In contrast to a view that understands a personality on the basis of where it has been in the past is another position that emphasizes the question — Where is it going? If a tree by a barn in a field is bent and twisted, the “where has it been” view would understand the tree’s “symptoms” as having been caused by events early in that tree’s life. Such events need to be seen and their damage healed. Another view would see the tree’s bends and twists as efforts to position itself in order to get its needed supply of sunlight and nutrients that may be blocked by the position of the barn. The question what is a tree is answered by making reference to a fully healthy tree of that species. That is, the tree is going or heading toward becoming everything it has the potential to become.
In fact, both views need to be integrated for best results. For some therapists, a human being is a project on its way to becoming all that is possible for a human being to be. In this view, each of us has a powerful, though subtle, force operating within us that pulls us toward our deepest possibilities. But in truth, deep work is needed to clear the way for this growth. The past must be dealt with. We can’t wax a dirty floor and expect it to shine for long.
Depression and anxiety can be seen, not as symptoms of illness, but, rather, as symbols of understandings that are begging to come about. Our conditioned personality may be pushing us in a direction that is in opposition to where we are being pulled by the deeper force within us. This conflict typically involves turmoil and hard, but inspired, inner work. Dealing with our past wounds and real feelings is essential if we are to truly move forward and grow into all that we can be. Deep therapy is not a walk in the park. You must be willing and able to do the work to become free.