Writings Work & Spirituality
Becky Pine ©1999
“Church is where you get to practice being human”.
This thought is displayed periodically on the signboard outside in front of the church. It’s one of my favorite pearls of wisdom. For me, being deeply and fully human is one of the ways I feel and nourish my sense of spirituality.
I therefore feel privileged that in my work as a psychotherapist and personal coach I get to connect deeply with other human beings to explore what it means to be human. I spend many hours a week in private conversation with people, listening to the intimate personal details of their lives.
Many people think that what a therapist does is try to figure out whats wrong with you, or to discover things about you that you dont already know yourself.
That’s not at all what I do.
My primary goal, the first order of business when I meet new clients, is to find a way to connect, to create a relationship, one spirit with another, fellow travelers on the journey of life. We talk together, about their problems, about what’s going well in their lives, and what isn’t going so well, about what changes they can make and what they can’t change. I ask questions. But more importantly, I listen intently, to hear all the layers of meaning and emotion in the conversation.
Although I know and use a variety of techniques in practicing my art, the most important tool I use is myself. I try to understand, to do what I can to heal pain and nurture growth, without judgement.
I help people figure out what makes them feel sad, or angry, or happy, or scared or disappointed, or hurt, or hopeless, or guilty, or undeserving of love. I help couples understand what they really want and need from each other, and how to ask for it. I help parents and teenagers comprehend each other’s mysterious behavior as they traverse the emotional tug of war of adolescence.
Sometimes I help people find the courage to make their lives better by re-examining wounds from the past that have refused to be forgotten. Sometimes I help people slow down and get to know who they are underneath all the chaos and busyness of their lives. I help others find their way out of a suffocating fog of despair and depression to a clearer place where life takes on meaning, color and flavor once again.
I think that I am a good therapist, not because I have all the answers, but because I am willing to be with my clients in the not knowing, in the struggle to find their own answers. I feel our time together is sacred space where both of us can learn more about what it means to be human, and discover what is beautiful, spiritual, divine, inside us.
I’ve sometimes been asked if I ever get tired of listening to people’s problems.
It is, of course, discouraging to hear of the depths of cruelty and pain that we humans are capable of inflicting on others with whom we are intimately, or even only casually, connected.. I am a witness to intense pain, shame, and fear, some of which is the direct result of another person’s malevolent actions. But I am also a witness to the miraculous ability of the human spirit to overcome obstacles, to survive, to heal, and to contribute to making the world a better place.
So no, I don’t get tired of it. I love my work and am grateful to be able to do it.
I have heard that astronauts who’ve traveled into outer space and seen our planet floating in the universe describe their experience as profoundly spiritual, as if they’ve gotten closer to god.
I believe that god is in all of us, so for me accompanying a fellow traveler on the inner voyage into the intricacies of the heart and the depths of the soul is an equally profound and spiritual experience that brings me closer to god.
I have found that some of the answers to my questions about the meaning and purpose of life lie in relationships - ndash; the human connections we make with one another in this lifetime. I know first-hand that the human spirit is heavily influenced by the network of human relationships around it. My soul is nourished by sharing the experiences of my life with others. I know that feeling understood by another can lighten my mood, clarify my sense of who I am, and increase my energy and optimism to face the challenges of living. Conversely, feeling misunderstood, judged, rejected, or inadequate can make me feel alone and abandoned in an endless universe.
My hours with my clients bring me in direct contact with all the mystery, complexity and richness of the human experience. It is my great good fortune to be invited in to witness another soul’s struggle and growth, and to touch someone else’s heart. Together, we form a relationship in sacred space where we both get to practice being human, to nourish our spirits, and to know we are not alone in our search for understanding.
100 Hollis Street
Groton, MA 01450