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FaXin

Counseling and Healing

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I’ve been a counselor in a residential setting for a short time. I would like to use this thread to share some insights and experiences I’ve had working with a mental health/homeless population. Maybe others can offer insights that will help me too. 

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One of the first major things I figured out quickly is you can only teach people so much. Some want to learn but most are not ready to learn. 

I’ve found it’s more effective to listen quietly and to create a friendship so the people will feel comfortable. It’s more about letting them talk and me being open to receive it. 

Ive also noticed some depressed individuals who do not speak to anyone... when they do talk it is a powerful transmission of energy, like they are holding on so tight that even a few words is a release for them. 

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One thing that can be done is to hold the other person, meaning you are sensitive to their real being and sort of hold it somehow inside.
This is similar to how a mother holds a child, then the child gradually feels itself ... through being felt.
Works the same with people ... as a counsellor you can hold them energetically but same principle; if you hold a recognition of them then after some time they will recognize and feel inside themselves.   
Which is maybe the whole problem ... loss of contact with self.
What does @FaXin  mean?

 

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43 minutes ago, rideforever said:

One thing that can be done is to hold the other person, meaning you are sensitive to their real being and sort of hold it somehow inside.
This is similar to how a mother holds a child, then the child gradually feels itself ... through being felt.
Works the same with people ... as a counsellor you can hold them energetically but same principle; if you hold a recognition of them then after some time they will recognize and feel inside themselves.   
Which is maybe the whole problem ... loss of contact with self.
What does @FaXin  mean?

 

I agree, many people I work with are numb, want to be numb and do not want to feel.

I practice a sort of energetic holding that I call "hugging", which may be similar to what you are describing.  Essentially it is providing them with more space to let go of stuff. 

Thank you for your comments. Good stuff :)

Fa Xin was a name given to me by a Chan Buddhist monk when I was a kid.  It basically means Open Heart.

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Another thing I am getting used to is the therapy techniques themselves.  Some of them are right up my alley - such as mindfulness techniques like being aware of your surroundings.

But others are not. In many ways I am teaching them to build up their ego.  Being proud of things they do, for example.  Some of it is the polar opposite of what I do in my personal practice.  It is trying to build and reshape their identity.

I'm still coming to terms with this.

I remind myself that I am in a much different place than some of these folks, and that for them, being proud of something is their next step to being healthy.

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4 hours ago, FaXin said:

In many ways I am teaching them to build up their ego.  Being proud of things they do, for example.  Some of it is the polar opposite of what I do in my personal practice.  It is trying to build and reshape their identity.

I'm still coming to terms with this.

I made a post on another forum about that, which might be of use to think about:

...

"In how I've learned, enlightenment requires the loss of two things: 1) bad emotions, 2) notions (such as of self and other).

Another way of thinking about that statement is: if we're feeling bad, and if we're operating from a point of view that causes us to feel bad, we're not going to feel blissful and liberated.

If there is a kind of loss of self that increases negative emotions, such as with dissociative identity disorder, that would not be the right way to cultivate enlightenment, in this definition. The entire point of losing the notion of oneself is so that the negative emotions have nothing to be tied to, and therefore fall away...with increasing negative emotions, we'd be moving further from enlightenment...even without an ego or clear notion of ourselves.

I would say, even "opening up", while having negative side effects from it, is not the right way. Opening up should be about freedom from being closed up...not about becoming overwhelmed by a greater reality."

...

Also, I think it'd be possible to build up the identity into something positive, such as being proud of the things we do (which defeats negative emotions, one of the hindrances to enlightenment), while still being liberated from notions. It seems to me that a liberated person is able to think and conceptualize just like anyone else, perhaps even better, but the difference is that they aren't inextricably bound to their notions. They're more in a flow state. So, they can still think of themselves as their identity, but due to being in a flow state or being liberated from all things, they are continually freed from any ties to the notions they have, and the resulting negative emotions generated.

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5 hours ago, FaXin said:

In many ways I am teaching them to build up their ego.  Being proud of things they do, for example.  Some of it is the polar opposite of what I do in my personal practice.

This is a good point. I think it's important to note the difference between dissolving a healthy ego and fixing a broken one.

 

1 hour ago, Aetherous said:

Opening up should be about freedom from being closed up...not about becoming overwhelmed by a greater reality.

On point! I have been practicing opening up and let me tell you, it is scary and painful - and I have a healthy ego! I don't think a person with a weak or broken ego could withstand such a practice...

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When Buddha left his fathers compound and encountered all matter of suffering outside, death disease hopelessness and drunkenness ... he contemplated the situation and responded seriously and practically to deal with the situation.
Who was it in Buddha that responded like that ?
It was his ego, meaning his mortal human intelligence.
He had been raised well, he was grounded and constructive.

The endless talk about the "ego" today, what it signifies is not that the human self is bad; but that society has degenerated so that the human beings living here are catastrophically damaged.  So much so that committing suicide to that part of oneself is seen as the answer.
But it does not work like that.
Jesus was well brought up, in a holy family with many holy members.
Same thing with Osho, he was brought up by loving grandparents, and was educated and read a lot.
Such things are very important.

Who can traverse the path except the human self ?
Nobody else can because that's all that's there ate the beginning.
And if it functions badly it will not only drop out of the human world but the spiritual.

