Professional group study & Consultation

keeping ourselves alive & Engaged in our depth work

~ January 2021 Theme ~

Letting Come, Letting Go, Letting In: Yielding

The Delicacy & Vitality Of Surrender







As you read, place your emphasis on  the therapist’s vulnerabilities regarding surrendering to the client’s process and its relationship to enlivening functions in the work – and not just  focusing on the vulnerability for the client.

Be aware of how both the client and the therapist can (and at certain points, must) be disturbed, all in service of surrendering to the unexpected – and a larger participation in life.  

Ghent’s chapter on Masochism as a Perversion of Surrender is a classic in the field.

Parental delight, love, and anxiety can intermingle in our reactions to young, emerging bodies.  This erotic delight is not to take possession of our children.  Such parental delight throws them forward, outward into life, outward into the arms of  others.

As therapists in passionate involvement with our clients, we engage, wonder, uncover, confront, protect, encourage, accompany, delight, and let go.

The therapeutic relationship is a means of creating and strengthening the capacity for vital and aggressive affects, as well as for the mitigation of distress and negative affects. 

I would argue that while adult clients need a secure base to some extent, they also need (and I think hunger for) a challenging, enlivening relationship with a therapist, lover and others.  I seek to provide the sense of a vital base, of a deeply engaged relationship which contains room for conflict, aggression, fantasy, insecurity, and uncertainty – in addition to security and empathic attunement.

Bill Cornell - Somatic Experience: In The Expressive Language of the Living

Seduction, Surrender & Transformation:

Emotional Engagement In The Analytic Process

An APA Review Of A Classic Analytic Book by Karen Maroda

What is surrender? Maroda writes, “…surrender is the self-altering process. The patient surrenders through the medium of the emotional merger with the analyst and their shared regression. But the surrender is not to the person of the analyst, but rather a giving over to the patient’s own emotional experience – – losing herself to herself – – within the containing framework of the analytic setting”

Maroda’s view is that “felt emotion, on the part of both the patient and the therapist, is the key to the therapeutic enterprise” (p.181). And she adds, “If we take emotional honesty as the only authentic therapeutic stance, rather than the unachievable neutrality, then no emotions are off-limits or inappropriate for either person to feel” 

 Maroda describes the cycle of communication in an analytic process, and views the analyst’s ability to complete the cycle of communication in ways that show patients their own messages were understood by the analyst at an emotional level as a skill crucial to successful therapy.