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on coping with emotional dysregulation

I realised that I have problems regulating stress and my emotions, only sometime in the last couple of years. This reminds me of the time when I told an ex-colleague I may…

Fear is the first experience of the fetus in the womb

Fear is the first experience of the fetus in the womb. There’s a Czechoslovakian psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof, now living in California, who for years treated people with LSD. And he found that some of them re-experienced birth and, in the re-experiencing of birth, the first stage is that of the fetus in the womb, without any sense of “I” or of being. Then shortly before birth the rhythm of the uterus begins, and there’s terror! Fear is the first thing, the thing that says “I.” Then comes the horrific stage of getting born, the difficult passage through the birth canal, and then—my God, light! Can you imagine! Isn’t it amazing that this repeats just what the myth says—that Self said, “I am,” and immediately felt fear? And then when it realized it was alone, it felt desire for another and became two. That is the breaking into the world of light and the pairs of opposites.

They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them

They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience—that is the hero’s deed.

Acceptance of the client

1. Acceptance of the client by the therapist leads to an increased acceptance of self by the client. 2. The more the therapist perceives the client as a person rather than as an object, the more the client will come to perceive himself as a person rather than an object. 3. In the course of therapy an experiential and effective type of learning about self takes place in the client.

But being himself doesn’t “solve problems”

But being himself doesn’t “solve problems.” It simply opens up a new way of living in which there is more depth and more height in the experience of his feelings; more breadth and more range. He feels more unique and hence more alone, but he is so much more real that his relationships with others lose their artificial quality, become deeper, more satisfying, and draw more of the realness of the other person into the relationship.

a profound experience of personal choice

Involved in this process of becoming himself is a profound experience of personal choice. He realizes that he can choose to continue to hide behind a façade, or that he can take the risks involved in being himself; that he is a free agent who has it within his power to destroy another, or himself, and also the power to enhance himself and others. Faced with this naked reality of decision, he chooses to move in the direction of being himself.

trustworthy instruments for encountering life

To be a part of this process means that one is involved in the frequently frightening and frequently satisfying experience of a more sensitive living, with greater range, greater variety, greater richness. It seems to me that clients who have moved significantly in therapy live more intimately with their feelings of pain, but also more vividly with their feelings of ecstasy; that anger is more clearly felt, but so also is love; that fear is an experience they know more deeply, but so is courage. And the reason they can thus live fully in a wider range is that they have this underlying confidence in themselves as trustworthy instruments for encountering life.