What Actually is Therapy?
Both therapy and self-therapy are forms and methods of healing that imply a certain methodology, a certain strategy to bring about results. For example, psychoanalysis as conceptualized by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung is the analysis of one’s dream life, and the dialogue with the therapist that uses free associations to find out clues as to the meaning of the dreams. Freud was reserved as to the effectiveness of self-therapy, but the irony is that he himself coined psychotherapy exactly as self-therapy as it was through the analysis of his own dreams, not dreams of his patients, that he invented it. And he himself, ironically so, was never psychoanalyzed!
This is important to note for it will rehabilitate the use of self-therapy in its full potential effectiveness.
Let’s say I have a negative self-image and negative expectations that work out as negative experiences. What happens is that these two patterns of my psyche are mutually reinforcing themselves. I need to change radically. This is not easy and needs a lot of self-discipline. I have to question virtually every assumption I am making during the day. I see that most are wrong. It’s painful to realize that.
All people need positive encouragement. Some criticism also is helpful if it is given positively and received positively. No pure method contains all the truth. Most people need a mixed approach, or let’s say, a tailored approach. A good psychiatrist does that quite intuitively, as I know from experience. A good psychiatrist doesn’t throw a method over the head of the client. He tailors an approach for this specific client. So we have to do the same in self-coaching.
We cannot just sit and wait and blame a late parent who may not have been adequate. The problem here is that even if you have a different attitude than mainstream psychology and you responsibilize yourself, on the level of the unconscious, you follow the wrong pattern, in that you have adopted the ‘inadequacy pattern’ on that level. To get over it and change it, you need to do some kind of self-therapy or therapy that involves the unconscious. I did it with the help of a dream therapy, which is a legitimate approach, as both Freud and Jung did it and thereby discovered the power of what then was termed ‘psychoanalysis.’ It is nothing but that in fact.
Typically, once the pattern is conscious it loses the power over you, which means you have gained or regained control. Besides, other techniques are available, depending on your personal preferences. The pattern changes simply by the fact to forgive all people for the bad they did to you and to forgive yourself for all the bad you did to others.
Once you communicate to your subconscious mind a firm will to change, it will show you exactly what you have to change, it will guide you along the way, it will give you feedback constantly. When you fall back in the old pattern, be it only by repeating the same thought patterns in your mind, you will receive a dream that shows you that you are in the old trap again and you can correct your thinking once again.
We are patterns within greater patterns, systems within greater systems. Even within us are different ecosystems, and there are spirits which are guiding the various body functions, also the psyche. These spirits are responsive. When you deny them by fostering a materialistic worldview they are not going to manifest, but in that case, they also cannot help with advice and support.
These spirits need to be in harmony. This means that if you experience inner turmoil and offend others, you offend one or several of those spirits, which are then fighting each other. The result is a disintegration of the psyche with the ultimate result, if this goes on for years, that you may become schizophrenic.
When you realign with the natural morality of the cosmos, the spirits begin to forgive and to being supportive again. They will signal this through dreams, it is also felt subtly in the body through a sort of revitalization and a sudden insight that—surprisingly so— you suddenly don’t need what your were addicted to for so long, whatever it is. A new sense of freedom, to express it more generally.
Catharsis is a common element or episode in all therapy and self-therapy. It is the honest facing of your wrong actions and resulting regrets and more or less strong guilt feelings that can lead to a time of depression and a feeling to being ‘humiliated.’ Indeed, as the saying goes, humility often comes through humiliation, especially when such humiliation is not inflicted by others but by self, namely by your sincere effort to improve oneself. The dictionary defines catharsis as ‘the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.’ This is correct.
True happiness is the result, and only the result of constant alignment with what is right, which means that one’s decision to practice goodness is unwavering. This is really the only way in my experience. This also explains why children are typically more happy than adults; it’s simply because they are more generally in alignment with what is right and good, not yet corrupted into the paths of mundane behavior with all its cunning strategies.
In other words, happiness is the result of constant and uninterrupted inner peace. How to bring about this inner peace? By living correctly. That means thinking, talking and acting correctly. There must be virtue on all three levels.
