Psychotherapist as a Prism
Even after all these years working as a therapist, learning and studying books and articles and papers, listening to people, hour after hour, year after year, and what an honour that is, I still believe that the presence of a therapist is the foundation stone of any success to be made in the room. Presence is the flat bedrock upon which anything may come. Skills and insight are nothing without a pregnant space held by the therapist, presence of all that is within, to be given to the person we sit with.
We all learn that when light is passed through a prism, the white light is slowed down sufficiently, so that we can see it's constituent colours. It's internal rainbow. Every wave of white light carried within it, every colour of the rainbow, the rainbow itself. Not seen to everyone, but when passed through a piece of carefully cut glass, all the parts are seen. Revealed. Held out to be seen, gazed at, and beheld as beauty.
I think that the presence a therapist brings to the client is like this prism. We sit there, a block of carefully cut something, glass, crystal perhaps, water even, and bring the light of the client through ourselves. Hoping to disperse the light into all that it is inside of it. All the parts and beauty of the inner person. We draw the person out, to shine a little, shine a little in the room, and we work to slow everything down in the person, and scatter that rainbow for her to see. For him to see. My clients will often hear me talk about the beauty of the dark, the black, the shadow, the pain, the agony, the despair. To me there is no difference between 'good' and 'bad' emotion or aspects of ourselves. All parts of the rainbow are welcome.
How often I have wondered why any of us need the presence of someone else at all. I have often heard clients speak of this too. Why would talking help me? Why is it that when I talk to you, I feel better, even though the problem still remains? Why is presence so powerful? Why is it that the presence of someone can transform us so fundamentally? Is it like a prism? Slowing us down. Scattering our insides like never before. So we can see what we are. What we are made of. What our true colours are. So we can know there is so much more to us, than we once knew.
Light fascinates me. The one thing, that has it's own speed, no matter what is happening around it. The one thing, that has it's own laws. Appearing to be white, but really is every single thing. I can't help but relate this to each and every one of us. This is why I love my job. Each client that comes to me, fascinates me. I love learning and listening to every person. Never assuming. Just hopefully bringing my presence. To sit with. To slow down. To gaze upon. To walk with. To carry sometimes. And just watching the pure magic that comes out of the deep connection of two people, sitting in a room, one pouring their heart out, one trying to bring every inch of it's glass-like presence to the room. What an experience.