Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice A Course In Miracles 2
he is ready to go. Psychotherapy can only save him time. The Holy Spirit uses time as He thinks best,and He is never wrong. Psychotherapy under His direction is one of the means He uses to save time, andto prepare additional teachers for His work. There is no end to the help that He begins and He directs.By whatever routes He chooses, all psychotherapy leads to God in the end. But that is up to Him. We areall His psychotherapists, for He would have us all be healed in Him.
2. THE PROCESS OF PSYCHOTHERAPYIntroduction
Psychotherapy is a process that changes the view of the self. At best this “new” self is a more be-neficent self-concept, but psychotherapy can hardly be expected to establish reality. That is not its func-tion. If it can make way for reality, it has achieved its ultimate success. Its whole function, in the end, isto help the patient deal with one fundamental error; the belief that anger brings him something he reallywants, and that by justifying attack he is protecting himself. To whatever extent he comes to realize thatthis is an error, to that extent is he truly saved.Patients do not enter the therapeutic relationship with this goal in mind. On the contrary, such con-cepts mean little to them, or they would not need help. Their aim is to be able to retain their self-conceptexactly as it is, but without the suffering that it entails. Their whole equilibrium rests on the insane belief that this is possible. And because to the sane mind it is so clearly impossible, what they seek is magic. Inillusions the impossible is easily accomplished, but only at the cost of making illusions true. The patienthas already paid this price. Now he wants a “better” illusion.At the beginning, then, the patient’s goal and the therapist’s are at variance. The therapist as well asthe patient may cherish false self-concepts, but their respective perceptions of “improvement” still mustdiffer. The patient hopes to learn how to get the changes he wants without changing his self-concept toany significant extent. He hopes, in fact, to stabilize it sufficiently to include within it the magical pow-ers he seeks in psychotherapy. He wants to make the vulnerable invulnerable and the finite limitless. Theself he sees is his god, and he seeks only to serve it better.Regardless of how sincere the therapist himself may be, he must want to change the patient’s self-concept in some way that he believes is real. The task of therapy is one of reconciling these differences.Hopefully, both will learn to give up their original goals, for it is only in relationships that salvation canbe found. At the beginning, it is inevitable that patients and therapists alike accept unrealistic goals notcompletely free of magical overtones. They are finally given up in the minds of both.
I. The Limits on Psychotherapy
Yet the ideal outcome is rarely achieved. Therapy begins with the realization that healing is of themind, and in psychotherapy those have come together who already believe this. It may be they will notget much further, for no one learns beyond his own readiness. Yet levels of readiness change, and whentherapist or patient has reached the next one, there will be a relationship held out to them that meets thechanging need. Perhaps they will come together again and advance in the same relationship, making itholier. Or perhaps each of them will enter into another commitment. Be assured of this; each will pro-gress. Retrogression is temporary. The overall direction is one of progress toward the truth.Psychotherapy itself cannot be creative. This is one of the errors which the ego fosters; that it is ca-pable of true change, and therefore of true creativity. When we speak of “the saving illusion” or “the fi-nal dream,” this is not what we mean, but here is the ego’s last defense. “Resistance” is its way of look-ing at things; its interpretation of progress and growth. These interpretations will be wrong of necessity,because they are delusional. The changes the ego seeks to make are not really changes. They are but