At a glance
Our society is locked in crisis. Society teaches us to focus on having rather than being. That is, we seek things and status instead of wisdom and authentic relationships. Deep down, we know we can never have enough things and status, but we keep trying because we are afraid that we won't be lovable otherwise. This creates a vicious cycle: we can never have enough to be lovable, so we keep trying to get more. We go on and teach others—our children, our friends, our loved ones—the same false message.[/dropcap]
My philosophy is simple. Each person has a true, lovable self that wants to come out. My goal is to help every client reclaim that true self. That is the way to break the vicious cycle, and the way to ease our social crisis.
Our society is in crisis. An unprecedented number of people are losing homes, gasoline prices are soaring, one out of four teenagers is dropping out of high school, drug and alcohol addiction are rampant, and the divorce rate is the highest it has been in the history of the United States.
What is causing these problems? I believe the answer can be found if we examine our culture and how we adapt to it.
We live in a culture that is based on having rather than being. That is, we seek things rather than seek wisdom. Consider the evidence (and consequences) of our misguided search:
Our focus on seeking things instead of wisdom is a kind of illness. This illness manifests in the feeling that we are unacceptable the way we are; that we are unlovable. So, to make ourselves "marketable" and acceptable we try to live up to an idealized image of who we think we are supposed to be. This idealized image is our false self. We cling to this false self. Deep down, we see it as the solution to a basic fear or anxiety that we won't be loved or accepted. But because our solution to this basic anxiety rests on a rejection of the who we really are – a rejection of our true self – it never works.
The irony is we reject our true self to make ourselves acceptable. We alienate ourselves from our true self and then we fear that we are going to be found out to be a phony. The result, in our culture, is that most of us really are phonies. Worse, we pass the message along to everyone around us.
|Let's look at some more ways we (and our culture) betray ourselves.|
I believe this crisis is a wake-up call, giving us the opportunity to find a healthier balance in our lives -- but only if we wake up! We are asleep, thinking we are awake. We are living in a trance. We are hypnotized into believing that this is how life is supposed to be. But it's not.
We have all learned to play games with ourselves and others that keep us immature. We are afraid of pain and frustration, but the reality is that pain helps us mature and grow up. Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth and personal transformation. But we are pain-phobic in this society and we have learned to avoid suffering at all costs. The price we pay is great.
I believe it is important to find our lost, true selves. Needless to say the going is tough at times, In fact I believe the more honest we are and the healthier we become the more we will be able to face our shortcomings. Quite a paradox isn't it? Therapy is difficult, ignorance is not bliss, and addressing our problems is definitely the road less traveled. I believe however that there is a basic need or force within us that wants to mature and become a better person. I hope you will listen to that part of you.
My view of relationships and therapy has been shaped and influenced by Walter Kempler, M.D., a pioneer in the field of family therapy. He was a remarkable man who translated the principles of Gestalt Therapy, namely the work of Fritz Perls, M.D., into therapy with couples and families. We worked together for over 15 years.
Dr. Kempler taught me that we need a person in our lives to "grind" against. Moreover, conflict is necessary; it helps us take the next step in our personal development. In fact I believe that we choose a partner based on the unconscious wisdom that this partner will cause us trouble so we can grind. Therefore when you are having a problem in your relationship it doesn't mean something is wrong. On the contrary, it means something is right. This is what I call "therapeutic trouble" because it provides an opportunity to grow up and become a better person and a better partner.
If you'd like to learn more about relationships and the ideas I have about making them work, then please read my blog or purchase my book, "Love Secrets-Revealed." You can acquire this book at www.amazon.com or www.hcibooks.com or directly from me at my bookstore.