I recently stumbled upon a wonderful article on Medard Boss’ existential philosophy and psychoanalysis. It shed light on some thoughts I was having about the nature of existence and what it truly means to be engrossed in the process of becoming. My personal attempt to treat each client in an open and unobtrusive manner manifests itself in this following post; relying on the powerful words of the Boss.
As humans, we exist not because of what we do but because of who we are. On the other hand, becoming is dynamic, continually inspiring us toward personal growth and change. We exist before we can become. We are not a being because we simply exist, but because of our actions toward becoming. Beyond semantics, Boss adds to this thought a little further by introducing his term world-openness. He states: “It makes no sense to speak of something coming into being without the existence of a man who is open to coming into being.” So it is not just existence that makes us become who we are becoming, but an action, an openness to embark on the road of becoming.
Because each one of us lives in our own world, our own (given) reality, our very own gallery, then embracing one’s world is essential to our becoming. Boss calls the willingness to be, being-in-the-world, saying, “man’s existence is always already located and oriented in a situation in his world.” Boss believes that we not only exist in the world but have our very own piece cut out for us — our own slice of the universe. Once we become aware and learn to accept our share we may walk the path of becoming. So Boss’ being-in-the-world could be called living-in-the-world because to be in the world actually involves a choice, a desire to become. This active choice is manifest through world-openness moving us from stalemate to the dynamic and evolving world of becoming.
A therapist’s understanding of his own evolution and growth is essential when meeting with another. One must take the step to imagine and exist in the world-of-the-other. Boss calls this being-with-the-other, defined as sharing of world or communion. The sharing of this single world by both client and therapist can only occur if the therapist seeks to understand the other’s reality. Boss would call this step being-together, which is seen as a therapeutic tool. The step missing between the entering-the-other’s-world and being-together, may begin in the moment when Boss states, “In an encounter with another, I enter into the unique world disclosed by the other’s existence of this moment. I participate directly in his being-in-the-world.” To transcend the relationship there has to be a oneness, a true communion, creating one world that holds the two as one.
It is important for me to stress the importance of honoring where the client is at in each moment, where they are becoming in the now. This is the aim of Dedeinsanalysis, “to adhere to the immediately given objects and phenomena of man’s world,” stated Boss. For a client to gain a deeper understanding Boss suggests to stay out of one’s cognitive senses, and express one’s immediate awareness of how one relates oneself to one’s world.
My approach is to do therapy in a manner which honors both children and adults in their becoming and accepts their immediate expression of becoming. This openness, which I have used successfully in play therapy, is equally effective with adults. As with young children, Boss creates an environment full of love and trust during the therapeutic session. This style of therapy aims at allowing the client “…to become a child again,” he says, to live in the manner of a trusting and confident child. The stifled child trapped in the adult is now free to become. Boss believes that “…there is a small, starved, and suffocated child at the core of many a non-psychotic individual which has never been allowed to manifest itself.” It is the need and the nature of the client to free up this child again and learn how to newly become in an open and loving environment.