A few months ago during a talk at an Open Circle event in Berkeley I said something like, “No matter what conditioning you have endured and no matter how flawed or lacking you may feel, you are essentially whole.” During the ensuing dialogue one of the listeners reported how deeply struck he was by this particular statement. “Every therapist should hear this!” he exclaimed.
It is easy for all of us, including psychotherapists, to fall into the story that we are essentially wounded. It is true that we are all affected by our conditioning – by our imperfect parenting, by neglect and abuse, by trauma and unhealthy attachment styles, and by the challenges of life itself. However – and this is critically important – we are never essentially damaged by these experiences. On a relative level, we are impacted, sometimes quite deeply. On an essential level, we are not. As human beings, we are always both wounded and whole.