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  • But, What GOOD is It to See a Depth Psychotherapist? -2

    Beyond the benefits I outlined in “What GOOD Is It to See a Depth Psychotherapist?, 1” there are two others: 1) developing genuine compassion for oneself; and. 2) passionately living out what’s really me.

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     Self Compassion

    Sometimes the hardest thing can be having compassion for ourselves.  Sometimes we really need someone to show us the way.

    Often, we’ve received the message that there isn’t much or any room in the world for who we most fundamentally are.

    Family… school… work… peers… all may have directly or indirectly told us that the person we truly are is not acceptable, and the only thing that is valued are our performances.

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    Am I My Performances?

    One of the most important things about work with a /a-midlife-transition is the way that it focuses us in on who we really are — in depth — and gives us the opportunity to value ourselves for what we are, and to be valued by a supportive other.  It can a revelation to be valued, not for what we do, but for the vulnerable and unique reality that we each represent.

    The relationship with the therapist, characterized by what Carl Rogers called “unconditional positive regard” is a key part of this.  The therapist holds up a mirror to the client that allows the client to see him or herself from a place of compassion.  That compassion is based on a deep level of empathy for all that has brought the client to their present place in life.  The continual effort is to bring the client to see his or her self and life in a comprehensive and empathic way — the way that the therapist sees him or her.

    Passion: Living Out What’s Really Me

    Too often, people live in a state of alienation from their genuine selves.  We very often get the message from many sources that the things that we really care about and value in life don’t matter, and that we must buckle down and accept “the realities of life”.  Those realities are economic, social, family-related, gender-related, and age-related — along with other constraints.  We learn “the rules”, or “the way it works”.  We can get so far away from what it is that we’re passionate about in life that we haven’t got the first foggy clue what there is that we could actually be passionate about.

    The process of “just living” can sometimes remove the joy and the thrill of spontaneity from our lives.  It reminds me of singer John Mellencamp’s,  “Ballad of Jack and Diane”, about two 16 year olds in a small town, that contains those famous gray lines of desperation:

    So let it rock. Let it roll.
    Let the Bible Belt come and save my soul.
    Hold on to 16 as long as you can
    Changes come around real soon
    Make us women and men….
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of living is gone.
    They say,
    Oh yeah, life goes on
    Long after the thrill of living is gone.

    For very many people, it can feel as if the days of passion, of vitality in living are long gone.  Yet something within them remembers the passion and the dreams, what it was like to feel life coursing — and wants to feel it again.  Example: through case studies, a man with a 30 year career in engineering discovers a passion for painting in nature.  As he puts it. “It’s like a door opened, and inside there was a whole new world!  I didn’t know I had this kind of a love for something still in me!”

    case studies

    Often, work with a /a-midlife-transition can begin to open up the connections to an individual’s passion and the real sources of joy in that person’s life. — sometimes in ways that are quite unexpected.

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    PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by  zabaraorg  ; Justin W. G. Allen ; Phil Roeder
    © 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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