Love gives hope and meaning to life. Essential for emotional well being, love is based on
acceptance of others as they are, an affirmation that creates a spiritual connection.

 

 

 

 

 

  Other books by Benjamin Conley:
Taking the Fear out of Being Close
Success in Marriage
Making Relationships Work
The Meaning of Love
Affirming Feelings

 

 

Make an appointment
to meet with Benjamin Conley at his office,
1881 NE 26th Street, Suite 221, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305

Or talk to him in person by calling: (954) 727-9713

PO Box 4304, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33338-4304
Books about positive values, spirituality, and counseling

Thank you for taking the time to look more deeply into this book. You will find it addresses the basic values that cut across all the lines dividing cultures, religions, and schools of psychotherapy. As such, the discussion on faith based on fundamental values follows naturally in the middle section of the book. The challenge to you is to identify your fundamental values and the ways in which they define your connections to others.

Order Paperback

(Chapter I from THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: Values, Faith, and Psychotherapy)
by Benjamin B. Conley, M.Div., LMFT

CHAPTER I: THREE PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALS

Natalie's story is a success story. She used psychotherapy to reorganize her life from top to bottom, reviewing and modifying learnings developed in her first thirty years of life. When she first came to therapy she was having difficulty with her marriage.

The Struggle to Become Lovable

First she grappled with her anger, pain, and fear at having been reared by a mother who was so emotionally hungry that she did not have much love to give her children. Instead, her mother was preoccupied with what Natalie and her brother would do for her.

Naturally her mother was also very angry, since small children need more than they can give, while her mother wanted it the other way around. So Natalie learned she was not wanted and was a "bother," not worth much to her mother at all.

Her Discovery That She Was Always Lovable

Natalie's belief that she was not lovable was the first therapeutic issue with which to deal. She learned that her mother's lack of interest in her, her harsh criticisms, and sending her to boarding school did not mean she was worthless as a person, but did mean her mother didn't know how to love her unconditionally.

Her mother was preoccupied with her own internal pain and depression. Natalie learned that her mother's treatment of her told much about her mother and very little about herself. Natalie grieved a great deal over not having received unconditional love from her mother.

Most important, Natalie learned that she is worthy of being loved, that her mother's inability to be nurturing was not caused by her, but was her mother's limitation.

She also learned that not everyone is as limited as her mother was, that others have the capacity for nurturing, affection, and empathy.
This new understanding, arrived at with much struggle and pain, created a new certainty that she was important just because she existed as an individual person, the first psychological fundamental assumption about which we are writing.

Natalie's father was no help because he was not there -- distant, uninvolved in the family, spending most of his time at his job. He and his wife did not know how to love and be close to each other, and they were divorced by the time Natalie was ten years old.

When she was twenty two she married a man she hoped would take care of her in ways her parents did not. She took several years to accept that her husband would not respond to her attempts to have a loving relationship, and they were finally divorced when she was thirty three.

The Struggle to Become Independent

As Natalie grieved about the lack of early nurturing from her mother and father, she began to face her anger at the manipulative and domineering qualities of her mother, which she also found in her husband, Frank, and to some degree in herself.

Natalie had lived her life up to this time attempting to control others by using the same methods her mother had used to manipulate those around her. By trying to control others' reactions and behavior she helped maintain some order in her life, some constancy.

But, since people cannot be controlled by others, Natalie lived in a constant state of anxiety, lest others do the unplanned and unexpected. This high anxiety was another reason she originally came into therapy.

The Discovery She Does Control Herself

She had great difficulty reversing her field and integrating the belief that she couldn't control others' thinking, feeling, and behavior. As she gradually became more comfortable with that reality, she gave up her goal of controlling others. She claimed, instead, the ability to make her own decisions and control herself. She found that she had been making her own decisions, even when she chose to "give herself away" to others.

She gradually accepted others' right to make their own decisions for themselves, even when they were different than decisions she would have made.

This process affected and changed every aspect of her life, including the way she managed herself physically. She improved her diet, made exercise a regular part of her daily routine, and gradually came to think of herself as more attractive.

Throughout the time she was integrating valuing herself into her daily
routine and applying her new understanding of autonomy, she practiced relating to others without attempting to control them, learning to appreciate them, instead.

She was successful in restructuring her life on this new basis of freedom to choose, but was still subject to periods of intense anxiety for other reasons. Natalie had established the principle of independence for herself and others in most areas of her life, though she did not always approve of what she or others did, thought or felt.

