Co-Journeyers to a Client’s True Self
If you know me, you know that books were my first love. I spent my initial decade of life homeschooled and while friends were in short supply, I was ever-accompanied by stories. Now as an adult with a few more relationships, the stacks of books still litter the house and my eyesight continues to worsen from late-night reads. In recent years I’ve fallen in love with John O’Donohue’s work. His compilation of blessings, “To Bless the Space Between Us” holds a few lines that have stayed with me as I consider the intersectionality between Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB), the therapist’s role, and the client’s journey of becoming. He writes:
“May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide
Who can accompany you through the fear and grief
Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.”
As I consider the therapist’s role as a companion and co-journeyer with a client on the returning to their “true self,” I feel the muscles around my eyes relax and my breathing deepen. We do not create a client’s true self – it’s something they already have, and have had, within them all along. They simply needed safety and relationship to return there.
How might the phrase a “compassionate guide” lend itself to embodying regulation in your therapy space? Can you carry the felt sense of both the ease in radical presence, and the weight that comes with the sacred honor to witness our client’s “fear and grief”?
*To read the full excerpt, see “For Someone Awakening to the Trauma of His or Her Past: To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue”