relationship 19 Aug 2017


In my last blog, in valuing uncertainty, I was not trying to say we shouldn’t try to know things, just that we should not lose our curiosity and uncertainty about them. It is certain, for example, that no-one, young or old or in between, should ever be abused.

True relationship with others is all about respecting them. The respect of psychotherapists for their patients or clients is another absolute when it comes to relating with and to them. Without respect we cannot go with them to the darker places in their hearts and minds where sometimes they have no respect for themselves.

And, of course, there are so many different kinds of relationship which we can bring to psychotherapy to respect (from the Latin: re – again, and spectare – to look). The way we can partner others, wife them, husband them, sister them, brother them, baby them or be babied by them; witness them, ignore them, subjugate ourselves in relation to them, dominate them, fear them, make them frightened, desire them, soothe them, empower them, feel repulsed by them etc etc.,.

How we relate to others is the stuff of life, part of the essential stuff of what it means to be a human being in particular. Of course, we want to be nice to others. Most of us anyway, but to pay people the respect they are due, we need to relate to and with them, regardless of whether that is a close relationship with a loved one, or the ‘kindness of strangers’ to someone we don’t really know.

And the different kinds of relationship we offer others bring with them different kinds of effects on us back from them in terms of how they relate to us.

Not to take anything or anyone, including ourselves, for granted is therefore certainly a good thing. Respect in our relationships is essential.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

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