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Healing Function in Psychotherapy

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The healing function in psychotherapy is crucial to both the client and the therapist. The way I understand the healing function is several aspects in the therapy room that serve as a healer. This could be between the therapist and the client, something that heals within the client, or another factor that helps them heal something else they may not have expected was damaged in the first place. I understand that healing in the therapy room is crucial; in psychotherapy healing helps people integrate and emotionally release stresses and traumas that have been suppressed for long periods of time. The healing in the psychotherapy process helps bring the emotions to the surface and replace the hurt with acceptance and occasionally love.

From my clinical experience, I feel that human suffering is an essential part of life. If everyone went through life without having to feel pain, everyone would be numb and blind to the real world around them. I do not know if I can fully understand suffering because everyone has a different suffering experience. We all use different ways to cope and handle suffering and that is what gives suffering a side of beauty and uniqueness. Once we come out of our tragic experiences, we feel stronger and powerful as if we defeated the pain. Suffering is necessary for soul care, it creates growth and some see it as a rite of passage.

I know in my own personal therapy I have healed several aspects of my past wounds and it is in large part to the therapist directing me in the right direction with their open ended questions. I believe the therapist serves as a healer, the client contributes to their own personal healing, and the therapy room is another healer. The frame is important to the client's experience because it helps them feel held and safe in the provided space. For some clients I have experienced that there is also spiritual healing within the therapy room as well.

I feel Gestalt's approach to psychotherapy is a great way to heal clients. I love the here and now aspect of therapy and when my client talks about their pain I focus on where the pain is in their body and I do breathing exercises and other techniques to help the client release their pain in a healing way. I find this gives my clients some sort of release and they feel better while we work on the underlying problem. When the client and I work out the stressor I find the tension in the room frees up and the client is overcome with a great sense of relaxation, they let out a sigh or they deepen into their chair to relax.

In the beginning of my traineeship I was not exactly sure of how to hold the tension in the room and I was stressed myself. Now I find when both the client and therapist can relax and allow the healing to occur, it allows for a more open understanding rather than when the mind is at work because that is when the healing comes to a standstill. I was curious to understand healing so much in the beginning that when I tried to push the healing my client was not as open to sharing because I realized I was not fully engaged. Healing happens naturally, it is not something I can control or make happen.

I brought up the concept of healing in my supervision group for my traineeship, many struggled with the concept that healing could not heal in the way a massage or medicine does. There is not deliberate length of time for which the healing must take, it is more rather in a controlled manner that takes time and patience. Healing seems to occur when certain conditions are present, but we have yet to identify all of the relevant factors. Probably, even if we succeed in identifying most or all of them, I will still have difficulty controlling many of them. Healing is a state of being in which one's mind is centered on the intent to help another person. Healing involves an unconditionally accepting, loving awareness of the person one is with. It brings one to feel one is part of a larger awareness. Sue and Sue explain that in the "United States counseling and psychotherapy are the predominant psychological healing methods" (Sue, D., & Sue, D., 2008, p.219). My effort to keep the healing function in my work is a great effort because the healing function cannot be forced on a client it must happen naturally. If the healing function is pushed in any way the client cannot have their own experience.

The text explains that the contributions of healing in the therapy room are not only valuable because they can be used with any situation but also because they may be used with any client because it works with multiple belief systems (Sue, D., & Sue, D., 2008, p.225). A time when I had to use my helping role at my traineeship was with my thirteen year old male client. He is of Hispanic origin, catholic, and wounded on the inside. My client was working to be independent and get along with his mother at home, we had met for many sessions and he suggested that we start having sessions with his mother which derailed a lot of our work and did more harm than healing. When we all got together she would not let him say one word and she brought papers in her purse to show me he was a bad kid.

Jung says that "the present day shows with appalling clarity how little able people are to let the other man's argument count, although this capacity is a fundamental and indispensable condition for any human community" (Jung, C.G., 1958/1960, p.89). When I brought the mother into the session, my clients healing was put on hold because the mother yelled at him and told him how he did everything wrong all of the



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