Mirroring the True Self

What does it mean to say that the True Self is accurately seen and empathically mirrored?  This refers to one person being able to reflect another’s essential or spiritual nature. It could be said that we are doing this to and for each other constantly, with or without the awareness of both people involved.  In Contemplative Psychotherapy, the intention of the therapist is to explicitly reflect the essential nature of the patient. For this to be received, it must be in language that is understood and accepted by the patient.   This common language typically develops when the therapist asks about the patient’s spiritual life: if they have been on a spiritual path, what have been some of their significant spiritual experiences?  Is there a core practice or practices?  Have they been influenced by certain teachers or books?  Often, suggestions for books, websites and other resources are made to deepen and enhance an existing spiritual practice. Gradually, an understanding develops and matures, and the therapist is able to reflect the patient’s Self with increasing richness and depth.

To give one example of the many ways the True Self can be described, author Richard Rohr often calls the True Self “the Immortal Diamond”, and he describes it as an absolute reference point, utterly within and utterly beyond us at the same time, which gives us a reliable grounding that is always available.  Certainly, having access to this dimension is of great value to everyone. For anyone struggling with a faltering or depleted sense of self, tapping into the Self can open up a whole new world of rapid healing and transformation. Personally, I don’t think the psychotherapeutic process can get any deeper or more powerful than this.

Next month:  Silence in Psychotherapy

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