Psycho-spiritual Counseling

The Well of Grief
David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.

The quality of one's life is demonstrated in each choice one makes. Frequently we find ourselves in a familiar pattern of affirming our fears. Often times these patterns are unconscious and remain unconscious because we are enacting them every day such that we have confused these habits with who we are. We have confused our essential self with the defenses we have created to protect that self. Affirming life is dependent upon one's ability to see what is essential about one's life.

Perhaps our work is to end our flight from primitive fears and learn that it is not our fears that are the problem but the fleeing itself. Perhaps in the end this simply translates into refining one's ability to listen to one's self and to others. Sometimes that means being able to be quiet so that what needs to be heard can be heard. Put simply, I believe our spiritual work is to come home to ourselves.

How we approach life and our relationships is, in part, dictated by our entire life history. Therefore all of your life experience may be explored in pastoral counseling. The goal of discovering one's essential nature is common to both Psychoanalytic and Spiritual literature. It is, I believe, the central theme and aim of both disciplines.

You may be wondering how Pastoral Counseling, differs from a more traditional psychotherapeutic process. One measure is that psychotherapy is a treatment by an expert for a person with an illness or pathology. I do not regard the work I will be offering you a treatment, for the simple reason that spiritual issues are not illnesses and facing spiritual dilemmas is not the same as treating a pathology. You will not be diagnosed. Rather we will mutually explore the habituated defensive patterns, see them for what they are, so that the choices you make affirm your life not your fears.