Friday, May 8, 2009

“Wind from the Sea” by Andrew Wyeth

Psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom describes a therapeutic exercise he has conducted many times. He brings together in a room a large number of people who are strangers to one another. They are told to pair up and ask their partner one single question, "what do you want?" and to ask it over and over again. He states:

"Could anything be simpler? One innocent question and its answer: And yet, time after time, I have seen this group exercise evoke unexpectedly powerful feelings. Often, within minutes, the room rocks with emotion. Men and women--and they are by no means deperate or needy, but successful, well-functioning, well-dressed people who glitter as they walk--are sitrred to their depths. They call out to those who are forever lost--dead or absent parents, spouses, children, friends: 'I want to see you again.' 'I want your love.''I want to know you are proud of me.' 'I want you to know I love you and how sorry I am I never told you.''I want you back--I am so lonely.''I want the childhood I never had.' So much wanting. So much longing. And so much pain, so close to the surface, only minutes deep. Destiny pain. Existence pain. Pain that is always there, whirring continuously just beneath the membrane of life."

--The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy.

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