Two steps back, is still progress right? At least movement.
In the therapy process we are looking for movement, doesn’t matter which direction. Movement shows struggle, shows vitality, shows emotional effort, even if in the seemingly negative direction.
Aristotle defines life as movement between contraries. If we are all composed of many parts, many contradictions, the movement of our attention and energy signals our soul in motion, alive and becoming. Like a designed work of art…
...”For a house is generated from objects which exist not in composition but are divided in a certain way, and likewise for a statue or anything that has been shaped from shapelessness; and what results in each of these are order in one case and composition in the other.
If, then, all this is true, everything that is generated or destroyed is so from or to a contrary or an intermediate. As for the intermediate, they are composed of contraries; the other colors, for example, are composed of white and black. Thus every thing which is generated by nature is a contrary or composed of contraries.”from Aristotle’s Physics, Book A
Therapists will recognize this as resonant with Internal Family Systems, grief and loss integration, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and other systems that are premised on behavior change by integrating internal opposition.
In working with a client, we as counselors or therapists are guiding the recognition and acceptance of conflicting emotions. Here is my question for my fellow counselors out there….
How do you as a therapist integrate a conflicting sense of relief and shame when a client goes inpatient?
As you can see, I am trying to intellectualize and hide in my happy place of philosophy. This is still difficult for me to digest. If feel like I go three steps forward and two steps back in these situations. I have to remind myself that movement is good regardless of direction.
What are your strategies in addition to talking with peers and supervisors for support as I am now?
Thank you for reading the long prelude to the question.
Hope you are fully alive with contradictions,