In this short article we will cover some of the basic themes and challenges in a therapeutic process, as commonly used in various forms of psychotherapy, or as adapted for specialized use within energy healing work, as in Relational Energy Therapy.
Therapeutic psycho-emotional process is a collection of life skills that not only help us navigate through a personal, emotional, or even a medical crisis, but which aim to balance disharmonious or chaotic forces in our lives. Whether those forces stem from a challenging personal relationship, or are triggered by the passage through a life stage change, the therapeutic process aids us with time-tested insights and resources, guiding us towards transitioning into a new place in our lives.
Therapeutic process is not about change, as we are not looking to transform ourselves from one thing into another. It is rather about coming to know who and what we are, and awakening to both the limitations of our humanity as well as the choices we make for ourselves as we travel through life with others. It is the process of becoming more of ourselves, and is not about achieving some imagined higher state of being.
The journey towards individuation
So why are we not ourselves, from early life onward? In order to awaken to both our inner psycho-emotional world, and to learn how to relate to other people, we need first to emotionally connect to them. We are relational beings.
With that in mind, the first therapeutic basis is: attachment. How do we get our needs met with others, relate to them, and balance our own inner reality with that of other people? Do we merge with them, and choose connection over safe embodiment? Or, do we push others away, or attempt to control them? By closely examining our relational attachments and habits, we can come to terms with our compromises and assumptions about our humanity, and more specifically, our individuating self. We are both the same as others, but also different from others. That journey of self discovery begins with looking at attachment.
The second basic is to study how safe we feel in our own body, and in the expression of our needs and our personal boundaries. If we experience fear or anxiety, or we find ourselves shrinking from necessary confrontations in our lives, developing more connection and confidence in our bodily expression can make a vital difference to our adult lives. There are many options that provide training into become safe and embodied, from exercise such as yoga, or martial arts, into dancing and other expressive arts.
The third basic therapeutic issue is the emergence of our unique interests and talents that are striving to come into the world, and be shared with others. Freedom of exploration and expression lead us towards our unique vision, even though that desire may conflict with our habitual attachment style, or our safety and comfort in living within our own skin. Healthy pride in our joys, and the inevitable response of shaming or criticism to our uniqueness, must be factored into the therapeutic process. It takes courage to reveal yourself to others, and to handle their reaction to your truth, and creativity. We often need to gain new interpersonal or cultural skills to handle this vital emergence of our individual light within.
The fourth basic therapeutic place to explore is finding reflection and guidance from others, from an individual who has some of the qualities you seek within yourself, or who has experience in the realms of being you are beginning to explore. A mentor, a teacher, a guide, or a coach, this other person first inspires you to explore deeply, and then ideally shifts that outer interest towards accessing your own version within yourself. This is why we seek to study with others, or read their books, or attend events they may run: we see in the other a part of ourselves, and we hope that this relationship will awaken us, or deepen our journey towards our own expression of that quality we see in them. Other people can inspire us, and invite our own engagement with what the other has developed in their own lives.
A fifth basic therapeutic principle lies in allowing the natural cycles of life to carry us through our various stages and challenges that reveal who we are: to ourselves, and perhaps to others. We are hard-wired for personal growth and transformation, and if the conditions in our lives are favorable, we will naturally evolve within and without, as we move through life, decade after decade. But if those natural cycles are restricted by some of these earlier topics – challenges in attaching safely to meaningful others in our lives, difficulty in becoming embodied and safe in the physical world, unable to find our unique expression and creativity in our lives, or we are unable to accept the guiding mentorship of another when we truly need it – we may find ourselves stuck in taking the next important step in our evolution. We may loop around one issue, again and again, without finding the doorway to the next level. The therapeutic basics provide us with wind in our metaphorical sails, allowing us to leave the doldrums of any stuck and stagnant place in our life.
Therapeutic options for adults interested in personal and spiritual development
One place to start with our therapeutic process is to engage in inner work and the exploration of what interests us: to follow whatever inspires us. First we must engage our passion for something outside of us, and then combine that interest with any process that internalizes it within our psycho-emotional body, within our cellular reality. The outer is seen as reflecting our inner world: first by admiring it in others, then by desiring it for ourselves, and finally by allowing it to change us to be more ourselves than to emulate someone else. This transition – from outer perception towards inner evolution – can be found in many places, but rarely is it to be birthed only in one area of our lives. You may need to combine your religious or spiritual questing with physical exercise, art classes, exposure to different cultures, learning a new language, or anything that stretches your inner world, awakening you to yourself.
In Relational Energy Therapy, we follow these time-honored therapeutic basics, and build them into the structure of each Single Session, or a Six Session Series. Certain energy body structures activate and energize each of these basic stages in our journey towards individuation.
The First Chakra engages our embodiment, from safety and boundaries, all the way to our ability to confront challenges from others.
The Second Chakra contains the invisible wiring of how we attach deeply with others, and then internalize those attachments (self-cords, or the creation of an individuated self identity).
The Third Chakra tracks and experiences our life stage, and intuits where we may be stuck, or in need of vital support.
The Fourth Chakra finds healthy relationships that can sustain and support us over time, find our family and our friends, making our lives fulfilled and happy.
The Fifth Chakra shares our unique expression with others, and draws us out of potential self into actual embodied self. Our inner journey is carried by our life experiences, the choices we make, and modified by the reflection of others, either critical or admiring.
It is the Sixth Chakra and other higher centers that moderate the unwinding of our personal development, giving us unique glimpses into possible outcomes and paths taken. In the end, freedom is our very nature, and our creative expression of that freedom is the very meaning of life.
I hope this short journey through the basics of the therapeutic process inspires you to find your own resources, inner and outer, so that you can fully bring yourself into your body, into your feeling world, into your cognitive mind, into healthy relationships, emerging inevitably into your creative acts. May you become fully yourself, and not a reflection or emulation of another person. And, may you find good people along the way, to draw you out of your hidden potential, giving you the courage to explore worlds beyond what you already know.
(c)2018 by Dean Ramsden. All rights reserved.