Monday, April 25, 2016

Healing Is More Than Intellect

Maribeth knows a lot of things on psychological therapy. She reads books - both digital and non-digital, that makes her sound like a seasoned phD psychologist when she speaks. Almost each day, she smokes, drinks, and rages at her husband, kids, and house maids.

Maribeth has a well-kept secret: she's a sex addict who's into pornography and multiple encounters of casual sex with other men. Nobody knows. She's having a nervous breakdown lately and was about to jump from the 5th floor of a friend's condominium. Then, for whatever reason, she decided to seek help.

As I've always pointed out to myself and others, "healing is more than intellect." So I think it's safe to say there's a lot of information and resources out there, and people ask me all the time why they're still not healing and changing. Honestly, most of what I say to them boils down to this: knowing is never enough, you need to experience what you know. I wish it were more complicated or mystical than that, but it's not. 

That's been my repeated impasse with my patients in my psychotherapy practice for some time now. Recovery indeed can not be achieved by our intellect alone. This is why I focus so much on what motivates people to actually experience healing and change. I don't think it's mainly a matter of having the right tools or doing it the right way. I think it usually comes down to just doing itApplying knowledge, experiencing what the mind comprehends.  

Recovery is like learning to ride a bicycle. When you accept the chronic nature of your underlying condition, you begin to understand the metaphor of bicycle riding. You don't experience riding your bicycle just by knowing its parts or reading about how to ride it in the Wikipedia or the Kindle books. You step into an actual use of the bicycle, get the hang of pedaling and balancing, and experience first-hand the sense of freedom and balance that one feels riding it.



With therapy or counseling and healing groups, you experience love, acceptance, direction, or guidance you need from others in order to truly see how to apply and experience knowledge to your wounds or condition. While a bicycle is usually built for one person, the nature of therapy or recovery  and working the steps is relational. In that context, the wisdom and safety of the steps in healing continue to unfold and are experienced as one applies them to life's challenges -- one day at a time.

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