Friday, March 9, 2012

Beyond our skins, Beyond our selves

In what way are you being transformed right now?

This is the question my supervisor asked of me in my journey with practicum. Our clients change us, she says. They, and the process, transform us.

Naturally, this question occurred to me in a deeper translation: In what way are these changes and transformations deepening my practice? In what ways is my spiritual practice being challenged?

A few key words immediately come to mind: unconditional positive regard, compassion, patience, breathing, openness.

In a more process-oriented light, I'm beginning to become aware of the movement of the therapeutic process. Minutes before a client steps into my office, I close my eyes and step out of my skin -- I step out of myself and go forth. I don't put anything on, but I take something off. The client sits down with me and I feel a part of me, deeply sincere, raw, and yet also sharply defined and carved out, meets that other person in this bubble-like space we create together. That space is unique for each individual I sit with.

I think of Rogers and the interesting shift he made in the later part of his life where he took a turn from the humanistic into the more transpersonal realms of therapy. He didn't necessarily leave the humanistic behind. No, he had it with him as a foundation. But he began to find that he could transcend himself and still be with the other most fully, perhaps more fully, than simple congruence affords. This unique quality and way of being is presence -- something Rogers had only just begun to write about before he died.

Presence is what I hope to explore more of. If I bring anything to this field, if I leave anything behind, I hope it is to offer an exploration and deeper understanding of this quality, process, and way of being which is Presence.

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