know whether its true or not, but the story goes that a man came to
an ancient philosopher desiring to learn wisdom. The philosopher took the
man out into a river and then suddenly wrestled him down under the water.
Just at the point of drowning him, the wise philosopher hauled him out again
and said, Now, what did you say you wanted?
The poor guy was just gasping and wheezing, begging for air.
Well, when you want wisdom as much as you want to breathe, the
philosopher told him, then you shall have it.
How much does anyone want psychotherapy? Happinessor the appearance
of itis what most people today seem to value. And many psychotherapists
seem to think their job has something to do with helping people fulfill their
desire for happiness; psychotherapy then becomes not much more than building
up your sense of denial about the
of human existence.
therefore, enter psychotherapy hoping to get rid
of pain. Some people even manage to use psychotherapy to hide from their
emotional pain. But a competent psychotherapist wont let you hide from
your past or your future, and in competent psychotherapy you will be encouraged
to take up the cup of your destiny, however much you might wish
it would pass from you.
medical surgery, psychotherapy must be performed without anesthetics. It
will be necessary to be aware of the process, to feel the pain, and to look
directly at the ugly gore inside of you. Its no wonder,
then, that most people are afraid of it
You will find
many claims out there for an easy way to achieve physical and mental
But I predict that if you follow such a patha path not grounded in
discipline and hard workyou are likely not to find anything more than
self-indulgence. True, one
of you might find something resembling health, but other parts will remain
The only escape from the darkness of the
way is to seek the light and pay the price
of genuine healing.
In other words,
psychotherapy should be serious business. It shouldnt be about getting
rid of problems; it should be about making peace with your problems,
taking responsibility for your lifeeven if you didnt ask for
itdisentangling yourself from the desires of the world around you,
and discovering something about a human potential you didnt even know
its your life. Treat it with reverence and respect. Thats how
I do psychotherapy. You might not find happiness, but you will have
a good chance to find peace and joy: to discover integrity and encounter
the beauty of life itself. To do this, though, it will be necessary to want
psychotherapy as much as you want to breathe.
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