Articles & Book Reviews
Trusting the Flow
What is good therapy?
Trusting the Flow
by Michelle McClintock, Psychologist
Good therapy is the thing that is already trying to happen. Good therapy is not one technique or approach – it is whatever is called for in the moment for that particular person on that very day!
Good therapy does not always make the person feel better. It does not always bring about change or improvement; sometimes only new understanding or a fresh perspective.
Good therapy believes that symptoms are meaningful; that they are our greatest teachers and allies. Good therapy knows that the person, not the professional is the expert; the therapist is a mere facilitator of the person’s awareness about themselves.
Good therapy doesn’t have a pre-set goal; it deals directly with what needs to happen. Good therapy doesn’t have a restricted view of the human condition; it welcomes moods, jealousies, dreams, altered states, depressions and conflicts; and sees them all as rich with potential meaning for the person.
Good therapy means bringing all of yourself (as therapist) to your interactions; daring to be human rather than clinically objective, detached or neutral. Good therapy means using your awareness to facilitate the person’s awareness and growth; and not denying that you are growing yourself and that the process is also your teacher.
Good therapy addresses both the conscious and unconscious needs of the individual. Good therapy is deeply democratic; valuing all inner-parts, voices, and experiences equally.
Good therapy follows nature; it trusts in the flow of life and learns how to keep up.
Regardless of our own evaluation, Good therapy is not ‘good’ unless our client’s feedback agrees with us.
Good therapy doesn’t patronize individuals by believing they need our help. Good therapy is showing people they already know how to help themselves.
Good therapy will sometimes look like dance therapy, art therapy, music therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, emotional release therapy, role play, group work, inner work, meditation, yoga, psychoanalytic analysis, active imagination, dream work, symptom work and world work.
Michelle: "My philosophy is largely inspired by that of Dr. Arnold Mindell and Process-Oriented Psychology, of which I am currently a Diploma student. Process Oriented Psychology states that the solution to every problem or issue is already present and needs only to be uncovered and experienced. This is like saying we each of us have exactly the problems we were meant to solve."
(posted July 2005)