She had established the principle that she and every person is entitled to make his or her own decisions, the second of the fundamental psychological assumptions described here, but she was still "in trouble" emotionally.

The Struggle to Choose Her Own Drummer

Her second long term relationship with a man did not include marriage, expressing her avoidance of "commitment" that seemed necessary at the time to keep her independence. But as she became clearer about how to be close and independent at the same time, she wanted more involvement in a relationship. She moved on to another man whom she eventually married.

She was ready for more intimacy, realizing that she could find a way to create closeness with another person who also valued separateness and independence. She terminated therapy because of her success, determined to put her knowledge to work in her marriage.

This new relationship was the occasion to deal with another set of issues: how to enjoy differences and how to negotiate disagreements.
After a time, she came back to therapy to deal with those concerns.

While still integrating the first two principles into her life more fully, she focused in therapy on how to have a close realtionship while respecting the other person's differences and supporting the other's growth.

Seen subjectively, the issue was the maintenance and enhancement of her own self-esteem in contrast to her remaining apprehension that she could not "measure up" to others' expectations.

Her fear was that when people, including her husband, found out she was not perfect, she would be rejected and condemned as she was by her mother and the teachers she had tolerated in her boarding school.
The process of learning how to accept others as they are (and herself, as well) was especially difficult for Natalie, who had just been getting used to having the right to manage her own life as a separate person.

| How to relate to all those other separate persons presented a dilemma because of the newness of the pattern and fear that if she did the new and different she would be rejected or attacked for behaving in a new way.

The thousands of applications of the principle that she had the right to live her life her own way and allow others the same privilege took time to integrate into her life. In effect, she taught herself what her parents did not know how to teach her, using her own resources, including the ability to arrange for a consultant, in the form of a therapist, to assist her in the process.

A Pyramid of Values

Using Natalie's story, we can view value assumptions about how to live as having three "layers," like a pyramid made of three sections, each one placed on top of the one below.

The most basic, foundation layer is composed of the three psychological fundamentals. The next layer consists of four later developmental learnings. The top, pointed layer is the fifteen other beliefs that grow out of establishing the first two layers.

This chapter is about the bottom layer, the first three psychological fundamentals, as illustrated in Natalie's therapeutic journey.

These three fundamental assumptions may be shared and affirmed by most professional psychotherapists, in terms of their current thinking. Although these three beliefs would be stated differently by different writers, they also contain a common thread of similarity.

The Foundation of the Pyramid

The first of the three fundamentals is that every human being has value, as a separate individual, simply because of his or her existence. This belief forms an operational foundation on the basis of which to live life, as well as to do therapy.

The second fundamental is that people make decisions for themselves, and manage their own behavior, thoughts, and feelings by being in control of their own bodies. This is less a belief and more a description of the way people function, even when they choose to give away their autonomy as a way to survive by being subservient to others.

The third fundamental is that people think and act on the basis of their own best judgment, in their own way, using their own experience. We pursue what we consider to be our best options at any given time.

These most basic assumptions might be thought of as the bedrock of beliefs about people, the most basic of basics. They are the assumptions that describe what we would consider to be the psychological and emotional essentials in our approach to clients and each other.

This is why they form the foundation layer of our pyramid. We have used them as a way to understand the process of therapy with Natalie.
We assume that these three principles are so basic to human nature that they are not subject to change. They might be better stated or the implications more clearly spelled out than they are here, but they are, for purposes of this discussion, not subject to negotiation or cancellation.

When people do not agree about these three fundamentals, it is easy to understand why there may be disagreement and conflict about other, less basic matters. When conflict is caused by negation of these fundamentals, the persons doing so engage in adverserial and self-defensive behavior.

Such behavior creates much individual anguish, as well as pain and suffering in family, community, ethnic, national, and international relationships.

Let us examine these three fundamentals in more detail, even though they may seem self evident.

1a) PEOPLE HAVE VALUE BECAUSE THEY EXIST

The first psychological fundamental is that we have value unconditionally, because we exist, before we do anything, a central tenet of many religious traditions.

As one of my clients told me about the view of himself he developed as a child, he called himself "garbage." He thought his parents didn't want him, that they wished he had not been born, and so he saw himself as having no more value than a piece of trash or garbage to be discarded, except for the rules of society against throwing children away.

