Is psychotherapy just talk?

Psychotherapy is known as “talk cure.”

A process of talking things through when faced by life’s wounds and challenges.

In reality, it’s beyond talk.

Fact is that nobody gets healed or whole by mere talking.

Something goes deeper than talking in psychotherapy.

I once worked with an attractive woman who sounded like an expert psychologist.

She read a lot on psych and can espouse even complicated concepts about how the mind works.

Yet despite her knowledge and talks in our sessions, she remained the same.

Only to return swiftly to her old ways of verbally/physically abusing and manipulating her husband and little kids.

Then back in our sessions, she’d be quite a different persona.

Looks familiar?

Have you ever tried to change like her by talking things through, only to end up doing the same old things in the same old ways?

Here is something I want you to fully see and understand.

From a biological perspective, change does not take place with mere talking and knowing.

Note that even the brightest people in the world fall into self destructive behavior.

So the answer could not lie in intellectual reasoning.

Transformation happens in a Process.

Fundamental change occurs experientially, not informationally.

In the “talk cure” I do, a major part of the beyond is in the releasing to make it experiential.

We learn and develop life habits emotionally.

Therefore, we can only come to true healing by releasing emotionally. With authentic awareness and depths.

It’s a new education. A re-education of the damaged self into wholeness.

The Psychology Of Aging Well

It can sound rude to ask a person his or her age. In a world of youth-centric societies and media, a lot who are aging may take offense. Psychologically and emotionally, some people are simply not ready to accept or feel proud being a “senior citizen.”

One time, I was crossing a street where I saw a “multi-colored” woman. Her face was filled with lipstick and makeups. Dressing in a miniskirt with rainbow colors, topped by shining jewelry, she walked the street like a teenager. The thing is, her facial features and physique showed obvious signs of her age. She’s possibly around age 60 or 65 – a senior citizen who appears like an adult teenager!

Gloria Diaz, the first-ever Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe, is proud to be 65. In her newspaper interview over at The Philippine Star I’d been reading this morning, she said, “When we were younger, our main focus is ourselves. Whatever we’re doing, it’s about us, our clothes, our shoes, where we’re going. But as you get older, your focus shifts to your kids. And then it moves to your grandchildren. And then your partner. You become the last priority of yourself. All of a sudden, you realize your own mortality. You know that you have to eat well, sleep well, and you need fewer things.”

Gloria also remarked on a few more things she learned as she takes her journey to aging. “When you get to my age, you’re more relaxed. Before I would wear high heels, girdles, now I don’t have to. These days, I enjoy wearing rubber shoes or ‘step-in.'” She then added having a personal relationship with the Lord is her most important secret to successful aging.

We can all learn to age well and be healthy. We make the most of the time that remains. There is this awareness that we are simply not immortal. We prepare for the best life to come!

Feelings and Mental Health

Feelings and psychological wellness are closely intertwined.

Sophia began her therapy session extremely raging and throwing tantrums at her husband, Tim. When I asked about the nature of her rage and upset, she reported her husband’s infidelity and sexual addiction. The cause was reasonable, of course.

But we decided to work on Sophia’s out of control emotions first because it was unhealthy, and causing her inability to function and cope with the stress needed to appropriately move forward with her husband.

Observe clearly the difference between “healthy negative feelings” and “unhealthy negative feelings.” Healthy negative feelings are those of sorrow, regret, sadness, annoyance, or disappointment when you don’t get what’s important to you. Unhealthy negative feelings, on the other hand, make you feel unduly depressed, panicky, self-pitying, angry, or even violent.

Realize that you are capable of changing your “unhealthy negative feelings” into “healthy negative feelings.” In my therapy and counseling sessions, I work with counselees to take their depressed feelings, for example, until they only feel sorry and regretful. I encourage them to take their panicky, self-downing feelings into the session until they only feel concerned and apprehensive.

Don’t give up until you actually change your feelings into healthy ones. It’s a key to pressing on in your overall recovery.

Healthy Ageing

I’m not alone on this one. I admire Billy Graham, now age 95. In a few weeks’ time, he’ll be holding one of the biggest crusades and speaking engagements he’ll ever have in the U.S. So far he had spoken to millions of people around the world, including heads of states. He is running forward and never retiring from life. He is indeed an inspiration to me as well as countless others of all races.

History is replete with other more examples of great men who refuse to stand still in the midst of ageing. Here are just a few:

*  Alexander Graham Bell was 84 when he invented the telephone;
*  At 91, George Bernard Shaw was still writing plays;
*  At 75, “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz was still able to play hockey;
*  At 100, grandma Moses was still painting pictures;
*  At 94, Leopold Stokowski signed a 6-year recording contract;
*  Roget, age 90, was updating his famous Thesaurus before he died;
*  Tesichi Igarishi celebrated his 100th birthday by climbing the 12, 395-foot-high summit of Mt Fiji;
*  In their 90s, pianist Arthur Rubenstein and cellist Pablo Casals both performed professionally;
*  In biblical history, Noah became a father of three children at age 500 and completed the ark 100 years later!

Since reading Billy Graham and learning from his life and the lives of other ageing greats, I’ve done some reconsidering and reflecting. These gracious seniors never retire. They may had slowed down and walked away from some activity. But they all still live life with a mission. With this discovery, I prepare my self to age as the Lord permits. My idea of old age is definitely changing.

A bottom line is, as we grow older, things that matter in heaven should matter more on earth. As we age, the stuff of earth increasingly loses its value or urgency.