My own development, personal and professional, has been very influenced by training
in Humanistic Therapy. I have been impressed by respect for the uniqueness of each
individual, by focus on the meaning of each situation and its positive potential,
and by recognition that mind and body are not distinct. (This is in contrast to
the focus on diagnostic categories of physical disease that prevailed in my medical
training.) I also learned that the nature of the relationship between client and
helper is really important.
Thus, when in practice, I aspired to help each client to tell their own story and
in doing so to see its message more clearly. I aimed to facilitate development through
a relationship of shared responsibility, rather than impose ‘expert’ treatment or
tell people what to do. I recognised the importance of unconscious processes in
the therapeutic relationship, as in the illness itself.
I drew on this in my work by offering a willing ear, support, feedback and occasional
insights. I also made use of a range of tools drawn from the humanistic field: journaling;
relaxation, visualisation and meditation; dialogue; focusing/witnessing; bodywork
including massage. The idea of ‘vital energy’ flowing through us is used in humanistic
bodywork, as in acupuncture – more about this below.