As a result he viewed himself as a burden that made his parents' lives miserable. His parents had not conveyed to him a sense of his great value as an individual human being. He suffered great unhappiness and had severe difficulty in creating a productive life, since he devalued himself and everything he did.

We need to be "in positive contact" with other human beings, physically and emotionally, through touching and other forms of communication. This is the foundation of affirmation of the value of one's existence.

Ultimately, each person needs to make this a self-affirmation by soaking up the affirmation offered by others, starting with one's caretakers at birth. Self-affirmation is also the foundation of a spiritual connection that flows through the physical and emotional experience of loving and being loved, validating a person's existence in the world, and providing an internal sense of "belonging."

Sometimes the most common experiences illustrate a point most clearly. For example, we have all experienced the sound of infants crying with some kind of discontent. We have also watched as they (sometimes) become magically quiet and content when picked up by the mother. The reassurance that comes from contact with the mothering person provides unconditional affirmation, essential emotional "food."

If we receive this relatively unconditional affirmation from others as an infant and small child, we may incorporate a belief in our own value essential for our emotional well being. If we do not receive this affirmation that we have value just be virtue of existing, we may find ourselves as adults complaining of "emptiness" in our lives, a sense of "part of us missing," a fear of abandonment, or a chronic "loneliness" that seems incurable.

Loneliness and a fear of abandonment was Natalie's dilemma when she came into therapy, having had a narcissistic mother with little capacity for empathy and nurturing. She tried to fill her deep loneliness with a relationship with a man and with money, to replace the love her mother couldn't give. Natalie finally gave up the struggle to get her mother to be more loving and grieved about what her mother didn't and couldn't give.

Her grieving left her open to and able to take in the affirmation of others who were different from her mother, who did have love to give. She could not convert her mother into someone more loving. She could not go back and re live the past to make her mother love her differently. But she could be in contact with people in the present and future who have the capacity to love and to communicate with love, acceptance, and affirmation.

We Need Others According to Our Growth

We never grow out of our need to be in communication with others, to have other important people in our lives. We begin with the need to be held and loved as an infant. Even after successfully taking in unconditional affirmation from others, learning we have value just because we exist, we still need to be in touch with others who are important to us.

We need that nurturing from others as children, to help us deal with later developmental tasks. But in addition, our positive contact with others provides an essential nutrient for our emotional functioning.

This continuing need for contact is not only for the purpose of reassuring ourselves about our value. It is for the purpose of sharing what we consider to be of value in our own lives and hearing about the same from others, a process of mutual enrichment and nurturing. Such sharing with others provides the psychological and emotional basis for personal security and for living in community with other people. It represents our spiritual connection with others.

Sharing Opens the Way to Spirituality

Sharing with others validates a spiritual connection with them. This connection begins with conception and the intimate relationship with the mother in utero and continues with her and others the rest of one's life. We can affirm this spiritual connectedness even though we cannot quantify and define it.

Spirituality is more than our emotional response to what others do or say. Spirituality has to do with the human connection we make to others in the process of our thinking, feeling, and actions, the connection of one's inner self with the inner self of the other.

In a totally precognitive way, the infant experiences the spiritual connection through affirmation of his or her value. Later, the toddler experiences it as affirmation of his or her autonomy. It is what the older child experiences as affirmation of his or her creativity. The spiritual dimension is inevitably present in the way we relate to others at every emotional developmental level.

1b) INDIVIDUALS ARE SEPARATE FROM EACH OTHER

This first fundamental has a second part. The first part, already discussed above, is the need to be valued without having to "earn" that love. The second part is the need to be valued as an individual person, separate from parents and others. I will illustrate this principle of separation with the following example.

Rayna first came to my office because of difficulty with her in-laws. There had been no problem for the first six years of marriage, because her husband had no significant relationship with his mother and father, and had established his own life on his own terms. After the arrival of a child two years earlier, he made contact with his parents and extended family (brothers, sisters, and their spouses and children), and they began to visit on holidays.

The problem Rayna faced was the openly stated demand by her inlaws that she should join with their position that "women are inferior to men," that she should cater to the wishes of her mother-in-law, that those who differ from them should be rejected, and that, in general, in any relationship, one person is to be dominant and the other submissive. They quoted the Bible as "The husband is head of the wife."

This disallowance of differences between her and her in-laws was unfamiliar to Rayna, and at the time of our first session, she was confused and wondered if she were wrong. She wondered whether she had the right to object to being told she should change her ways and do as she was told by her in-laws. She gradually began to realize that they were operating within a system that did not allow for individual differences and the right of each person to enjoy being separate from others.

