Mind/heart precedes states. Mind/heart is chief. Mind made are they.
Act with impure heart, suffering follows as the wheel the hoof.
Act with pure heart, blessings follow as a shadow that never leaves
- Therapy is an attempt at pure-hearted communication. The therapist's heart is gentle, tranquil and non-violent.
- The image of the hoof-wheel is of a buffalo pulling a heavy cart. This is an image of effort.
- The image of the shadow that never leaves is an image of faith. If one walks in the sunshine of the Dharma the happiness shadow follows with no effort on one's own part.
- The pure mind is non-judgemental. The impure mind is judgemental
The two clients of yesterday each reported back. These reports illustrated
- results come quickly when the client finds own motivation
- work done on one issue generalises to other (perhaps even more important) issues in the client's life
- having worked on an issue the client feels less alone in her plight.
Recalling and reflecting upon what was done yesterday.
If you were client today, what issue would you work on?
Client talked about a marital problem - having a spiritual life not shared with spouse.
Matters arising: (continued after lunch)
- There are transference type issues. The client is talking about her relationship with her husband and the therapist is a man. She is talking about her spiritual life and the therapist is a spiritual teacher. It is not possible to completely disentangle the primary issue from the transference. This means that the therapist needs to be aware of the transference issues without taking them personally, be willing to discuss them when they do become a focus for the client, but not push them when the client is in the flow of the main issue.
- There was a question of whether the session should have been run in a more object centred way. In this instance the therapist chose not to do so because he judged that the issue was more "How should I live my life?" rather than "How should I relate to my husband?" There was no real prospect that the relation to husband was going to change so long as she remained in it.
- In relation to various situations there were evident options available to the client - to go along with or oppose husband, be meek or be assertive, talk things through or keep quiet, etc. - one can assume that the client has tried most or all of these options already. If the therapist tries to push a favoured "solution" it tends only to belittle what the client already knows. The therapist needs to deeply sympathise with the client's dilemma and ambivalence having tried different options and fouind the disadvantages of each.
- In this case there was an instance in which the client said "I lack courage." The therapist said "Are you saying that if you had courage you would handle the situation differently?" This proved to be a useful response enabling the client to be clear about her wishes. Sometimes one has to intuit what is implied rather than just take statements at face value.
Discussing the matter arising from the last session
Client talked about her relationship with father, how the appearance of the therapist (myself) was similar to father and brought up a great mix of feeling for her. She explored a number of memories. On the one hand, father could be fierce and formidable. On the other hand he was always there for her. Yet she was not able to hold his hand. The session included a cathartic episode when client recalled being ill and not wanting to die - please, father, don't let me die!
- Transference: Strong transference issues were apparent with therapist being seen as father. Client's ambivalent feelings in respect of father came forward. Client could see that the negative half of this ambivalence had blocked the positive half. This then led to exploration of incidents, especially a time when she had been in hospital having major, life threatening surgery.
- Role: We discussed the issue of therapist being in role as a significant other. As a general rule this is something to avoid, but in this case it worked. Client was able to make the distinction while still entering into the regressive process.
- Regression: The client wept copiously reliving the emotions associated with nearly losing her life, being frightened, and calling on father to save her.
- Prompts: The therapist was silent for substantial periods of time as the client was in the flow of her process, but from time to time the therapist highlighted emotive points which helped to sustain the client in her flow and also gave her the security of knowing that the therapist was with her so that she was not alone. This contact also helped to heal the act hunger that she felt for contact with father.
- Triggers: Some interventions triggered strong emotion. The therapist suggested to the client that she speak out the actual words that she had wanted to say - "I don't want to die" - this enabled her to go much more deeply into the associated emotion.
- Body contact: At one stage the client held the therapist's hand. At another stage the therapist held the client while she wept. Great respect and sensitivity is needed at such points to ensure that the client does not feel invaded and that she feels safe.
Discussing the matters arising from the last session