Psychotherapy as the Unfolding of Who You Are
Most of us do not live from our authentic self. The lack of acceptance that we have experienced from others leads us to feel that we are not good enough. We are trying to make ourselves over into what we think we should be in order to be loved. We also maintain a false self-image that has been constructed to compensate for a lack of self-worth. This false-self blocks the full expression of all that you are. Psychotherapy can lead you to recognize who you really are beneath the postures you have assumed and the facades that you have adopted to protect a self-image that is less than satisfying.
Psychotherapy can have many facets. At times I may offer practical suggestions on ways that you can improve your life, relationships, and way of relating to yourself. We may also work with processes to facilitate release from traumatic experiences in your past that are restricting your life today. One of the most important aspects of psychotherapy can be your experience of genuinely being listened to and unconditionally accepted. This provides a safe space in which neglected and rejected aspects of you can come forward to receive what they need to be integrated, so that you can be a whole person.
The best therapy goes beyond talking about our circumstances; it is experiential. In our sessions, you learn to open to a non-mental awareness, a felt sense of yourself in the moment. As you experience your felt sense, core issues reveal themselves as obstructions to your life force. Remaining present with your felt sense, you discover how to release fears, inhibitions, self-criticism, and constraining beliefs. The released energy that had been used to hold yourself together, transforms into dynamic presence. Rather than living from stress, you allow ease of being into your life. The depth of your being can be welcomed and known. You come to feel at home with yourself and the world.
I have found that one underlying factor: the experience of unconditional love is the real elixir or source of healing. True healing occurs when you fully recognize that you are surrounded by, imbued with, and not distinct from unconditional love. We can become aware of and established in the unreserved love that shines through all of our apparent circumstances and travails? This is what I am most interested in exploring together.
You may learn to be more loving to yourself or feel the liberating effect of a therapist’s unconditional positive regard. These are stepping-stones to an even more direct and complete recognition of unreserved love. We mistakenly think that we are the source of love. Unconditional love does not come from us; it comes through us. Unconditional love does not need to be brought forth anymore than we need to invoke the sun to rise each morning. It already underlies and pervades all that exists. This recognition completely transforms us.
Here is an example of how the presence of unconditional love can show up in a therapy session and cut through all of ones preoccupations:
I have a client from another country, so we meet using Skype. She is a single mother with two children and is in her thirties. As she talks to me she is panic-stricken, reacting to events in her life that feel threatening. She is caught up in her emotions.
In the past we have talked about what causes her to be so distraught, how she reinterpret what is happening in her life, and how she can calm herself through yogic breathing practices. But in this session I find the content of what she is talking about and even her emotionality to be less important than a quality that is present in the background. I am aware of a loving presence that surrounds her and permeates her in the midst of her distress. This loving presence is so palpable that I am moved to call her attention to it. I ask her if she can sense the nurturing quality that is here with her. After a brief time of sensing into the background of her experience, she acknowledges that she too feels this loving presence. I ask her to continue exploring this quality and how it is interacting with her distraught feelings. As we continue to explore the tender nurturing warmth spreads into the disturbed feelings and spontaneously provides relief.
We have become aware of the context or background to her experience and have allowed it to be in the foreground of awareness, nothing more. As the session ends she feels calm and centered. In subsequent sessions emotional imbalance sometimes returns and we engage in a similar process. As we repeat this practice over several therapy sessions she becomes increasingly able to be aware of this milieu and to live in awareness of it. Her tendency to become carried away by her fears decreases remarkably.
What I have described is not a therapeutic strategy. It is a spontaneous recognition that has come forth. A number of clients have been released from long standing dysfunctional patterns of thinking and reacting through this simple process of becoming aware of unconditional positive regard that accompanies them in all times and places. After many years as a psychotherapist I am finding that less is more, less trying to figure things out, less trying to help someone to change, less effort and more vulnerability to what is already unfolding.
Working with Dr. Allan Ajaya has changed my life. The caring, loving, compassionate presence of him let me explore myself on another level than ever before. The new possibilities opening because of our work together has offered me an easier, richer, deeper, more connected life. I would recommend him to people who are interested in a more fulfilled, abundant, and connected way of living.
I am a psychotherapist, supervisor for other therapists, and an administrator in mental health. I have been working with Dr. Ajaya for several years and have benefited in so many ways. A current throughout our work is his deep acceptance of 'what is' and nurturing that acceptance in me. At the same time, he is playful and creative in helping me explore ways to change patterns, to dance the dance of suffering in new ways. He is deeply intuitive and empathic. He has also been extraordinarily flexible and open in helping me with a very wide range of issues. These range from everyday problems at work to identity exploration to spiritual opening. He has guided me in tuning in to natural well-being, which has helped me realize it is available to all of us. I highly recommend him to anyone --especially those interested in acceptance of self and discovery of the Self.