Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice -- Role of Therapist
2. THE PROCESS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
III. The Role of the Psychotherapist
Paragraph 1. “The psychotherapist is a leader in the sense that he walks slightly ahead of the patient and helps him to avoid a few of the pitfalls along the road by seeing them first.” (P-2.III.1:1) In order for the therapist to help the patient avoid pitfalls, it helps if he has also had experience with these or other pitfalls that await anyone who takes this journey away from ego toward spirit. It helps if the therapist has long been involved with his own growth in spirit, and long been a volunteer in helping people, consciously and constantly saying to God, “Here I am, Lord, use me.”
“Ideally, he (the therapist) is also a follower, for One should walk ahead of him to give him light to see.” (P-2.III.1:2) The therapist should recognize that without the Holy Spirit’s constant guidance and help there will be many obstacles that will remain hidden, as the light of the Holy Spirit will not be as obvious to a therapist who fails to follow Him implicitly. “Without this One, both will merely stumble blindly on to nowhere.”
Whenever a therapist’s goal is to help a patient to heal, and whenever a patient’s goal is to seek healing in a therapeutic relationship with a therapist, the Holy Spirit will always be there as He is always present when any two join together with the goal of healing. He may, however, not be recognized if either or both, therapist and/or patient, are not keeping their sight upon Him. In that circumstance, the little light that they will be noticing, is all that will be seen to light the way to truth. Therefore constant, conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit is a HUGE PLUS in finding the way, the truth, and the light, without wasting time going around in circles looking for them.
Paragraph 2. “Healing is limited by the limitations of the psychotherapist, as it is limited by those of the patient.” (P-2.III.2:1) Thus patient and therapist both affect the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship. Yet their limitations cannot be lessened alone. Together they can find the pathway out of the world of insanity, but not without each other. The journey to God is not an individual journey. The quickest, therefore the most effective, way to find God is through holy relationships.
The therapist who is ready to advance to Christ, who has accepted assignments with patients who are not ready, will be delayed by the limitations of his patients. And the patients who are ready to move faster than the therapist will be delayed by the limitations of the therapist. Sometimes, a patient or a therapist will simply have to “move on” to an assignment that is more commensurate with his readiness to advance. Then the one who is “left behind” will be reassigned to another therapist or patient who can keep pace, and thus neither one will be delayed or be a delayer. Each will be assigned to a relationship that is compatible with their readiness.
When joining, the therapist and patient have been given the potentiality for transcending all limitations. The willingness may come from either one at the beginning, or from both. As they each share the willingness of the other, it will grow. Progress then becomes a matter of decision. They can reach almost to Heaven, or go no more than a step or two from hell. Decision, then, is of great importance. Suggestion: decide for God; choose Heaven.
If everyone but realized the importance of holy relationships, if they but realized the potential for growth in them all, they would be more inclined to quit wasting time in frivolous pursuits, and pursue instead the way, the truth, and the light. They would realize that the truth that will enable them to transcend all deception is but a breath away, and would then synchronize their thoughts, words and actions for but one purpose: to remember God. The self would disappear, and the Self would take its place. All peace, joy and love would then just BE.
Paragraph 3. “Divided goals alone can interfere with perfect healing.” (P-2.III.3:6) Sometimes psychotherapy seems to fail. Sometimes the result even looks like retrogression. But since the overall direction is forward, in the end there has to be some success. When one asks for help, and the other hears and even tries to answer, this is the formula for salvation, and healing will occur. When the ego stands in the way, however, and attention to it keeps them from reconciling their divergent goals, then the progress appears to be almost nil, but is never completely so. Just the fact that the patient has asked for help and someone was willing to answer, is enough to let the patient know that he is worthy of a response, and that is healing.
We learn that “One wholly egoless therapist could heal the world without a word, merely by being there.” (P-2.III.3:7) He need not be seen or heard and no one even needs to know he is present. His Presence is enough.
Will this be you? Lay aside all judgment, follow the Holy Spirit impeccably – and see.
Paragraph 4. “The ideal therapist is one with Christ.” (P-2.III.4:1) But healing is a process, not a fact. The therapist cannot progress without the patient, and the patient cannot be ready to receive the Christ or he could not be sick. The therapist has to advance to God with his patients, and his patients may not be ready to go all the way yet. Some in fact, are so not ready, that the Course would say they are not “miracle ready.” Jesus knows who is, and who is not, and will guide you to the ones who are ready, so the therapist can advance to God and not hang back waiting for those who cannot go forward with him. Those, however, will not be left by the wayside, as there are some therapists who are not ready to advance forward at a very rapid pace either, and these will be connected.
“It is your function to escape from (limitations), but not to be without them. If you
would be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language.” (M-26.4:2-3)
The therapist cannot stand at the end of the road and wait for his patients to struggle the remaining miles to reach him. He must walk hand-in-hand with them (as Jesus does with you), his own development keeping pace with theirs so that he walks only “slightly ahead” of them. If you are way out in front, unless you backtrack, your relationship may be hampered by its relative inequality. So look to Jesus for your assignments. Ask him if this is the holy relationship by which you can move forward without delay to the goal of God. If it is, accept it. If not, ask him to show you the relationship that is right for you. He will.
In conclusion, there is the perfect egoless therapist, who is so awake to reality that he cannot keep his feet on the ground. “Those who have laid the body down merely to extend their helpfulness to those remaining behind are few indeed. And they need helpers who are still in bondage and still asleep.” (M-26.3:9-10) These few perfect therapists, the Teachers of teachers, help by passing their thoughts and gifts to the teachers in this world, who can then pass them on to those they teach, in a chain of Helpers helping helpers help. In this way, we all go home together. AMEN