“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers
Last week I started classes at CIIS, and I was so excited to start on the first day that I felt like a little kid waking up on Christmas morning thinking “Santa came, Santa came” – I kid you not. It has been a wonderful week of inspiration, motivation, and communing with kindred spirits.
In this cauldron of simmering juices, I’ve evolved and landed on my research topic. For the longest time, I was focused on researching PTSD and trauma and the interventions used to help those who suffer from the symptoms.
After taking time to really sit with where my heart and passion lives, I’m drawn to explore empathic resonance. That’s a mouthful to describe a specific quality of a relationship between any two people- client and therapist, friend to friend, colleague to colleague. It’s the quality of pure empathy – nothing to be fixed, judged, changed, commented on, advised, or the like.
In the container and relationship between two people where deep connection and safety is created. That is when the magic of healing can occur. Only when acceptance and allowance is invited into the room, that change and shift occurs. Without it, our defensive roles will be controlling our words and actions.
I’ve reflected on how this is the quality of my relationship in and out of the therapeutic office. Even with my friends, classmates, and colleagues, this is what I cultivate and are the types of relationships I want to share in the world. I believe this is a constant practice to be mindful of, as well as something important to ripple out into the world. Another term I’ve grown fond of is that of the Sacred Witness – to witness someone else and see exactly who they are in the moment and say or think “I love you just the way you are.” In that moment of acceptance, the a person’s defenses don’t feel the need to show up, and acceptance can begin. From there, who knows where the journey will take us both.
“In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?” – Carl Rogers