I believe that the greatest challenge or threat to our identities and mental soundness comes from the fear of being unworthy of love. We cannot ameliorate this dread wholly on our own but must instead rely in part on resources outside ourselves who invite, encourage, exemplify or draw out our own capacity to feel and to give love.
When I first presented my cards to the woman at Newport Hospital's front desk, I was greeted with a smile, but when I told her to whom I wanted them sent, her smile quickly faded. She sighed and asked me to consider handing out my cards to "the other patients" instead, as if the patients in the psychiatric unit didn't matter at all.
I say this about myself and everyone I have known in my life and work: No matter how overwhelmed and desperate we feel, recovery and growth depend on becoming open to loving and being loved, and seeming miracles occur when individuals change their life in recognition of these truths. Love wipes the slate clean.
Could the whole array of psychiatric diagnostic categories, to the extent that they have any validity at all, be expressions of the failure to love and to accept love? Do successful psychotherapies really work by means of the therapist’s ability to encourage people to experience love through how positively he or she relates to them?
I frequently get asked by people on the internet whether or not I think their therapist is good. For a variety of reasons, I usually do not feel comfortable answering them directly. However, I do feel comfortable writing about the subject here, as a sort of amalgamated response. As such, here are some questions I might ask such people, and here is how I might respond to their answers.