Chapter Twenty-Six - "Help Me --- I'm Tired Of Feeling Bad"
Therapy Without a Therapist
It is doubtful to me, and to almost every patient and therapist with whom I have ever spoken, that depth therapy can be pursued without the presence of a depth therapist. We spoke earlier in the book of the profound importance of reparenting. We said that touch and holding are the groundwork upon which much deep, regressive psychotherapy depends. Not everyone appears to need it, but certainly many do. We suggested that careful sharing of the therapist's own inner spaces help to provide a trellis that will support the new growth of healthful thoughts and beliefs which spring up within the mind and body of the client. We have also suggested that during times of confusion, emotional instability, and negative self-belief the therapist's steady presence provides a secondary strength upon which clients can rely when the ground begins to shift beneath their feet.
Surely, then, it must be folly to produce a manual of instruction that anyone can read and attempt to apply to themselves. This is a most crucial and central question and I am going to try to answer it with the following argument. I have struggled with a lifelong rage around what I have characterized and Scott Peck has popularized as the notion of The Lie. Just as a cucumber soaks in brine and thereby cannot avoid becoming a pickle, we soak in the culture of the false self. We cannot avoid becoming false. We cannot avoid that most profound of splits which occur between our deepest organic self and the personality which we form in order to be safe and to obtain what we need within our cultural matrix. This problem seems to have been common to all the ages of humanity.
Because our adult needs are displaced, disguised and symbolized away from our simple, basic, organic truths, we can never attain satisfaction and balance in our adult lives. It is only in middle life, when our defensive, external, dishonest persona finally fails us, that we even come close to the notion that so much of our life journey has been profoundly 'wrong' and unsatisfying. Even then, there is no real compass for us to look at, just as there has never been in our life any real compass shorn of The Lie in which we have been reared. The pickle floating in its barrel seeks to divest itself of its juice.
The vast implication put forward by everyone we have ever known, especially our teachers from kindergarten to post-PhD., is that if only we will learn what they know, we will finally be successful in the world and find our way to happiness. Since their lives have been lived within the brine of symbolization and displacement away from their deepest organic self, the hand that they extend to help us is contaminated with their untruth. It passes through our outstretched need as though it were a ghost. The hand they extend to help us does not truly speak the language of either their pain or ours. Therefore, across our lifetime, we are not helped and, in the end, we sink beneath the waves of our panic and depression.
I believe that this book constitutes a trustworthy compass and a pole star to which any human being can turn, and begin to find real truth. That is to say, the debris of their emotional damage, the path through it and the goal of comprehension, once it is shorn of intrinsic self-deception, can be pursued with the techniques we have outlined.
It is not that I have the truth for the world. It is that I have been using, both on others and on myself, a set of techniques which invariably lead to a profound sense of our own inner, uncontaminated structures. I have called these structures Immaculate Sensing, Immaculate Knowing and Immaculate Function. They exist within all of us if we can divest our mental processes of a lifetime's contamination.
Just as the steam engine and the loom, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, created massive upheaval and pain, so also it is possible that the mechanisms outlined in this work will do the same.
Would any of us turn back the clock and forego the Industrial Revolution? Would any of us turn our back on the evolution of the mind in its journey toward truth? I believe that, as this kind of work filters through humankind's consciousness across thousands of years, eventually we will be deeper, wiser, more ethical, less manipulative and less susceptible to other people's manipulation.
This is the dream that I hold, born of my childhood pain.
I feel, therefore, that I must place this manual on the open market. The cautions in the front of the book must be heeded with great care.
There will be instances where people, beleagured in mind, in body and in spirit, with nowhere to turn and no one to turn to, will use this manual without guidance. To you, I say, go slowly and with great care, remembering that whenever you turn to anyone for advice and help, unless they are accomplished depth therapists, you will, sooner or later, be the object of their 'defensive wisdom'. As you trigger within them their own unworked-through feelings, they will advise you from mechanisms within their own false self. This advice will have as its common denominator an attempt to keep you from feeling your pain.
You must be the judge as to whether the chaos you are uncovering within yourself is coming faster than you can process. If you are becoming sleepless, ceasing to eat, losing your ability to function and obviously moving beyond your own healthy control, it is crucial that you slow down and make a major effort to seek loving and enlightened feeling-oriented support.
You do not have to throw yourself over a cliff in order to grow. You can attempt to use the instructions in a gentle and self-loving way. In the end, however, it is only fair to warn you that there may be times of extraordinary terror on your journey. Look after yourself and/or get yourself looked after and never turn your back on your deepest, feeling sense and intuition about what is right for you.
Above all, remember: If you are deliberately harming people, you are probably off the growth track. This is the harm which occurs when you go out into the world saying and doing chaotic and destructive things. Instead you should examine the underlying feelings that bring this about, doing so in the privacy of your therapy room. Naturally, as you begin to define yourself more clearly in the world, regarding what you can and cannot accept in your life, others will feel pain as they learn that they cannot use you. Be careful of this issue. Be careful when asking anyone to accept change faster than is safe for you and them.
Obviously, these rules are subject to one's basic sense of human decency, and to one's understanding of what, in any situation, is appropriate and diplomatic.
Simple Rules of Conduct
- You are entitled to say what you feel to anyone as long as you do so in a courteous manner.
- You are entitled to make a request of what you need from anyone as long as you do so in a courteous manner.
- You are entitled to refuse anyone's request as long as you do so in a courteous manner.
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