Many people are not aware that they affect others and self by their thoughts, and that thinking is material in the sense that it can affect others. The truth is that when you think about a person, you enter an invisible connection with that person and depending on the nature of your thoughts, the person receives something, or is influenced in a subtle manner.
For example, feelings of anger projected that way upon others can weaken their health and wellbeing. In the same way, if you think that others are your subordinates, because you suffer from a hangup with arrogance (as a shield against natural bonding), you may trigger feelings of inadequacy in these persons. However, when you think empowering thoughts and wish others success and happiness in your thoughts, they are positively influenced and as a result they will like you more. They also will trust you more.
Trust is a process, it needs to be built gradually. Every step in this process is important, and it can either build more trust or diminish trust between you and that other person. The way you are thinking about that person is essential in this process. You shall be trusted more when you send the other person thoughts of confidence, empowerment and good wishes, generally.
Happiness is built like trust, that is, gradually. This is not so for children because they do not need to rebuilt happiness, as they have not yet lost it, at least most children. What I am saying here is addressed toward all those who have gone through a bleak childhood and have pretty much lost trust in others, and in life. In their process of rebuilding trust with people and with life, they need to go step by step, and be very attentive as to every little step they make to progress. By the same token, they need to be very attentive to not step back in the old pattern, and thus they do need to carefully observe their thoughts and if necessary, correct them immediately.
If for example you discover that you are cursing somebody in your thoughts with whom you wish to build trust, you need to immediately correct this thought by putting a positive thought behind. Do not criticize yourself for the negative thought or for falling back in the old habit! Self-criticism is not really constructive behavior, it leads actually to more negativity. So avoid it. Use the positive approach. Set behind the negative thought a positive one. Send the other person good health, love, happiness and prosperity, in your thoughts and do that constantly, without wavering in your attitude. You will see that this is a sure way for you and others to be more happy, for in a way our happiness also depends on making others happy! This is because we are all connected …
Now, this last section is written for materialists. Let me say that I respect materialists of course. I have no right to change anybody. And I do not believe in that spirituality thrown over the head of people has any great value. It has value only if it’s freely chosen, based upon a personal decision. Anyway, there is good and bad in all. There is something useful in materialism as it favors a critical mind; there is something useful in spirituality as it favors a peaceful mind. We need both. We need to be peaceful and critical. If we are credulous, we can become the prey of spiritual charlatans and magicians of all sorts who haunt the Internet with all their tricks and gimmicks that they sell for real money. There is lots of power abuse to be found within that realm of so-called spirituality. Beware of it!
This being said, to answer this simple question, often asked by materialists, ‘Do I need to be good in order to be happy’, the answer is a clear yes. Why?
Materialists will understand that when there is a law, there is hardly anything to do about it as it works without considering human opionion. Now, it really is a law that happiness is the result of goodness. It is a cosmic, universal law.
There is no happiness in wrongdoing, it brings about sadness, while often this sadness is hidden in material comfort. So the problem here is of course not material comfort but how we face it and how we bring it about, what means we use to bring it about.
What effect does this law have upon us humans? Its effect is karmic in the sense that it attracts us good or evil, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, happiness or sadness. It all depends on the nature of our facing the world, self, and others. If we face life with the correct attitude, thus by being essentially good and positive, we will be happy. If we are sluggish about attitude and the whole set of our thoughts, emotions and actions, we risk to attract sadness as a result. Behold, there is no ‘divine intention’ behind all this, there is no punishing fist that waits for you when you act wrongly, there is no retribution in the sense religions have made that up for their believers.
A law is a law, it acts predictably. There is nobody who judges you, except, if you will—you yourself! When you are driving your car, you are obeying to the laws of traffic. You will not consciously hurt any passengers who pass the street, aware of the destructive force of a car that hits a human being. So you will drive carefully. You will even drive around dogs.
In the same way, once you understand this mechanism, you will act properly, you will think properly and you will talk properly (and write properly) when you want to be happy. For you know that happiness will be the result of your good attitude, as it will trigger inner peace. And when you are really at peace, you are happy. Vice versa, when you are happy, you are really feeling peace with all beings. This is how goodness, inner peace and happiness are all interconnected.