At last we can begin to discuss the actual Integrated Dynamics themselves. Let us begin where the Journey to Wholeness begins, with an act of Surrender.
The word surrender can often carry a negative connotation in modern society. Many would associate it with “giving up” or “quitting.” They may often feel that the word implies weakness, or even cowardice.
We will look at Surrender in a very different way. When approaching this concept from the angle of health and wellbeing, Surrender actually becomes one of the most powerful words and actions we can consider. Please allow me to explain:
Surrender within our context refers to a posture of wisdom and acceptance regarding the realities we face. It asks us to open our minds and hearts to the truth of our experiences, and it calls us to acknowledge the areas within which we are in need of growth and change.
You see, denying our “growing edges” denies us the opportunity for advancement, but accepting them opens the door to positive intervention and development. Therefore, it seems clear that it actually takes more strength to surrender to these truths than it does to deny them. J Consider the following illustration:
Joe came to therapy because his wife was planning to leave him, and yet he denied that there was anything wrong with him. He stated very early that “psycho-babble” was a waste of time and money, and that “real men didn’t go to the Doctor unless they were dying.” His plan was to come for one session, be cleared of any pathology, and return to his wife to prove to her that there was nothing wrong with him.
Clearly, Joe was not interested in any kind of Surrender. J
In the course of the Initial Interview and Review of Systems it became clear that Joe fought very hard to distance himself from anything involving feelings or strong emotion. “Those things were for ‘Wussies,’ he said. Yet, as the Therapist dug deeper it was revealed that Joe had been the victim of some rather severe physical and emotional abuse as a child. Of course, Joe felt that he had “just put it aside and moved on” with his life, but as the Therapist dug a bit deeper it became clear that he had not.
Halfway through the session, Joe was in tears as the reality of his circumstances “sunk in.” He was able to admit that he had been angry and selfish within the relationship, and that he had developed an alcohol problem. He further revealed that there had been a few incidences of sexual abuse in his background.
Joe entered therapy and began to see immediate improvements in his life and relationships. While the work was in no way easy and his resistances were strong, Joe managed to open his heart and work through his abuse history. Consequently, his drinking problem ameliorated and his marriage was saved. He also reported that he had been losing weight and his cholesterol and blood pressure had been coming down.
All of this was possible because Joe was able to surrender to the truth of his situation and to the process that could guide him towards healing. Putting aside his “pseudo-masculinity,” Joe was able to “man-up” and embrace his weaknesses, thereby becoming truly strong.
This is the essence of Surrender within the context of Affective Integration, The Therapeutic Lifestyle, and Integrated Psychological Health & Wellbeing:
“Our strength is made perfect in weakness” ~ Paul the Apostle
Tune in next time for a continued discussion of Surrender in Daily Life.