Psychotherapy and Humanism
Copyright © 2009 by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D.  ·  All Rights reserved  ·  E-Mail: ragrossman@voicelessness.com
If you had asked me twenty years ago what psychotherapy was about, I would have responded with abstract concepts:  transference, countertransference, projection, identification, good enough mothering, neutrality.  I had excellent training in psychoanalytic therapy at a world-renowned institution, and I learned the technical aspects of my profession well.  But while I do not regret my professional start, life has taught me something much different about the work that, along with my family and dear friends, gives my life meaning.

First of all, everyone suffers—some much more than others, certainly.  During our life, we all face losses—family, friends, our youth, our dreams, our looks, our livelihoods.  There is no shame in suffering; it is part of being human.  You can be certain you are not the only person on your block who is awake at 2:30 in the morning worried about losing something important to them.  Of course therapists suffer, too.  Therapists see therapists for therapy, who see other therapists, who see other therapists, and so on.  At the end of this therapy chain is not one person who is supremely happy or confident, but rather, someone who, at times, has problems like the rest of us, and perhaps rues the fact that there is no one more senior he or she can talk to.

Second, while there are important psychological differences among us (between men and women, people with different diagnoses, etc.), and the daily challenges we face due to prejudice, bigotry, or discrimination differ, for the most part we are more similar than dissimilar.  Fundamentally, we all want to be seen, heard, appreciated, and we protect ourselves as best we can if this does not occur.  In many of the essays on this site I talk about the ways we protect ourselves, and what happens when our defenses fail.  We all strive for voice, for agency, and not to feel helpless.  Life

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Voicelessness and Emotional Survival

Psychotherapy and Humanism
Voicelessness and
Emotional Survival