Much of therapy today is person-centered, which the author in the below piece attributes to Carl Rogers. Chaplaincy owes much to this therapeutic approach, as we are trained to be agenda-less when we visit, allowing the patient or client to guide the conversation. Of course, there are times when chaplains do have somewhat of an agenda, as well they should, because there is a professional aspect of needing to be supportive of the people for whom we are to care. In the piece below, the author discusses how person-centered therapy is really about trusting ourselves to resolve difficult situations.
By Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Trust is such an important part of therapy. And, of course, of life…
So do you trust yourself?
To know yourself.
To grow yourself.
A gentleman born in the early 1900’s trusted you, even though you’ve never met. His name was Carl Rogers, and he was a psychologist. And he believed that you – that all of us – have the innate power to understand and heal ourselves. He believed that somewhere inside, you have the solution, the answer, the salve for your life’s struggles. And that trust will help unlock them.
So how do you do that?
Well, maybe you can take a leaf out of therapy’s book and sort of see if it might apply to you in your life, and the way you might treat yourself (or not).
In therapy, if you and your therapist follow Rogers’ approach, it’ll be called “person-centred therapy.” And the person it’s centred on will be you. So you’ll set the pace of things – your therapist will take your lead, as they have faith in your mind, your emotions, your entire being to know the right pace to go.
They’ll listen to you. Deeply. Because they’ll believe that everything you say is a clue. That everything you say has value.
And they’ll trust that, much as a plant knows to grow toward the sun, you know how to grow toward your healing, and you’re probably already starting to do that. So they probably won’t plaster you with other people’s opinions or theories, or tell you how you “should” think.
How would it be if you could apply these things to yourself?
To extend a hand of trust to yourself in barren times and know that you will grow again. That you’ve already started. That deep down, something in you knows the way out of pain. And back to being whole. Even if you’ve never grown this particular way before.
To really listen to yourself. To hear every resistance or desire that your gut is trying to communicate to you. To look for the signs that your body – that most intricate sense data collector – is giving you about your world.
And to trust yourself enough to just let yourself grow towards the light in your life. Not to overburden yourself with other people’s “shoulds.” But to just be where you are and going where you’re going. In your own direction, rather than someone else’s.
Sometimes, in really tough times, it can be really helpful to do this in the company of your therapist.
And sometimes, maybe it’s enough to start the healing – the trusting – yourself.
Text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.