“… It is clients’ self-healing capacities which make therapy work.” Arthur Bohart
My approach to psychotherapy is very practical: over 25 years I’ve seen that people have an intrinsic well of healing and resiliency within them. This source of becoming whole is unstoppable in its positive effect when people feel encouraged. The sky is the limit.
This encouragement most often happens in relationship. Few of us had all the encouragement we could use in early life and all of us feel lit up by the right kind of encouragement.
In an encouraging therapeutic relationship, clients flourish when they feel accurately perceived and related to in a warm and genuinely empathic way. Research says clearly that it is clients that make therapy work, in the context of a good relationship with the therapist. Which ‘method’ the therapist uses is less important.
Personally, I don’t like being related to as if the difficulties I face are pathology, because they’re not: they are things I’m sorting out. To sort them out I want to know that somebody sees me clearly and holds me dearly – and knows deeply that I have what it takes to make my way through my difficulties.
A particularly profound level of encouraging relationship happens when I feel felt by another: in this depth of relatedness I don’t have to get the words precisely right because the other can feel me. This is akin to the entirely easeful and natural way that the mother and infant feel each other. This is psychotherapy at its best: whole-making and healing.