“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”
This is one of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King quotes. It is remarkable, in part, because it was penned by a man whose vision for a more equitable society continues to illuminate the dark corners of racism and injustice 45 years after his death.
Yet he could also write about shadows, those things that are hidden, and those things that are unknown to us.
The places of unknowingness, those times when we cannot see — they are crucial to the practice of psychotherapy.
While evidence-based methods and outcome studies are essential, human beings and human relationships will never be quantifiable. Trying to work with a therapist who sees clients as physiology, parenting, brain function, or even an amalgam of these is never transformative, even when it is helpful.
The best therapists are willing sometimes to work in the dark, to have the fortitude to be with a client when being-with is the only authentic and appropriate methodology.
One of the best psychotherapists I know is totally blind. It is profoundly true that we cannot see until we stand in the shadows, and we cannot know until we embrace our unknowing.
We can only approach truth from the place of mystery.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Donnelly, S. (2013). Vision Through Darkness. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/01/25/vision-through-darkness/