12 June 2007

Happiness

The 4 Noble Truths of the Buddha begin with “Life is Suffering.” In the west, we don’t really buy that, though we do seek pleasure an awful lot for people who don’t suffer. But let’s just say that we acknowledge that we suffer, what then? Eating? Shopping? Sex? Gambling? The list goes on.

One of the resources available for working with our suffering in an effective way is the much misunderstood practice of “therapy”. Through movies and Freud and the lurking shadows of how we as a society have historically treated the mentally ill, the role of “therapist” has become somehow a symbol for the past and its struggles, rather than for new possibilities and growth.

In my practice, I seek to work with people so that we can become happier in their lives and communities. Period. I do this by listening, giving feedback and tools, listening, drawing their attention to the moment, listening, and, listening. The gift of therapy truly goes both ways. Having it be your job to engage with others in a way that is both real and helpful is a wonderful experience. It is my hope that as we move through the issues we are having about mental health in the public arena, that some re-thinking of what it is for all of us, and the tools we have to work with it, will be engaged.
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