by: Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Many years ago, when I became a psychotherapist, all I knew was the traditional psychotherapy that I had learned in school, and that I had personally experienced with many different therapists and many different forms of therapy. For 18 years I practiced what I had learned, and I was never happy with the results.
I saw that people often felt better for the moment, or resolved a particular issue, but that when new issues came up, they didn’t have a process for dealing with them. In all the years of my own therapy, I had never learned a process either – a process for loving myself and taking 100% responsibility for my own feelings and needs. In fact, taking responsibility for my feelings was never a part of any of the therapies I had experienced. I had learned to express my feelings – which often turned out to be a form of control – but not how I was creating my own feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, hurt, guilt and shame.
I no longer practice traditional psychotherapy because, in my experience, it doesn’t work. For the past 23 years I have worked with clients with the Inner Bonding process. In fact, I have many psychotherapists in my practice learning this process, because they are discouraged with the results of traditional psychotherapy in their work and in their own lives.
WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T WORK
So, does psychotherapy work? It does if what you are learning about is how to connect with your own feelings and take responsibility for them; how to discover the false beliefs that are creating your painful feelings; and how to connect with a personal source of spiritual Guidance that teaches you the truth and the loving action toward yourself. It works when you are willing to learn to take loving action in your own behalf and share your love with others. It works when you are willing to stop blaming the past, your parents, your partner, society, events, or God for your suffering and learn that you are the cause of your own suffering. It works when you are willing to stop seeing yourself as a victim of others and circumstances and learn to be loving to yourself.
What does not work is spending years analyzing the past. While the past shaped our beliefs, and it is important to understand where we learned what we learned, dwelling on it is a waste of time. In my experience, if we stay current with discovering the false beliefs that cause our painful feelings, the past will become illuminated. When we realize, for example, that we spend much time and energy judging ourselves, it is easy to go into the past to see where we learned this. Did one or both of your parents judge you? Did they judge themselves? What was the role modeling you grew up with? Did either of your parents take responsibility for their feelings, or were they victims, blaming each other or you or others for their misery? It is not hard to learn about the past when we are willing to examine our current choices and behavior toward ourselves and others.
YOUR SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
Psychotherapy that does not include developing a spiritual connection does not work. Our spiritual connection is the Source we need to turn to for wisdom and comfort. In order to deal lovingly with the challenges of life, we need to know that we are not alone, and that we always have our higher Guidance to turn to for the truth and loving action toward ourselves and others.
True healing is about learning how to take full, 100% responsibility for our own feelings and needs. It is about moving out of self-abandonment and emotional dependency and into emotional freedom. When you find a therapist, facilitator or coach who helps you to do this, then you will find great benefit.