Psychotherapy as a practice for personal evolution
My first experience with a therapist was over seventeen years ago. I was just starting out college, struggling in big ways, and had very little support to help me work with the things I was going through. It was my first major crossroads in my life. Either I was going to learn how to grow psychologically and spiritually, or I was going to learn how to create more and more distractions from my pain.
That first therapist helped in many ways. I learned tools to deal with my experience. I moved through a lot of suffering in a short amount of time, and opened to much more love and connections with people than I had before. However, one thing stood out. The therapist saw my struggles as something wrong with me. He saw happiness as the opposite of suffering. And he saw mental illness in black or white terms. Either you were mentally healthy or mentally ill.
After many years of personal growth work and contemplative practices, and after a few other psychotherapists, I realized that psychotherapy can offer something beyond a black or white view of illness and health. It can offer a person ways to explore being human that can lead to personal evolution. I see psychotherapy as a laboratory for people to experience themselves in new ways and from new angles. It really is a limitless modality in many ways. Learning how to love, heal, grow, and evolve is something that takes practice. What I have discovered is that everyone can evolve whether they fit into the category of illness or health. Evolution is actually a very natural part of life and is happening all around us. The universe really wants us to transform and grow. It is just a matter of knowing how to get out of our own way so we can let evolution take its course.