Martin Buber, ‘I and Thou’, & the true task of therapy

“If [a genuine psychotherapist] is satisfied to ‘analyze’ his patient – that is, to bring to light unconscious factors from his microcosm and to apply to a conscious project the energies that have been transformed by this emergence – he may successfully accomplish some repairs. At best, he may help a diffuse soul that is poor in structure to achieve at least some concentration and order. But he cannot absolve his true task, which is the regeneration of a stunted personal center. That can be brought off only by a man who grasps with the profound eye of a physician the buried, latent unity of a suffering soul, which can be done only if he enters as a partner into a person-to-person relationship, but never through the observation and investigation of an object. In order to promote coherently the liberation and actualization of this unity in a new situation in which the other person comes to terms with the world, the therapist, like the educator, must stand not only at his own pole of the bipolar relationship but also at the other pole, experiencing the effects of his own actions.”

Martin Buber, “I and Thou”

This expresses accurately how we see therapy at this service, especially in terms of our ‘true task, which is the regeneration of a stunted personal center. That can be brought off only by a man who grasps with the profound eye of a physician the buried, latent unity of a suffering soul, which can be done only if he enters as a partner into a person-to-person relationship, but never through the observation and investigation of an object’.

From Wiktionary on the etymology of ‘physician’ ( http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/physician ):-

‘From Middle English fisicien, from Old French fisicïen (physician), from fisique (art of healing), from Latin physica (natural science), from Ancient Greek φυσική ἐπιστήμη (phusikē epistēmē, knowledge of nature), from φυσικός (phusikos, pertaining to nature). Displaced native Middle English læche, leche, archaic Modern English leech “physician” (from Old English lǣċe (physician, medical doctor)).’

Thank you, Micah Ingle, & the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32, for reminding us of this quotation:-

https://www.facebook.com/groups/108667668615/permalink/10152103881063616/

We liked Micah’s comment ‘All I can think is “Carl Rogers Carl Rogers Carl Rogers”‘. Us too, Micah.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

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