Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice - Selection of Patients
3. THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
I. The Selection of Patients
Paragraph 1. “Everyone who is sent to you is a patient of yours.” (1:1) In the Course Manual for Teachers, it states: “Therefore, the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation.” (M-3.1:5-6) So both the Psychotherapy Booklet and the Manual for Teachers include the idea that people are sent to a teacher or therapist as part of God’s plan, and that this plan makes no missteps.
We have heard this idea many times before, but do we believe it? Do we consider every person who comes across our path as sent to us by God for a particular reason? How could this be? If it is true (and Jesus says it is, so it must be), then every little detail on this earth and in this dream, is orchestrated and scripted by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as One. So when it is said that God is omniscient (all-knowing), think about the vastness of that idea.
Thus everyone is your patient, but it would be an error to assume that you know what to offer everyone who comes. This is not up to you to decide, any more than it is up to you to decide who comes. There is a tendency to be overwhelmed by this idea, and possibly even to think of this as a sacrifice. Yet, remember, God knows nothing of sacrifice, therefore neither do you. It is an honor to serve in God’s plan thus.
Paragraph 2. “Who, then, decides what each brother needs?” (2:1) Surely it is not you. You do not yet recognize who your brother really is. You do not even know who you really are or what you need, how then could you decide that for someone else? “There is Something in him that will tell you, if you listen.” (2:3) That is the answer; that is how you know what to do: LISTEN. Do not decide on your own, do not demand anything of your brother, and do not sacrifice – just listen.
When you listen, to whom/Whom are you listening? Actually you are listening to your brother, as the Holy Spirit speaks through him to tell you what it is you must do for him. So you are listening to BOTH. And as you listen, you also listen to the Holy Spirit in you, as it is a conversation from Holy Spirit to Holy Spirit. “Could anything be holier?” (2:10) than to be privy to a conversation from Spirit to Spirit?
God sends you the patient, will tell you what the patient needs, and then He needs you to speak for Him to the patient, as the patient is not hearing God himself. And can anything be holier than to relay a message from God to one who feels sick, in need of healing, believing he is split from God? And would God send His Son to you, if He were not sure you will recognize his needs?
What could be a greater gift to you than this, to be asked to serve in this Heavenly Way? Would you rather choose to be a god -- or choose to hear the Voice of Him Who is God in you? Clearly it is holy to be chosen to help your brother thus.
Paragraph 3. “Your patients need not be physically present for you to serve them in the Name of God.” (3:1) God sends patients to you in many ways, not just those you physically see. Remember, seeing is not limited to the body’s eyes. Patients are sent in whatever form is considered most helpful to both of you. They will be sent as a name, a thought, a picture, an idea, or perhaps just a feeling of reaching out to someone somewhere. You see, sometimes a brother needs healing now, and cannot wait for a physical encounter to take place. They call out to God, and He may answer through you, as He knows you will help.
In Absence from Felicity there is a story that demonstrates this idea beautifully:
Bill and I were working on a research report and I was concentrating on the statistical treatment of the data. Suddenly and very unexpectedly I laid the papers down and said, with great urgency, “Quick, Bill! Joe, your friend from Chicago, is thinking about suicide. We must send him a message right away.” Bill sat down next to me as I “sent” an earnest mental message to Joe. The words I used were: “The answer is life, not death.” Afterwards, I said to Bill, “I bet there was nothing to it,” but I was wrong. Bill called his friend that evening to ask him if he was all right. Joe was glad he had called; he had been very depressed, and had actually picked up a gun that afternoon, but something held him back. He put the gun down.
Even though you receive the “distress signal,” the signal to help, you may wonder if your answer is reaching the intended recipient. All of this is up to the Holy Spirit. The joining is in His Hands, and thus it cannot fail to be accomplished. All you must do is LISTEN. You will be told what to do. God has faith in you, and you must have faith in yourself as well.
Paragraph 4. “A holy therapist, an advanced teacher of God, never forgets one thing; he did not make the curriculum of salvation, nor did he establish his part in it.” (4:1) What this is saying is that the therapist does not decide who his patients should be, what form in which they are sent to him, or what they need once they arrive. The therapist does not establish his role in the plan for salvation. The script is already written. He just fulfills his role and delivers the messages as directed by God.
Just as a play by Shakespeare would be incomplete without the key players, so would God’s plan be incomplete without you. Your part is necessary to the whole. And when your role is complete, you will recognize the whole. Once your part is done, there will be no need for you to continue in the play. And you will be free to move beyond it to the light.
Meanwhile you must learn, and your patients are the means sent to you for your learning. What could you be but grateful for them and to them? So do not betray them, or you betray yourself. Who calls on you is far beyond your understanding. Yet rejoice that you can listen and hear and answer, because only thus will you be able to hear the call and understand that it is really for you.
“No one is healed alone.”