During my spiritual direction training, I was fascinated to learn that some of my colleagues had been working with the same spiritual director for many years–in some cases, many decades. I felt a pang of longing when I heard that; what would it be like to have someone witness the unfolding of another’s spiritual journey over a long period of time? What a gift to have a resting place for the soul like that.
And what a stark, stinging contrast to the contemporary psychotherapy model, which by industry standards seems to be more about brief symptom management. There is still a powerful stigma about long term psychotherapy, with judgment or disdain about dependency, often with little understanding about the time, pacing, care and patience that is often needed for deep healing. It is also true that short term therapy can actually be very helpful for people–I’m not advocating one over the other. I’m simply saying that we need new paradigms that offer compassion and support, not criticism and contempt.
A client once referred to me as her personal trainer, and I felt honored by that statement. After a long period of frequent sessions, eventually she tapered off and would have occasional appointments for “maintenance.” Now, years later, I will receive an occasional phone call or email letting me know how she’s doing. It was the long history and foundation of trust that allowed that to happen.
Coaches, spiritual directors, mentors, even hairdressers serve such an important role in people’s lives, with very little criticism from others. If I could cut my own hair, would I be willing to let go of the time spent every six weeks with my talented, funny, caring hairstylist?Look what happens to the scale when love holds it. It stops working. -Kabir