Mutual Expectations in Psychotherapy
At Integral Psychotherapy, the therapeutic experience is a collaboration between client and therapist. By establishing a relationship based on trust, the collaboration allows the client to openly and freely explore their psychological challenges, with the therapist acting as a guide, teacher, and facilitator. However, this relationship is mutual -- both sides must be willing to be vulnerable to the truths that emerge. Both parties learn from each other, moving towards a resolution of psychological challenges, but without the therapist being responsible for somehow "fixing" the client.
For the client, this means opening to emotional intimacy -- exploring and speaking about issues that have never been verbalized to others. For the therapist, this means being absolutely receptive and uncritical in hearing the client, and offering emotional and cognitive support where it is needed. Mutual honesty is critical for this to occur.
It is difficult to achieve change solely within the therapy session. This often means specific homework assignments (e.g. listening to and practicing hypnotic practices, workbook reading), and, as much as possible the adoption of some meditative practice based on the client's desires and abilities. The practice may range from a few minutes per day to longer meditation sittings. We emphasize meditative practices as they help lower overall activation (e.g. anxiety), improve emotional stability, establish a sense of equanimity and most importantly, integrate spirituality and compassion as part of the client's outlook. These, along with resolving psychological issues, help move the client to what is most important -- freedom from suffering.