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In this world of greater contrast than ever before, we see more and more people seeking to heal.
The way we perceive society, in general, has changed over the past ten years, but of course, with an enhanced twist since the pandemic.
I say contrast because due to the situation we are experiencing, as there is an increase in the mental health field of demands and also offers. Unfortunately though, some people have chosen to take advantage of people’s despair, and the borders between who is what when it comes to “help” have been blurred.
Whether it’s on a physical, mental, or emotional level, when we need help, we have to be vigilant of the empathic capacities of our advisor.
Sometimes the difference between someone supporting us and someone trying to improve us can be blurry too.
If I want to improve my skills in Spanish, I will seek a professional who wants to take me from A to B with a relatively clear plan of progression. In the first week, they will note my current level and then work toward improving my skills over time.
Unless I have a specific trauma linked to the learning process in general or the Hispanic language in particular, there should be no resistance other than retaining new information in my mind.
However, suppose I am trying to heal something in any shape or form, and I’m seeking help from a mentor, teacher, therapist, coach (or whatever else exists today). In that case, it will become acutely clear to me where my resistance is if they are trying to improve me.
When there is trauma (and there can be for everyone because trauma isn’t about what happened but how we experienced it), our first step is to make amends with what is blocked inside of us from that point and on.
If someone is instead trying to move me from where I am to “where I should be,” my whole organism understands it as “return of the trauma.” Because trying to improve means that where I am now is not enough—it is not okay or acceptable.
When we heal from physical trauma, let’s say in a rehab facility, we want the body to find its way back to being stable before we go further than we were before the trauma. So, for example, if I have broken my leg, the rehab will not try to make me run a marathon but instead help the leg hold me up again once the wound has healed.
It’s the same with a yoga pose. Many think that yoga is about stretching. But that is not the case. If we want to practice yoga in a healthy way, we release the blockages in the body so that we can be comfortable in our own skin. So I can repeat the same pose every day without “stretching,” and over time, the tensions will release, and I will go deeper into the pose without forcing it. That is how we deal with trauma.
In the clinical situation, we do the same thing. We need to accept where we are at today to release the tensions. This is why it is never helpful to ask someone why they are depressed or even why they are stressed. Mostly, they don’t know the why, which is why they consult.
It is the job of the person they consult (the therapist, psychologist, counselor) not to help the person improve themselves, but instead to support where the person is today.
Only by supporting someone in their current situation can we create enough safety to accept themselves as they are, flaws and imperfections included. And the irony is that the “improving” happens naturally because when we accept what we are today, we can let go and move forward.