Richard Harvey - Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher

Richard Harvey

connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
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Psycho-Spiritual Psychotherapy and Spiritual Teaching: a Fragment of a Letter to a Spiritual Seeker Poised on the Edge of a Breakthrough

The psycho-spiritual therapist is a spiritual guide and healer. Is the therapist working for you? No, he is definitely not working for you. He is working with you. This is a joint practice, a sharing, a meeting. He is not the expert, you are the expert. He is not authoritative, although he may speak with authority. He does not ever tell you what you must do (although you may hear it that way), but he may give encouragements, guidance, direction. And yes, at times he will tell you when behavior—yours or another’s—is not alright, is unacceptable, or inappropriate.

Here is a difficult one too. This sharing, this relationship is unequal. As your guide, the therapist necessarily knows more than you. He has traversed the terrain, felt the inside of the dragon’s mouth, crawled over the cut-glass. He has been there. He will hold and contain you; he will provide the presence and the essential emptiness in which you are received ... recognized ... acknowledged and “seen” at last. You will feel amazing relief from this contact, from this connection, but you will struggle and fight against it. Sometimes you and he are polarized, sometimes it is easy between you, sometimes it’s casual, at other times formal. You experience the therapist-guide as distant and close, but you go on regardless. Faith and trust triumph. You will get there, never doubt it.

According to your tendency, the therapist-guide may be a temporary relationship for you. That’s alright. Remember though that if you have a tendency toward serial relationships or if you have a tendency toward single-minded monogamy and loyalty this will be reflected in the therapeutic relationship, because everything is reflected in it. This relationship is like no other; it is the mirror of your soul. And it will end.

When it ends you will feel overwhelming gratitude and respect, honor and reverence. You will look back on it as the way, the path, the means by which you have arrived at the authentic human existence and you will wonder why everyone doesn’t do it! Be accepting of everyone in their limitations, in their ignorance. While you don’t want to become a boring evangelist, you will want to find a way to express, to give back, to represent what you have discovered and to bring the sacred treasure of illumination into the community of souls you number among your friends, family and wider network. Surrender to the artistic impulse to express through your life, in your creative expressions, in your home, your relationship, work and family. Bring it in, be proud of it and yourself, and share it generously.

You find yourself now on the peaks of wisdom, on the precipice of intuition, on the mountain-tops of compassion. Knowledge and cleverness mean less to you—much less—than wisdom and direct, inner knowing. Quoting, referring to others’ wisdom, scholarship and knowledge per se mean less to you now. Poised on the edge of a breakthrough now I am sure you feel scared…underneath you are terrified. You want to hold on and want to let go. You want to argue and you want to accept. You want to fight and you want to surrender. Trust. All will be well.

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This article was published in Spiritual Guidance on in July 2012.

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