Psychotherapy involves a sense of reverence
July 14, 2008
Lorraine Wright in her article, Spirituality, Suffering, and Beliefs writes about an incident that occurred when she was being observed working with a family behind a one way mirror. A team member who was observing said to Lorraine that
"...what he believed to be the most powerful aspect of my clinical work with families: the notion of 'reverencing' that occurred between families/clients and myself. In those moments of reverencing, there is a profound awe and respect for the individuals seated in front of you. It is not a linear phenomenon in these moments. I feel that same reverencing from family members being given back to me. In those moments of reverencing in clinical work something very special happens between the therapist and the family; it is something felt by all - a deep emotional connection. I know and have felt these moments in therapy, both in the therapy room and from behind the one-way mirror as a supervisor or team member."
Spiritual Resources in Family Therapy edited by Froma Walsh, p. 63
I am reminded of Jesus' statement that where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be. There is something about psychotherapy that can be sacred not in a religious sense but in a spiritual sense.
Psychotherapy is a trust between the therapist and the client(s) where the psychotherapist is duty bound to put the clients needs ahead of his/her own. The psychotherapist is ethically bound to use his/her personality in a purposeful way to help the client get the clients' needs met. There is a deep listening that is empathically profound and an attentiveness that goes way beyond the ordinary. It is the conscientious attentiveness on the part of the therapist that makes psychotherapy hard work in the sense that it takes discipline to set aside one's own narcissistic preferences and desires in service of another. This "being there" for another is what begins to make the rapport sacred and the quality of reverencing begins to emerge.