In my book, Waking Up, I maintain that Integral psychotherapists cultivate compassion and depth of consciousness to co-create healing cultures with their clients. Depth of consciousness means understanding people within the many contexts of their lives, including the altitudes they typically inhabit on a variety of developmental lines like the self, interpersonal, parenting, morals, psychosexual, and integration-of-defenses lines. With deeper consciousness in my clients and myself comes felt responsibilities to help all those contexts, but with varying degrees of urgency.
Marriage is a garden: a couple’s friendship, love affair, and repair of injuries nurtures the marital garden
Have you ever had a garden? You love it, tend it, water it, and shape it like the work of art it is. When you do, your garden becomes beautiful and fruitful, delivering whatever you desire—beauty, pleasure, rest, nourishment, purpose—a complex living system to love and cherish. People invest more time and money in gardening than any other hobby in America.
I’ve looked with interest at the rise of coaching as a discipline over the last twenty-five years. I love the movement and admire all the men and women who are called to help others in their lives. People are by nature social, and everything we do, any developmental progress we make, involves intimate connections with other people, and we all do better with wise guidance.
Integral theory is a meta-theory that creates a scaffolding within which all other theories are organized. Integral psychotherapy is any therapy that takes into account a global understanding of the Kosmos. Objective/subjective, individual/collective, states of consciousness, lines of development, stages of development, spiritual/temporal, and types of individuals are core dimensions of Integral understanding. Any healing approach that practically utilizes these perspectives as cross-validating, mutually influencing forces is by definition Integral psychotherapy.
The loss of erotic polarity during intimate bonding is one of the main complaints of couples entering therapy. I’ve found many men and women to be shocked at the idea that erotic polarity is a responsibility that can be consciously taken on and improved by knowledge of masculine/feminine aspects/essence, and the principles of masculine presence and feminine radiance.
Self-conscious is usually some version of feeling embarrassed in front of an invisible audience — an audience just waiting to find us ridiculous or unattractive. We dress for the invisible audience. We feel judged by the invisible audience. We feel humiliated in front of the invisible audience…you get the picture.
Sexism is a wicked problem–meaning it has many components and needs to be addressed from multiple directions. I believe the answers to sexism involve understanding others and ourselves more deeply and determining our responsibilities for solving the problems of sexism. In this process, our own destructive Shadow–our own sexism invisible to us–is the hardest to deal with.
I’ve found it useful to have chairs my clients and I can maneuver during the session, either on wheels or chairs you can easily slide. In my office, I have three armchairs on wheels, and other chairs I can bring in for family and group sessions. Each session then takes on a unique shape, depending upon how you and your clients position yourselves before and during the session.