Quote from "What is Psychotherapy"
"A defense of emotional honesty has nothing to do with high-minded morality. It is ultimately cautionary and egoistic. We need to tell ourselves a little more of the truth because we pay too high a price for our lies. Through our deceptions, we cut ourselves off from possiblities of growth. We shut off large portions of our minds and end up uncreative, tetchy and defensive, while others around us have to suffer our irritability, gloom, manufactured cheerfulness or defensive rationalizations. Our neglect of the awkward sides of ourselves buckles our very being, emerging as insomnia or impotence, stuttering or depression; revenge for all the thoughts we have been so careful not to have. Self- knowledge is not a luxury so much as a preconditon for a measure of sanity and inner comfort.
pg 33 What Is Psychotherapy , School of Life
This little orange book was recommended to me recently and it describes with great accuracy the work I do in my office. The quote above articulates why we must know ourselves. It describes why we need to look at ourselves, our pasts and our relationships to understand ourselves more fully. When we don't take the time to look at ourselves more deeply, we continue on with life, where we are not awake to understanding why we do certain things and feel certain ways. We get irritable from something little, we get angry at odd times or don't understand why we can't seem to enjoy being with that person we love. We are not free and don't understand why.
We start off in life with very little control to change our surroundings. So we find strategies to help us manage and maneuver through childhood. These strategies are brilliant when we are children and help us survive difficult circumstances or people. At some point though, these strategies end up becoming outdated. They no longer work in the same way and instead can hurt us. They begin to keep us from what we really want and the ability to use our sense of agency. For years we can lie to ourselves- saying "I can handle this" and "I can figure things out on my own". But the cost of this lie is high. This is where Psychotherapy can be incredibly helpful. It allows us to see these strategies with more clarity and look at why we have them; where they developed from. It can be harsh and terrifying to see the truth of our lives and story. The process moves quickly but also excruciatingly slow at times as we name our pain. Yet, as we gain understanding we are able to learn new ways of being in the world and in relationships. This is not for only those of us with trauma or terrible childhoods. Nor is it something to skip over if you had a picture perfect childhood. It is a journey that every human can and should go on. The end goal is, as the book describes, self-knowledge that gives us a measure of sanity and inner comfort (which unfortunately, no other person, nor money nor power can give to us in a lasting way).
If you are interested in purchasing this book go to the School of Life website or contact me.
I have copies for sale ($15) in my office.
Kimberly Simpson, a native of New Jersey, graduate of Wheaton College and resident of Nashville. Married and mother of three children. Lover of the ocean, gardens, yoga, cooking and travel.