dragon 15 Aug 2017

Anxiety / Therapy

Apparently Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher, warned against knowing too much. ‘Beware dreadful understanding’ is, I think, the English translation of what he thought.

He wasn’t so much talking politically; what he was saying was that understanding too much doesn’t allow for the magic of not knowing enough!

We are all ultimately a mystery even, even perhaps especially, to ourselves. That’s why people sometimes seek out a psychotherapist. To try to understand themselves more fully. By paying a professional to help them for a while in this process of theirs they trust another person to get to know them differently from the way in which they know themselves, to understand them and know them in ways that that they themselves perhaps have not done before coming into therapy. And to do so in a kind, and understanding manner.

A psychotherapist is therefore a servant to the person who pays her or him for views and perspectives which in themselves and at the end of the day are just different, that’s all.

If a psychotherapist doesn’t know that the more s/he knows the more s/he knows how little s/he knows then perhaps s/he shouldn’t be practising!

It’s true that insight is the common currency of the different psychotherapeutic approaches but, in itself, insight does nothing to help a person change or get past a problem troubling them. It is good to be curious and interested, but we also have to come to terms with what we cannot know or understand.

In the creation myth Adam and Eve famously ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. It left them feeling, cold and hungry and scared. Paradise lost. A good rule of thumb is that certainty can be awful, harsh and uncompromising’.

To be human is to be uncertain. This is a main reason why psychotherapists deeply respect the courage of their patients in asking for help.

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

For more information on Carrie, visit: surreycentreforcounselling.com/theteam/

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