The Therapeutic Journey: Transformation
Depth psychologist David Benner writes that, “Genuine transformation involves a reorganization and realignment of personality that results in a changed way of being in the world. The result of this movement is a larger and truer self, which will be reflected in more authenticity and vitality, increased wholeness and integration, larger horizons, an expanded sense of identity, and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life.”
Transformation is a slow shifting of the self. Over time you begin to notice that you are different as circumstances arise, even old circumstances that come up again and again. The marker of transformation is not, “I used to struggle with anxiety and now I don’t anymore.” Rather, it is measured by, “Who am I this time as anxiety comes around the spiral? I’m differently able to respond today than I was last year when this came up.”
Transformation is evidenced by increased compassion both for yourself and for others. It begins with increasing awareness of your own experiences with a growing ability to turn toward them non-judgmentally. An ability to zoom out just a bit and say, “Oh, look what the human is experiencing. Wow, the human is really angry. Or sad, or happy.”
It shows up as an increased capacity for courage and vulnerability to set aside your survival strategies. You begin to realize that you can bless your survival strategies because they have served to protect you and help you survive, but that you don’t need to survive any more because you have done that already. Here you are. You can begin to lay down your survival strategies and bit by bit you start showing up in the world as your most authentic self, engaged in a life lead by love rather than by fear and defenses.
May you find within yourself the courage to tell your story. To name what is true without minimizing and to grieve what needs to be grieved so that you may continue to move with the ARC of your own, Insight, Healing, and Transformation.