This morning I am thinking about how psychotherapy, at its essence, is about thinking. About the client and I thinking together. Joining our minds. I wrote about this some months back, and again this morning, the power of psychotherapy, the creativity really, is on my mind.
Psychotherapy is about the client and therapist using their minds together to think. A client usually comes in to therapy with distressing problems and a lot of frustration at not being able to adequately address them. In this way he may have done quite a lot of thinking on his own. However, by joining our minds, together the client and I can go further in thought. We can better think about the problems than one person can (“two minds are better than one”). And in that way, come up with better solutions.
A client may present with a troubling relationship issue. Or a client may feel stuck and stymied, finding that he or she gets into the same patterns or is stuck in some compulsive behavior. By talking about these problems with me, together the client and I begin to think about them. Sometimes our thoughts take very practical paths. When did this problem first begin? What efforts have you made to stop it? And sometimes are thinking engages other levels of thought, such as the symbolic and metaphorical. We search for the meaning of these problems and what they reveal about the person’s life.
The process of thinking together creates something that was not there before. This “something” may be a better awareness of what is truly going on, a better sense of the emotions underlying the issue, and better ways to address the problem.
To better understand one’s life and to find better solutions for one’s problems is, of course, not easy. However, each day I am reminded through the conversations I have with my clients of just what potential for new thoughts and feelings there is through relationship. What creativity there is in two people talking, really talking, about what matters. Two people putting their heads together.