Talking to a Counsellor, a psychotherapist, a professional can be a really healing experience and one that can change your life. In particular, TA (Transactional Analysis) is a form of psychotherapy that helps people reach their fullest potential in all areas of their life. One of its goals is that people become masters of their lives by learning to have self-respect enough and self-worth to be able to act on their own values, no longer living through other people’s needs and expectations, through the rules and values of the culture, the religious or educational views for example. TA looks at relationships and interactions and believes inherently that people are okay just as they are. I love this; you are OKAY just as you are!
Eric Berne (1947), the founder of TA, talked about a force that drives people to grow, progress and do better, and he called this physis. “The growth force of nature, which makes organisms evolve into higher forms, embryos develop into adults, sick people get better, and healthy people strive to attain their ideals” Eric Berne (1968)
Physis is a Greek word whose etymology means “growing, becoming” and is linked to the sense of “natural development”. Physis is the growth force that means to grow into what things are (Edwards, 1967). We are not our cultural programming; we are not the sinful, unworthy, stupid people we have believed we are. We are not strange or to blame for other people’s abusive ways. We are not wrong for our neurodiverse brains and unique forms of processing and making sense of others and the world. Many times people enter therapy not knowing what it is they want to change; they just know that something has to for them to be happy and back in the driving seat of their life.
You may wonder why a Counsellor is writing about everything being energetically linked when Counselling is a talking therapy by its nature. I believe that we are our energy, and our energy connects us with life; our energy is life. When we enter treatment, we join because we want to change or grow or heal. We want to connect with that inner force that is unique to express that into the world and from our nature, the nature of others and the earth to live and evolve creatively. This drive towards health starts in your body, in your own unique energy system. The energy system of our bodies is electricity. Without electricity, we don’t have light; without energy, we don’t have a life!
To me, physis is the energy of our bodies. We are not just big brains atop a body, nor are we just body without mind or spirit rather we are all of these together and all of these together makes our whole body. There is energy within us and around us. The energies of our bodies are our energies, and they are subtle, and frequently in life, we pay no attention to them because we are so busy but, paying attention to the power of our bodies can save our lives.
Physis is the powerful force that gives us our life and spirit; it is a creative force that encourages us to grow, transform, and evolve collectively. “For people to change, they first need to feel well, and Okay, that is, in touch with their life force. To kindle this is perhaps the most central and important of the therapist’s tasks. Without the experience of physis, there is not the energy, the belief, or the capacity to even use help. Thus it may be both the first requirement in psychotherapy and the last” Petruska Clarkson
Without our energy, life is difficult because the depression or the overworking or the co-dependency we find ourselves in seems like the way it is supposed to be. It is hard for some people to believe that they don’t need to suffer, to be alone, to struggle because all of these things have been taught to them as the way that life is.
But life does not have to be this way at all.
Your Vital spirit
This is the vital animating strength and energy we have within us that can move us toward a transcendent connection with life where we experience holiness and wholeness. Many people choose transpersonal and existential forms of therapy because they recognise that the spiritual part of them is a vital part of them and one that cannot go unnoticed
I believe that your inner light cannot go unnoticed and that it resides in the core of who you are, in your body. The inner core is in your body, and it is home to your spiritual self where six universal urges exist according to Muriel James (1981):
The urge to live – for food, sleep, air and I want to add love. When people are disconnected from this urge then reconnecting with it is essential.
The desire to be free – to have the freedom to design your own life as (Berne, 1971),
The urge to experience newness – to learn something new, see something new, experience something new, move somewhere new, try something new etc.
The urge to make decisions – oftentimes we are too fearful to make our own decisions, we don’t trust ourselves or we can be tired all the time but when we decide for ourselves this is empowering.
The desire for authentic relationships – this is to reach for those friendships and relationships that are felt at the level of your soul. They are part of you and you are part of them as opposed to just being used for someone else’s gain for example.
The urge to know the spiritual dimension and to experience transcendence- to reach out and reach up, to let go and trust the presence of love.
When your Vital spirit has been closed, do not fear, it is possible to heal. It is possible to grow, transform and find, re-connect with your inner light, your physis.
Flower on the top of your head exercise:
Take a quiet moment and settle down into yourself with a few deep breaths. Breathing into the count of four, holding for a few moments and then exhaling to the count of six.
With your eyes gently closed, imagine on the top of your head a beautiful flower, and open with your mind’s eye its petals
invite in the form of a sweet prayer (in a way that feels right for you)
Blessings that will help you trust the divine and live with compassion.