our own. Therein lies the problem. We can see a bone. We cannot see a feeling and, after all, nobody can see into our souls. If we do not seek out therapy for our broken bone, chances are the bone will not heal so well; and it will continue to cause us trouble. Is it not also the case with our emotional difficulties? They can fester too. In the depths of our soul.
And yet, we resist. We limp on with them bubbling under the surface, hindering us in our daily lives. Why suffer when there is a solution? Because of one little word: Stigma. A little word with a big meaning. The stigma of psychotherapy or counselling.
Replacing the word “psycho” with “soul” infuses the therapy with a different meaning. It is also more in line with what we do as therapists; two souls connecting for the good of one.
The human condition is such that we make mistakes. And we are going to continue making mistakes, until Kingdom come. That is a fact; we are tumbling off our pedestals all over the place. When we do plunge into murky waters, we take a sneaky look around, hide our wet armour, and reinstate ourselves right back on our high and mighty seat, hoping nobody noticed our fall.
Where did we learn that we must be perfect?
I know of one client who was seeing his therapist for over two years and he never told a soul for the first twenty months that he was having therapy. “The shame of it” he would mutter, his head bowed. This is a client who spent most of his life apologizing for his existence.
So, what can we do, as therapists, to help our clients overcome their shame and their embarrassment, and to embrace their humanness? We can start with ourselves. Are we actually practising what we are preaching? Are we able to acknowledge to our clients that we too can make mistakes, that we can sometimes get it wrong? The best work I have done with my clients has often come about as a result of acknowledging my own inadequacies, my own humanness. Our task is not to set ourselves up to be the perfect, unfailing therapists; this is a false concept. Its like trying to build a sandcastle at the waters edge. Water will seep in and wash the sand away. Life events will seep in and wash our perfection away. Our clients will respect us more and be able to relate to us on a very real level if we can admit we sometimes get it wrong.
And if we are good enough, surely that’s good enough?