The Process of Differentiation

The process of differentiation begins early in infancy as a child first learns to tell one face from another, to know a parent from a stranger. It continues with the brain development that, for example, later allows the discovery that covering a toy with a cloth doesn't make it disappear.

By seven or eight months of age, a child will make a dramatic discovery: that when the mother leaves the room or the house, she really "goes away" and is not still around to be called back at will. The mother has really left the child, though another caretaker may be there to care for his or her needs.

This realization is sometimes upsetting to the child, but is part of learning that being separate is inevitable, and not really a disaster. The mother does eventually return.

As we each learn to differentiate ourselves from others, we discover that whatever exists outside our own skin is "not me." We live only within our own body.

Application of this principle means that each person crawls, walks, talks, and feels separately from others. When successful in learning to value our separateness, we learn to enjoy it and to develop a clear sense of the boundaries between ourselves and others.

The physical manifestation of this separation is our skin, defining our "self" as what is physically inside our skin. Our self, emotionally and psychologically, is an extension of this physical reality. Relating to others then becomes something we do as separate persons, rather than being connected in an undifferentiated manner.

This is an area in which Natalie, the woman described earlier in this chapter, had less difficulty. Being very intelligent and left to her own devices much of the time, she was on her own very early in life. She accepted her separateness from her mother as a way to be liberated from the emotional demands of her mother.

Since her mother did as little as possible for her, she experienced her mother as uninterested, someone to protect herself from, not to be dependent upon. Ironically, in the midst of her dependence on others, including housekeepers, she learned that depending on one person for everything was not the most successful way to get her needs met.

The Solution to Co-Dependence

Clarity about being separate is the antidote to "co-dependence," in which the boundaries between people are not clear, and we mistakenly take responsibility for others' thinking, feeling, and behavior, as if we were in charge of those processes in the other person, as if we were living within the other person's body.

One life, our own, is all each person has to manage, and is indeed enough to manage, since we live in our own body, not in anyone else's body.

We do well, however, to take responsibility for managing others to the degree they are incompetent to do so for themselves. The most obvious instance is our caring for children, who cannot totally care for themselves. In the normal course of adult living, however, each person is in charge of only his or her own decision-making, not the decision-making of others.

Caring Instead of Caretaking

Being responsible only for one's own decisions is a concept that is difficult for many people to understand or to accept, because it seems to them to imply no caring and no relationship at all between people.

Instead, it actually implies a particular kind of relationship between people, one that offers caring and respect for the other person's integrity as a separate person with his or her own individual ideas, emotions, and behaviors. The caring is expressed without caretaking, without taking responsibility for the other person's thinking, feeling, and behavior.

We can care about each other and respect the other person's separateness as part of that caring. We can act in a loving or friendly manner without taking over the responsibility for the management of the person we love. We can act in a loving or friendly manner even though the other person does not know what is going on within our minds or feelings.

We Are a Stimulus, Not a Cause

When we put out a stimulus to others, they will respond in some way. What we do is perceived by others through their senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting. They will respond to what we say or do, but on their own terms, since being separate allows for their being different and responding uniquely.

The concept of stimulus and response presupposes separate persons, each with their own apparatus for sending signals, for receiving them, and for determining what to do in response. This separateness is the condition for having a relationship of two or more persons, since without the separation, each of us could only relate to an extension of ourselves.

2) PEOPLE MAKE DECISIONS GOVERNING THEMSELVES

The second psychological fundamental is the belief that we are in charge of our own lives, the "executive directors" of our own thinking, feeling, and acting.

As children, we all need to experience encouragement and support to exercise increasing control over our own body. This means the obvious, that we each control our talking, walking, thinking, and other bodily activities. We can crawl, stand up, lie down, run, jump up and down, talk, sing, or do many other things, depending on our choice of what to do.

When emotionally successful in this area of physical development, we establish an affirmation of our right to exercise self-control. This gives an internal psychological "structure" to our life, providing a sense of being self-directing, the opposite of being victimized by other people and events. We know we are in charge of our decision-making, our "yes" and our "no."

We Are in Control of Our Own Bodies

Learning that we are in control of our own bodies begins early in life, as we grow into the ability to crawl, walk, talk, and become more physically competent. One of the common ways a child uses to establish a sense of autonomy is to say or do the opposite of what he or she is asked to do by the caretaking adult. Oppositional behavior is one way the child gains reassurance that he or she is not being dominated by someone else.

