ACIM Reading for November 10
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice
1. Psychotherapy is the only form of therapy there is. Since only the mind can be sick, only the mind can be healed. Only the mind is in need of healing. This does not appear to be the case, for the manifestations of this world seem real indeed. Psychotherapy is necessary so that an individual can begin to question their reality. Sometimes he is able to start to open his mind without formal help, but even then it is always some change in his perception of interpersonal relationships that enables him to do so. Sometimes he needs a more structured, extended relationship with an “official” therapist. Either way, the task is the same; the patient must be helped to change his mind about the “reality” of illusions.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 10
I seek a future different from the past.
From new perception of the world there comes a future very different from the past. The future now is recognized as but extension of the present. Past mistakes can cast no shadows on it, so that fear has lost its idols and its images, and being formless, it has no effects. Death will not claim the future now, for life is now its goal, and all the needed means are happily provided. Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?
Father, we were mistaken in the past, and choose to use the present to be free. Now do we leave the future in Your Hands, leaving behind our past mistakes, and sure that You will keep Your present promises, and guide the future in their holy light.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #102: I am really into self-help books. I have read that psychotherapy and counseling can be helpful for the student of A Course In Miracles because it can help reveal the ego’s blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Is this the case for self-help as well? Or do self-help materials hold more potential than formalized counseling to enmesh readers in their own problems?
A: An advantage of psychotherapy and counseling over self-help books is that there is someone else to observe your ego, hopefully in a non-judgmental way, and point out its dynamics in areas you may be very effectively keeping hidden from yourself. It is usually easier to recognize someone else’s defenses rather than our own. But self-help books still can be of value in helping you identify your own maladaptive patterns of behavior and underlying thoughts, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself.
For any self-improvement tool that you’re considering, including therapy, you may want to ask yourself the following questions in evaluating its usefulness:
Is this helping me to take more responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and actions or is it reinforcing the ego dynamic of seeing and holding others responsible for my dysfunction and unhappiness (although uncovering a dynamic of blaming others can be an important first step in the healing process if we have not allowed ourselves to be in touch with that before)?
Is this likely to help me uncover my hidden motivations or is it more likely to help me keep them buried in an emphasis on changing form, such as behavior and appearance, rather than underlying content, such as thought and purpose (although sometimes an important early step that indicates a willingness to change at a deeper level is to modify maladaptive and destructive behavior, such as addictions)?
One of the limitations of nearly every therapeutic approach in the world, regardless of whether it involves a therapist or work on your own, is that its purpose is to make the dream better, rather than to lead you along the path of awakening, which is the Course’s goal. And self-help is really about helping make a better ego self. Not that there is anything bad about that, but it won’t take you where the Course is leading you and it could end up leading you in the opposite direction. The only truly healing practice is forgiveness, and we may find clever ways to avoid it for as long as we can stand the pain. But in the end, we will find that releasing our judgments to the Help of the only real Therapist is the only way to find the Self we are really looking for.