This is utterly beautiful.
Thank you to Monica Cassani and http://www.beyondmeds.com for linking to this.
I think Monica’s comment is wholly accurate:-
‘We need love in the mental health system. Love is ultimately the only thing that heals, because love recognizes our individuality and cannot ultimately ever be coercive. In order to support one another to become who we are we need love. In the end it is that simple.’
Lots of things that aren’t love get called love, especially in our culture. As a result, love has got a dirty name, including in therapeutic and ‘mental health’ circles. Many look askance, preferring apparently safer words like ‘professional’ and ‘treatment’. Of course, that way of seeing carries its own risks. As Brian Thorne put it, talking of the therapeutic work of Mary Kilborn:-
“Her preparedness to take risks and to run the danger of being accused of over-involvement (a favourite term of abuse employed by therapists who wish to legitimise their own fear of relationship) communicated to many of her most wounded clients a sense of their inherent worth which no amount of clever talk or analytical acuity could have achieved”
Brian Thorne: The Mystical Power of Person Centred Therapy – Hope beyond Despair 2002
The reality seems to be that we know love – authentic love – when we experience it. At some level, we mostly get it, when someone offers us encounter, empathy, congruence and their deep, non-possessive loving presence:-
‘“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”
“Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.”’
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Love in this sense has the qualities that Maya and Monica describe. It is rare, and it is healing. It can, of course, also be profoundly challenging, even frightening, depending where you start from.Which is why love is also patient, and willing to wait.
In one word, it is love person-centered therapy offers and love we offer at this service. And I think it matters to reclaim the word….
Lindsey Talbott, Therapist
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994