It may seem strange that as children we may not have clearly learned we are in control of our own bodies, since it is so obvious that we are. No one else moves my arm for me, unless I agree for someone to physically do so, or unless I am physically under the control of others, as in a hospital or jail. But a child is physically under the control of his or her caretakers, though less and less so with age. When the child becomes an adult, no one else can make the decisions about his or her thoughts and actions, including the content of and style of communication with others.

The Price of Loss of Autonomy

However, if a child learned that he or she must give away autonomy and self control to others in order to be accepted and loved, that child may become chronically resentful of being in a "one down" position, and grow into an adult who will pick fights with those who make reasonable requests (that are interpreted as orders).

That adult may avoid close relationships (to escape being a self imposed servant to the other person), may become a procrastinator, and may become anxious when dealing with authority in any setting.

This is an area in which Natalie had great difficulty. She attempted, as her mother did, to be totally in control of others in any situation in which she found herself, and being very competent, she could usually function as a leader.

She expended much energy staying "one up" in relationships, at the cost of chronic anxiety over her potential fall into a "one down" position.

She had much experience being dominated by her mother and by her teachers in a rigid religiously oriented private school, so she wanted to be the one in control of others instead of the one being controlled by others.

This is a problem born of the experience of being dominated (or of believing one has to be dominated as the price for being accepted and loved) when learning about autonomy.

Children need the freedom to choose within limits, so that they learn how to make their own decisions. Limits describe the areas within which freedom to choose may be exercised, and also describe the areas within which there is no freedom to choose. The limits are essential, so that within the limits, children can experiment with their own freedom and autonomy.

Autonomy in Adolescence

Growing older does not change the fact that a person makes his or her own decisions, within limits. What changes is an expansion of the "world" within which we are free to choose; the limits expand. By the time of late adolescence, the remaining limits are:

1) the limits of physical nature, like gravity, inertia, and lightning. Successful dealing with these limits usually requires some form of cooperation with them, as in "harnessing" electricity to use as a source of power.

2) the limits of social contracts, such as laws and employment agreements. Successful dealing with these normally means honoring our agreements.

3) the limits presented by the fact that other people are not everything we would like them to be. Acceptance of these limits involves accepting others as they are, even when we disapprove of or disagree with them. By affirming the right of the other person to his or her point of view (the only one he or she currently has), we offer the same acceptance we would like for ourselves.

When successful in learning to make decisions and act within limits, a person develops an understanding that marriage, religion, work, and other commitments are an exercise of his or her personal freedom, not a partial or complete sacrifice of that freedom.

3) PEOPLE THINK, FEEL, AND ACT IN THEIR OWN WAY

The way we manage our lives is inevitably our own choice, ideally to be affirmed as "good enough for now."

This is the third fundamental psychological principle. Because people are different from each other, genetically, emotionally, and historically, they have different ways of thinking, feeling, and doing things. These differences reflect differences in judgment, which are, in turn, based on life experience.

One couple with whom I worked were on the verge of giving up on each other and getting a divorce. Not that they wanted a divorce; they were simply so tired of verbally fighting with each other and so frustrated at not finding a solution to the same old problem, that they didn't know what else to do. Marriage counseling was their last resort.

Susan's complaint was that Lewis would not respond to what was important to her. Lewis' complaint was that instead of listening to him, she criticized whatever he said or did. They were at an impasse, between their need to be affirmed and their faulty methods of getting that affirmation from each other.

As they learned to listen to each other without being defensive, argumentative, or solving the others' problem, the "crisis" atmosphere between them eased, and the old appreciation of each other began to return. By listening, they communicated awareness of the validity of what the other had to say. By understanding (without necessarily agreeing), they communicated some validation of what the other had to say. By being empathic about the emotional importance of the other's point of view, they communicated affection. By relating in this way, they began to sanctify instead of contaminate the emotional and spiritual space between them.

The Only Judgment We Have Is Our Own

To say one's way is to be affirmed as "good enough for now" is not a stamp of perfection, but an acceptance of the reality that we can only be where we are, not somewhere else. It also implies that no one other than ourselves can chart the course of our lives.

Our own way and our own judgment is the only way and only judgment we have. We can affirm principles proposed to us by parents, religious traditions, political systems, or our own invention, but we are "stuck" with the task of making the decision ourselves about which principles to affirm.

