What I Encounter In My Work as a Therapist
Over the years in my Toronto therapy practice I have met people from all walks of life. They bring the problems of life. They suffer from depression symptoms, chronic anxiety, addictions, childhood trauma, relationship problems and other afflictions. They are haunted by these pains. They seek a way out. They all say ‘I want peace’.
Together we search for answers, tools to help them, greater understanding, new perspectives. Everybody is different. They go on their own paths, need their own answers. They are all seeking change. Change can be difficult and frightening. It involves leaving the security of who I believe I am, even if this belief is painful. It is a brave act. The goal is to be who I really am.
What Psychology Really Is
Psychology is certainly the study of the mind. It is about emotional pain, confusion, defences, coping mechanisms, transformation, turning hate to love, and the complexity of the self among other selves. There are millions of books written about it, and they often conflict. So it can feel overwhelming.
Nevertheless, after years in the field I realize that there is more to psychology. It is ultimately a spiritual pursuit. It is the search for the authentic self. To my mind we are all born with an authentic self. This authentic self is special. It is unique, but the same. Its sameness has two features: 1/ It is goodness 2/ It is a part of the ‘unity’, or whatever you call it, God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha. So, in therapy, we work to discover this pure self. and this pursuit leads to the ultimate question.
The Ultimate Question
Why was I born? This is a tough question. It cuts beneath everything. It puts our life – in whatever stage we’re in – into a new light. It goes beyond, pain, suffering, success, big and small events, We may or may not have an answer. It challenges us. It can make meaning. It helps us see the bigger picture of our life. No matter how big or small, our life is joined to something much greater.
Pursuing the Question
First thing – take an inventory of your life. This requires honesty and courage. Do I treat myself and others well or badly? Whatever your answer, go further. Ask why? When you ask why, it can point to a deeper sense of your life. Am I happy, sad, angry, focused, lost, able to deal with others? Why? How has my history affected me? Who and what affected me and how? What decisions have I made? Were they good or bad for me and others?
Why Was I Born
Sit with this question. What is your history and heart telling you? You may see success or failure in your life so far. No matter which, do you get a sense of a deeper self, a deeper purpose? If not, keep struggling with the question. Let love be your guide. What do I love in life? What has given me love? Where have I gained lost, or denied love and why? If you have come to an answer, wonderful. If not, your work is to strive for an answer. In both cases you have come to the purpose of your life and why you were born.