Contrary to popular belief, psychotherapy is not aimed at giving advice. The real job of psychotherapy is to create a collaborative space in which you can safely explore the known and unknown parts of yourself. This process of self-discovery and healing involves both your internal experience of yourself as well and your external, or interactional experience with others. Our relationships often reflect our internal struggles and are therefore a vital part of the therapy process. There are various approaches to psychotherapy. I tailor make psychotherapy using horses to each person’s specific needs. You can read more about my approach on the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy page.
In South Africa with its increasing demands, coupled with our high expectations of ourselves, we tend to run out of time to attend to ourselves in a gentle and compassionate way. In these stressful conditions, not only do we abandon ourselves and our needs, but we lose our innate curiosity about ourselves and the human condition. Other factors such as trauma, the loss of someone close to us, marital conflict, life changes and burn out get in the way of our curiosity about ourselves and life.This leads to increasing stagnation in personal growth to the point where one is operating on auto-pilot and relationships become unsatisfying, mechanical and hostile. This is usually why therapy is sought after. Heidegger captures this point accurately:
“It is only when machinery breaks down that we become aware of its functioning.”
However, therapy is not only for those who are experiencing psychological problems. Therapy can also be essential for growth, self-actualization and optimizing our experience of ourselves and our relationships. This is why therapy can be the most important gift you can give yourself which is captured beautifully by Kazantzakis when he advises that we live life so completely that:
“ we leave death nothing but a burnt out castle”