Supplements – Psychotherapy – 2. The Process of Psychotherapy – Introduction

P-2.in.1. Psychotherapy is a process that changes the view of the self. 2 At best this "new" self is a more beneficent self-concept, but psychotherapy can hardly be expected to establish reality. 3 That is not its function. 4 If it can make way for reality, it has achieved its ultimate success. 5 Its whole function, in the end, is to help the patient deal with one fundamental error; the belief that anger brings him something he really wants, and that by justifying attack he is protecting himself. 6 To whatever extent he comes to realize that this is an error, to that extent is he truly saved.

P-2.in.2. Patients do not enter the therapeutic relationship with this goal in mind. 2 On the contrary, such concepts mean little to them, or they would not need help. 3 Their aim is to be able to retain their self-concept exactly as it is, but without the suffering that it entails. 4 Their whole equilibrium rests on the insane belief that this is possible. 5 And because to the sane mind it is so clearly impossible, what they seek is magic. 6 In illusions the impossible is easily accomplished, but only at the cost of making illusions true. 7 The patient has already paid this price. 8 Now he wants a "better" illusion.

P-2.in.3. At the beginning, then, the patient's goal and the therapist's are at variance. 2 The therapist as well as the patient may cherish false self-concepts, but their respective perceptions of "improvement" still must differ. 3 The patient hopes to learn how to get the changes he wants without changing his self-concept to any significant extent. 4 He hopes, in fact, to stabilize it sufficiently to include within it the magical powers he seeks in psychotherapy. 5 He wants to make the vulnerable invulnerable and the finite limitless. 6 The self he sees is his god, and he seeks only to serve it better.

P-2.in.4. Regardless of how sincere the therapist himself may be, he must want to change the patient's self-concept in some way that he believes is real. 2 The task of therapy is one of reconciling these differences. 3 Hopefully, both will learn to give up their original goals, for it is only in relationships that salvation can be found. 4 At the beginning, it is inevitable that patients and therapists alike accept unrealistic goals not completely free of magical overtones. 5 They are finally given up in the minds of both.

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