Psychotherapy – The Courage to Redefine

In using the term “Courage”, there is a recognition that any process of emotional growth often takes courage on the part of an individual truly engaged in the process.  Courage is sometimes required to see and do things in new ways, to proceed differently and challenge ingrained beliefs about ourselves and others in the change process.  Courage is also needed to engage in psychotherapy, if psychotherapy is truly to be effective.  Finding a therapist who can engage a patient on a level that meets their resistance to change allows the individual to challenge themselves in a way that will very often require courage.

Courage is the willingness to see more clearly, to abandon preconceptions that bound us to shallow repetitions that sustained a state of inertia.  There is often an awareness that we could be doing things differently: that we can relate to others differently, speak our minds and our hearts.  We also hold some belief that, by doing so, our lives will somehow change for the better.  Our relationships will change, we’ll feel more fulfilled, life will get better.  For this reason, therapy, or some form of healing art is often sought.  The belief is often that, the therapist, by virtue of their skills, training and compassion, will find a way to help us learn an answer that will move us forward.  Likewise, the belief of an external answer motivates a person to purse other forms of healing arts.  However, the belief is often accompanied by the idea or hope that an answer will be provided for us as long as we participate.

Similarly, there is often the hope that another person will provide the answers for us in a relationship yet to be realized or attained.  The hope is that meeting the right person will change us, as if an individual would instinctively know and address our needs and relieve our internal strife.

Courage in this usage means a willingness to think differently. The courage to self-examine and move forward in new ways should truly be regarded as a courageous endeavor and one we ay have avoided so well and so long.  One can engage the right therapist, group, healing art, friend or lover.  But, this kind of courage requires the abandonment of the wait for an external solution and replacing it with the willingness to engage an individual or group with an openness that lets us view ourselves, in alternative ways, at any point in our relationships.

Courage is the willingness to abandon the idea that we have been cheated or deprived, and that, somehow, we will and must be repaid.

In the examination or inventory of our own histories, we often point to a sense of deprivation or deep-routed hurt in childhood or past relationships.  There can be no denial of the suffering that childhood neglect or abuse can be so damaging so as to adversely and permanently effect a person’s functioning.  Past trauma is too often relived in relationships.  Successful healing involves the willingness to separate the past from present experiences in the accompanying belief that they may be different or healthy.  In this way, the individual is encouraged to interact differently and not proceed with the assumption that a repeat of the trauma is likely, if not imminent.

However, the anger that can naturally accompany the realization that one was deprived or abused often comes with the sense that the individual as victim has some form of retribution owed them for their suffering.  There may well be a belief that others must compensate for their hurt:  a hurt inflicted by a person or persons far in their past.  To proceed from such an assumption generally results in a continuous sense of failure of others, of a relationship, which was supposed to provide for the deprivation or somehow, make restitution for past abuses.  However, the other(s) that the individual engages for such a task may not be aware of the expectations imposed upon them and/or incapable of performing the daunting task of repair.  In such instances, the relationship holds an un-articulated agenda which is rarely, if ever, fulfilled.

Likewise, courage is also the idea of being open to being expansive

The term “expansive” refers to the idea of widening our array of perceptions and beliefs that allows for more enriching interactive experiences.  Essentially, expanding our view of ourselves, of others, of how we see others and how we believe others see us.



psychoanalysisTo reconsider our positions,
To choose another way of being that
Allows for the authentic participation of others.
And, while we may not be able to sustain
That alternative way of being,
We are willing to return to that place,
Openly accepting the help of others to do so.
And recognizing if we need to.
Courage also is the idea of not waiting for The Messiah,
For he always arrives a day later than you need him anyway.
Courage is the willingness to develop
Our own Messiah within ourselves,
And not expect him to do it right the first time,
But to have the courage to see how he might do it better next time.
The courage to relate may be the greatest courage we’ll ever summon.
In the end, this courage brings clarity
As well as the delight in knowing that our journey is far from over.

The Image

The photo image is an invitation to allow emotion, reaction and feeling to be evoked.

The image is more than just an image, but a representation of the photographer’s response to what they witnessed and felt which prompted them to “click”.  Any artist must be open to emotion as their work proceeds as emotion drives the creative flow.  If it is inhibited, arrested or elsewhere, then the resulting artwork may be  less than genuine as it was not inspired but driven by other perceptions and beliefs.  The degree of  authenticity in how one proceeds in art , as well as life, will dictate the richness and fullness of the outcome.

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