After all the supervisors, classes, reading, and experience that I have had on psychotherapy, I still think psychotherapy is just another term for good therapist-patient communication. Without it there can be no bond, no real relationship, and no healing.

Psychotherapy begins in the heart of the healer. Does the healer have the compassion, understanding, desire, and courage to assist the patient? If not, no carefully learned technique will be able to mask the empty disregard that hides behind the therapist’s responses. Like a limp handshake, it leaves one feeling less than gratified.

Good psychotherapists have the rare gift of helping patients to see themselves as they truly are: lovable, valuable, innocent, and worthy. The patient is strengthened and learns to forgive and move on. I believe the power to heal through psychotherapy is a gift, because compassion and empathy are hard to learn through a textbook or achieve through mimicry.

I have learned many quick healing techniques through energy medicine: EFT, TAT, visualization, Infinite Intention. However, I still find that patients want to talk with me about their troubles, not just “tap them away.” I was somewhat quizzical about why patients wanted to spend a session engaged in the slow process of talking about issues until I realized that the sharing of thoughts through verbal (and of course, nonverbal) means was an extremely powerful form of energy healing–especially if the psychotherapist is brimming with the energies of affirmation, love, and acceptance that the patient craves and desparately needs.

Through psychotherapy, the patient gains insight. But not just any insight. For is it healing to gain more insight into one’s own despicableness? Healing insights not only shed light on what was once obscure, but generate increasing awareness of inner goodness and beauty, hope and acceptance, and correct course and strength. So psychotherapy is meant to be nurturing, comforting, releasing, and strengthening. Not just truthful. In fact, I feel that truth without compassion, at least in psychotherapy, is a rather poor gift and is about as satisfying as sleeping on a rock.

At the heart of psychotherapy is the patient-doctor relationship–built over time from words spoken, laughter shared, experiences met. The “therapeutic” relationship does not consist of sarcasm, criticism, denigration, or blame. The role of the therapist might be a guide or a teacher, not lord or king–and certainly not a “know-it-all.” Because in the therapeutic relationship there is something to be gained by both the healer and the patient. Both grow and learn in the therapeutic space, though the patient may for a while be tempted to put the therapist on a pedestal.

The power to heal through conversation or the sharing of ideas exist on a vibrational level as pure energy. Just as Dr. Masaru Emoto showed that water responded to words, thoughts, and labels with a change in quality and appearance, the words of a therapist also can change the very nature of matter in the patient–biochemically, energetically, emotionally, and cognitively. Just as water responded most beautifully to love and acceptance, it is my belief that human beings do too. To pour love and acceptance into the heart of the patient and then coax it to flourish and flow is the task given to every therapist. The process can be done through many different techniques and modalities, but the patient who grows through psychotherapy feels the common denominator of love and acceptance as a plant under sunlight and rain.