We develop our own value systems, even when the values are handed down to us by others and even though some of them cause us problems after we adopt them. As children, we incorporate some of our values automatically, as we copy our parents or others. Later, as adults, we have the option to modify those values upon which we wish to improve.

Fortunately, we do not have to re-invent everything about living from scratch, since we can learn from others and from great traditions. Yet, we need to know the importance of living our own life in our own way, provided we grant others the same privilege.

This results in the belief that one's own way of doing things is at least "good enough for now" and is sometimes something of which to be proud.

Natalie worked extensively in this area, since she had built her life on the belief that only one way to act, think, and feel was appropriate for any situation, and that her task in life was to find that correct way.

She recreated her entire system of thinking to know that, while one way might be better than another, she would be content to do the best she could at any point in her life, and be pleased to have done as well as she did, with no condemnation of herself or others.

Application of this principle in all areas of her life took several years to accomplish, because it was such an extensive revision of her previous way of living. She used psychotherapy to review and revise her own values, changing decades of belief that achievement of perfection was the only basis on which to relax and enjoy her life.

We Pursue What We Value

When emotionally successful, establishment of the principle of doing things our own way affirms the desirability of persons using their own judgment, charting their own direction in life, of committing to values and a way of life that they choose as best for themselves.

We can develop our own initiative and creativity, while affirming the same right for others to live life in their own way. We can include others in our lives on the basis of mutual consent.

Learning to live life in one's own way takes the form of increased clarity about "wants" and "don't wants," about cooperation with others and sharing. It has to do with empathy and accepting others' ways as different.

It has to do with creativity and problem solving, and with competence, success and failure in achieving goals. It has to do with accepting one's mistakes and failures as "lessons," without devaluing oneself. It has to do with values and the commitment to living out of those values with loved ones and with strangers.

At best, it has to do with choosing to align our lives with the highest values in the universe, in harmony with the spiritual dimension of life, as best we can understand the meaning of that for our own lives.

Integration of Identity in Adolescence

Learning that we do live life in our own way evolves over a longer period of time than the learnings about the first two fundamental principles. While autonomy is becoming fully established, ideally by three or four years of age (with a rehearsal at adolescence), the beginnings of initiative -- pursuing things in one's own way -- are visible, with learning in this area lasting through adolescence.

The process of establishing increased competence in living one's own way doesn't end with the ending of adolescence, though the foundational structure for these abilities will have been put in place by then. Relative competence in all these areas mentioned, and more, will have been accomplished by adulthood, at least in rudimentary form.

Adolescence is a time of integrating this third fundamental learning with the first two and developing a sense of personal identity. The integration process in adolescence is complicated by the last major changes in physiological development: abstract thinking and emerging reproductive sexuality. These three fundamentals form the first third of our pyramid, basic to organizing the rest of one's life.

Abstract Thinking in Adolescence

"Abstract thinking" allows a quantum leap in the ability to manipulate concepts and ideas, based on the brain's development of the capacity to allow viewing a person or idea from an unlimited number of different points of view.

This is the time when seeing oneself in the mirror takes on a new meaning, since we can now see how others might see us as well as how we see ourselves. Previously, we might have been concerned about how others saw us, but this added ability allows us to imagine ourselves in the other person's shoes, looking back at ourselves. No wonder this adds a new dimension to one's self image!

The new element is the ability to imagine what the other person may be seeing, thinking and feeling as he or she looks at the world. All of a sudden, "how I look to the other person becomes extremely important, since I can (for the first time) imagine the view from his or her perspective." There is the possibility of conceptualizing unlimited possibilities, and analyzing one's own thought process.

Add the development of reproductive sexuality to adolescence and there is a task of putting all the emotional learning together that has not occurred before. Since sexuality involves another way of relating to others, including communication on a very personal basis, it inevitably gets the attention of every individual.

Figuring out how to integrate the learnings of the first 10 to 20 years of life is a monumental task that takes time to accomplish, and is part of establishing one's basic personality style. That style is the basis for dealing with the lessons of the rest of one's life, learnings discussed in the next section.

(Order now -- find out in the following chapters how the application of these principles and others show up in the practice of psychotherapy and connect us to the spiritual dimension that is inevitably part of our everyday experience.)

Order Paperback

 

Home Contact Other Books Newsletters
Copyright © 2004 Anthos Publishing