In fact the entire human being should be holy, should be illuminated - that would be a normal person.
But mankind has suffered an incredible collapse, so it would seem.

 

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All very good insights - thank you everyone for your comments.

Opening up is a scary process and all the things that come with it! Good point there. 

Really like what you said Jason about dissolving a healthy ego and fixing a broken one. I think that about sums it up. 

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4 hours ago, rideforever said:

In fact the entire human being should be holy, should be illuminated - that would be a normal person.
But mankind has suffered an incredible collapse, so it would seem.

Pretty much sums up the essential teachings of Christianity. Thank you. I'll try to remember this.

 

4 hours ago, rideforever said:

The endless talk about the "ego" today, what it signifies is not that the human self is bad; but that society has degenerated so that the human beings living here are catastrophically damaged.  So much so that committing suicide to that part of oneself is seen as the answer.

Another good point. You're on fire, man! :)

I never thought of dissolving one's ego as equating to "committing suicide to ... part of oneself," but I suppose that is an apt description. This ties back to what FaXin said about building someone up. Only a healthy and well adjusted ego has any chance of successfully undergoing the self reflection process necessary for its own dissolution. Meditators commonly experience gripping fear while on the path. This is the fear of the ego as it glimpses a large worldview where the self does not play the central role.

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5 hours ago, rideforever said:

In fact the entire human being should be holy, should be illuminated - that would be a normal person.
But mankind has suffered an incredible collapse, so it would seem.

Agreed - this is really great!

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That is exactly right Jason.
How does a human being become ... competent to use his body, to feel and to think ?
Through experience and real education.
For many reasons this is not happening and instead a distorted effect is happening to people.
And then what happens ?
What happens after such a distorted environment happens to young people ?
Well what happens is that their feelings are unhelpful, incessant, their thoughts leads nowhere, they don't know what to do, how to live, their thoughts and feelings just go round and round with confusion and no clarity.
... this is certainly not the normal result of education, these people have been harmed.
And so with mercy certain spiritual traditions have arisen to lead such people to some safety through the severing of the outer, human, being ... but truly this is a sadness.
But ... I am personally extremely fatigued by trying to be a sane and competent person, and I do also appreciate the kind of withdrawal and renunciate path as well.

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On 8/3/2019 at 5:54 PM, FaXin said:

Another thing I am getting used to is the therapy techniques themselves.  Some of them are right up my alley - such as mindfulness techniques like being aware of your surroundings.

But others are not. In many ways I am teaching them to build up their ego.  Being proud of things they do, for example.  Some of it is the polar opposite of what I do in my personal practice.  It is trying to build and reshape their identity.

I'm still coming to terms with this.

I remind myself that I am in a much different place than some of these folks, and that for them, being proud of something is their next step to being healthy.

I would like to suggest two things, 1, that you may need to get them over the hump before they can dispense with certain mental structures. 

Nobody clutches a pattern ,or cycle, as tight as someone that is wrapped up in it.

2, that the ego-ic view of the world is just an alternative that has more ups and downs , n so forth. It's functional in it's own way. While, you personally may want a different kind of spiritual life,, not everyone even wants a non-dual non-ego based kind of life.

So you needn't feel like you might be leading them astray, by helping them get to a better place than they are at. 

IMO

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3 minutes ago, Joe said:

I would like to suggest two things, 1, that you may need to get them over the hump before they can dispense with certain mental structures. 

Nobody clutches a pattern ,or cycle, as tight as someone that is wrapped up in it.

2, that the ego-ic view of the world is just an alternative that has more ups and downs , n so forth. It's functional in it's own way. While, you personally may want a different kind of spiritual life,, not everyone even wants a non-dual non-ego based kind of life.

So you needn't feel like you might be leading them astray, by helping them get to a better place than they are at. 

IMO

Thank you for your insight. I agree with you, not everyone wants what I want. :)

 

I think it may be an important lesson for me to drop the "spiritual conditioning" I've accrued over the years.  While it has gotten me to a more peaceful place in my own life, it is indeed conditioning of it's own and there is no "right or wrong" view of how to live.

 

It's also a good reminder that it is not my job to teach my clients, but rather to be there.  I find more benefit in bringing my goofy humor and optimism than any sort of "wisdom" I may impart.  Teaching by being an example.

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, FaXin said:

Thank you for your insight. I agree with you, not everyone wants what I want. :)

 

I think it may be an important lesson for me to drop the "spiritual conditioning" I've accrued over the years.  While it has gotten me to a more peaceful place in my own life, it is indeed conditioning of it's own and there is no "right or wrong" view of how to live.

 

It's also a good reminder that it is not my job to teach my clients, but rather to be there.  I find more benefit in bringing my goofy humor and optimism than any sort of "wisdom" I may impart.  Teaching by being an example.

That sounds right to me. 

Humor resides at the crossroads of the appropriate and inappropriate, so you get them gently to a place where they can choose a better dynamic. And by maintaining your own optimism , you have the traction and encouragement to pull them out of a stubborn spiral. 

I imagine you are very effective, or at least ,as effective as one can reasonably be expected to be, depending on what conditions you're confronted with.

Its a respectable endeavor.

 

Life can be very harsh on - that which a human being is. 

Edited by Joe

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