This is part of a continuing series of posts from conversations with Lisa Maechling Debbeler, JD, MA, LPCC about the nature of being a therapist/analyst in a time of quarantine. We began talking on Saturday March 21, 2020 at the beginning of the shut down and are continuing to talk weekly. We were both continuing to work and trying to see as many of our clients/analysands as possible through Zoom or other virtual methods. We were both finding this both unexpectedly and expectedly difficult and wanted to share our experiences with colleagues and friends that we respect.
Lisa sent me a link to some long-term qualitative research being done by analysts who have been doing Teletherapy prior to the Covid 19 crisis. One of the issues they raised was whether Teletherapy brought an experience of banality into a sacred experience.
What makes our work sacred?
For me it is the times when I and my client or analysand experience the flow of healing that is beyond one ego talking to another ego. It seems that the connection or the field between the two of us opens a channel to something larger than either of us could have brought into the room. We experience the presence of the numinous. In Kabbalah or Jewish mystical tradition, this flow is called Shefa which can be translated as divine emanation or flow. Perhaps a analogous term more familiar in mainstream culture might be Grace.
In general, therapists and even analysts don’t talk a lot about this experience perhaps because it is so beyond our control but also because it is beyond language. By definition it is hard to talk about. At the same time, I would argue that without the presence of the numinous/Shefa/Grace there is no deep healing. With it there is sometimes change that seems miraculous or inexplicable.