Interact Journal Integrative Ideas for the Process-Oriented Psychotherapist

Categories Supervision Dialogs

On why to accelerate

Why would you accelerate a process like that? In hopes that something will happen?

This is where the Rogerian part of my personal psychotheory shows up. Start with the idea that no matter what an organism is doing, it is always engaged in behavior that is deemed by the psyche either to be protective or to invite movement toward the resolution of its unresolved issues. And here’s the Gestalt part: When the organism does what it is doing to the point where that process is done enough, the organism will be done doing whatever it has been doing and can get on with doing something else.

That-which-the-organism-is-doing is the process. When the process is not “done enough,” the psyche will see to it that the person does it again as soon as possible. For example, the person who needs to work through his relationship with a dysfunctional parent will tend to seek out or re-create a representation of that relationship with spouses, friends, neighbors, colleagues, employers, employees, teachers, strangers, lovers, pets, children…, you name it.

To be the best therapist you can be, start today to trust yourself totally. Your intellect may interpret your internal experience through distorted perceptions, but your intuition will always tell you the truth. It might make mistakes, but it will never lie to you.

If he lives long enough, he may eventually experience enough misery that he can no longer tolerate, deny, or distract from it. Like the proverbial drunk in the gutter who, in a moment of whole-bodied existential clarity cries, “Uncle. I’m not sure what else I can do, but this isn’t working and I’m done doing it,” he can decide to give up or take the opportunity to construct a different relationship with whoever it is he has currently put into that “parent” position.

Whatever he decides to do, his default relationship with misery will never be quite the same. Psychotherapy can provide an heightened environment akin to a petri dish under a microscope. Inviting the acceleration of process is like turning up the heat. Deceleration is turning down the hear. As the heat is changing, processes are made more available to consciousness.

The invitation is given to focus on the experience not just with one’s eyes, but with one’s entire somatic and nervous system. This is a way to facilitate the bringing of that process to fuller awareness.

In psychotherapy one can compress time. Instead of having the same consequences over and over for years before we get it together to even notice there are consequences, we are invited to experience our responses fully, embrace our life long struggle between resistance and the desire to be whole, leap into our own existential abyss, and expand into more of our full potential. ¯

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