We are not born into caves, but communities. What this means is that human beings are not typically intended to live completely solitary lives, but are instead designed to co-exist and co-operate with one another. Ultimately, we need each other.
This idea is captured within the Integrated Dynamics via the dynamic/stage of Co-journey, which is a way of considering how we interact and influence one another in our personal journeys through life.
There are many with whom we Co-journey: Family members, spouses, teachers, religious leaders, friends, colleagues, et al. Each of these play a vital role in our development and the overall quality of our life experiences. We also serve within these roles for others.
In the context of therapy we consider how Co-journey plays out within our every-day lives, as well as within the context of the therapeutic alliance. Let’s consider each one separately.
Considering our “here and now lives,” I believe we can all resonate with the idea that relationships are essentially inherent. We are born into them and we continue to experience them no matter who we are or where we go. Few of us are ever completely alone.
Ah, and with all of the joys that can come from these interactions, we are all also quite aware of the sorrows that can result from the conflicts we experience. Counselors and Therapists are well versed in listening to and intervening with human relational conflicts within both relational and individual counseling and psychotherapy, and we are very aware of the power these connections and interactions possess to both hurt and heal.
One kind of healing (Co-journey) relationship that is a part of this current discussion is the one that forms between a Client/Patient and a Counselor/Therapist, which is often referred to as the therapeutic alliance. This particular connection can actually be and become one of the most significant relationships that we can experience in our lives due to its reflective and transformative nature.
The therapeutic alliance is a very special kind of Co-journey relationship in that it is one of the few places on earth where we can say anything, and just completely be ourselves without fear of judgment or punishment. I am fond of saying that the treatment room is “one of the safest places on earth.” Good counseling and therapy will strive to make this the case.
Very well, what now will you do with this information? My suggestion would be that you take some time to consider the role Co-journey is playing in your life. Are you cultivating healthy and meaningful connections with others? What relationships are helping? Hurting? Do you have that very special Co-journey relationship with a Counselor or Therapist where YOU are the focus and where YOUR hopes, fears, struggles, and triumphs are addressed?
Now, take these considerations and apply them to building and maintaining the kinds ofCo-journey relationships that will take you where you want to go and allow you to experience the joys of having helped, and having been helped in this collective experience we call life.
“In joining with THEE, and becoming WE, I discover ME.”