I believe that all people are born gifted. They have innate talent and intelligence. The hope is that they have a caring, protective, encouraging environment in which to grow and develop their talents and intelligence. We hope they have the freedom to explore their passions, interests, and loves and in so doing, experience centeredness within themselves. Unfortunately, life sometimes throws roadblocks and challenges which keep us from experiencing our own strength, love, passion, and centeredness.
I see therapy as a way of coming to understand our journey, having our journey make sense. I hope we discover together the treasures of a person’s talent, intelligence, passions, loves. I hope these awaken and the treasure of the self is discovered.
When we feel good within ourselves and accept the goodness of ourselves, we are able to share that with others in friendships, family life, and romantic life and work life.
Everyone is born gifted philosophy
Everyone is born gifted. We discover our giftedness in relation to others. This is how we grow up. We feel a sense of love, protection and within that love and protection we discover ourselves. Sometimes we might become angry about the protection. It might feel to inhibiting or constrictive and we become angry and resistant to the protection. This is a normal human reaction. We get over it.
What if the protection does not feel like love? What if there really is no protection. What if we really do not experience love? What happens is that we adjust. We develop ways of being that are not our true selves. We do not become ourselves.
We are not talking about the inevitable small failures of our parents and caretakers. No one is perfect, but if we feel an overall sense of being loved and protected we can tolerate, even grow from small failures by the ones we idealize and depend on.
If the failures are too many or too big, however, we conform ourselves to try to compensate for them. In conforming ourselves we are forming ourselves but without a sense on authenticity. Not living our authentic selves, forming or conforming ourselves to the deficits of others leaves us empty, without our natural energy, depressed. It may also leave us anxious that the protection, safety we want will not be there.
We take these patterns or conforming and the consequent feelings with us into life. We relate through them. Sometimes what we have formed makes it difficult to relate to others, in general or in specific situations. Sometimes the way we have learned to related keeps us from the experience of being authentic and true.
Psychotherapy in whatever form is an exploration into the ways we have formed ourselves. It gives us a new opportunity to discover ourselves in the midst of a protective, caring relationship. Psychotherapy becomes a narrative of life, one in which we can discover the original giftedness that we have always already been. In the process we can feel less anxious, less depressed, more understood, and able to understand.
This is my undergirding philosophy of all forms of therapy. Each one approaches the goal a little differently depending on what is most troubling when someone begins. The goal is to end up in the same place; becoming more self-accepting, less depressed, less anxious, more understood, and able to understand.
More on technique to follow
When Gandhi formed what he believed were seven deadly things that were destructive. The antidote to the destruction was a standard of our humanity or better a standard of our true selves. Living out of our true, authentic self will be generative, creative, and harmonious. I do not want to focus on what is destructive in this short essay, but on what is generative, creative, and harmonious. We want to live out of and through the real self.
A person who is living out of the real self would incorporate these seven standards. They will have conscience, character, willingness to work, sense of morality, willingness to sacrifice, principles, love of humanity. When we have not lived in a place of basic protection and caring we may have not developed these standards within ourselves. If we have developed them but live in a stressful time where protection and caring have been lost, we may also forget the standards within ourselves. In psychotherapy we hope to develop or rediscover these standards within ourselves. They do lead us to happiness.
In the development of conscience, we develop a sense of responsibility to others. We care for how others feel and for their well-being. We first care for those closest to us but as conscience grows out sense of caring and responsibility flows to all, no discrimination. We care about everyone’s welfare.
In development of character we develop a sense of kindness, fairness, dignity, and contribution. We are kind and not exploitative. We are concerned with fairness for all and respect the dignity of all. We are willing and relish the opportunity to contribute to the welfare of all.
We are willing and, in fact enjoy work that contributes to the common good. If fact it is in such work that we continually create and find our true selves. We are not willing to simply take something for nothing but look for ways to contribute.
In his book, Moral Sentiment, Adam Smith (considered the founder of capitalism) explained that the success of an economic system is its moral foundation. In becoming and discovering ourselves we become moral in that we treat each other and ourselves with benevolence, service, and common good. The basis of morality becomes actions and ways of living that produce the space for ourselves and others to live with conscience and character.
We have to consider our humanity in creating. The goal of life is the become more human. In this sense psychotherapy should be a map for this route. Things, technologies, pleasures may all take us from this road. We need to get back on it and hopefully psychotherapy is helping us do that.
In becoming our true selves, we also develop a willingness to sacrifice. We become active in giving time for the benefit of others, working, even sacrificing economically for the good of others. In sacrificing we also come to understand that living out this part of ourselves is good for ourselves.
Finally, we live out of principle. Without principle there is no true north, nothing that endures. We are not made for the marketplace. We are not made for the pursuit of power, but on living out what is true. Do we believe that in principle we are created equal and deserving of compassion, kindness, and fairness? If we have grown in principle, we do.
In psychotherapy we are deepening our commitment to work, our conscience, our character, morality, care for humanity, sense of sacrifice, and principle.