Psychologists have studied the “we-space” of relationships — including the therapeutic relationship — for over a hundred years. Their conclusion is that we are relational beings, from conception to death, and that good relationships are the essential feature of our happiness and flourishing. Our relationships are not simply with other people. We also have a relationship to cultivate with ourselves, as well as with nature and the outer world. To be alive is to be in relationship.
In this episode of Psychology Now, Dr. Witt and Dr. Forman dive specifically into the therapeutic relationship and describe how it functions as the medium of healing and transformation in psychotherapy. They discuss how the therapeutic setting allows the unconscious to be transformed and how that impacts our interpersonal lives. They also emphasize that, while it is the relationships in our daily lives that tend to bring us the most happiness (e.g., our friends, family, co-workers, loved ones, etc.), many of us also benefit from the corrective experience of the therapeutic relationship to help all our relationships flower.
Dr. Witt and Dr. Forman discuss:
- The history of the therapeutic relationship
- The role of the unconscious in the therapeutic relationship
- Attachment theory
- The therapeutic relationship as a form of intimacy
- How happiness and relationship relate
- The role of shadow in relationships
- How engaging our moral growth relates to our relational growth
Come join us and our ongoing inquiry into the psychology of self, other, and world in our ongoing Psychology Now program series!
Masters, R. (2012) Transformation Through Intimacy. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA.
Mitchell, S. (2003) Relationality: From Attachment to Intersubjectivity. Routledge, New York, NY.
Johnson, S. (2013) Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. Little, Brown and Company, Boston MA.
Witt, K. (2014) Integral Mindfulness: Clueless to Dialed in — How Integral Mindful Living Makes Everything Better. Integral Publishers, Tucson, Arizona.
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About Keith Witt
Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.
About Mark Forman
Mark Forman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist whose text — A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy Complexity, Integration, and Spirituality in Practice – is considered one of the seminal works in the field of Integral Psychotherapy.