Psychoanalysis as a part of the work I do has always held a sort of creative tension for me. On the one hand, I love nothing better than a deep exploration into the experience of being human. On the other hand, I feel a deep responsibility to honor my clients’ time, commitment, and resources by helping them set and achieve the goals that brought them to my door. Plus, to be perfectly honest, the science of behavior change and integrative medical practices just really gets me excited.
My clients seem to appreciate my approach as I’ve lost count of how many times a client has said to me, “The last person I saw just smiled and nodded and asked me how I felt about everything…I really like the way you and I work together.”
It’s easy for me to get caught up in that sort of feedback, feel affirmed that I am hitting all the sweet spots, and charge ahead. Yet today…as so often happens when I devour my latest copy of the The Sun Magazine, I was re-reminded of the art behind the science.
The following is an excerpt from an interview of Gary Greenberg, practicing psychotherapist and “humble pest” of a mental health reporter.
“People come to therapy because their life circumstances have somehow disrupted the the story they tell themselves about who they are. But even then the healing isn’t only about the new story we fashion. It’s about the intimacy…Freud said that psychoanalysis is a ‘cure through love’, and I think that is essentially correct. The love is conveyed not so much in the content as in the form: the rapt attention of someone who cares enough to interrogate you. The love stows away in the conversation.”
Another way to say it could be:
THE LOVE STOWS AWAY IN THE CONVERSATION
What an absolutely beautiful sentence.
No matter what new information or technique I learn, my work is science, yes, AND ALSO the intricate artistry of focused curiosity, exquisite attention, active dialogue, and love. May I never forget it. And, wherever I go, may love always be stowed away in the conversation.