A colleague responded recently to my post on finding my ideal clients by talking about the four needs of attachment theory. In short, a client needs the same things from a therapist or Synergist that a child needs from a caregiver – or an adult from a loving relationship. I’ll simply quote my friend here: “To be open and trusting for a healing experience, we need to feel like: I Exist (I am seen and heard), I am Safe, I am Loved (accepted) and I Belong.”
Since I just returned from a big fat Pagan conference, I couldn’t help looking at these four really excellent pillars of attachment and linking them to the Four Powers of the Witch/Magician, as they relate to the four elements in many Pagan traditions: To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silence. These correspond to the elements/directions of Air/East; Fire/South, Water/West, and Earth/North.
What many people come to various kinds of therapy, counseling, body or energy work looking for is to feel empowered and in control of their lives. There’s a reason I decided to call my business Power In Your Hands; besides the reference to the work being hands-on, I wanted to give the feeling that coming to see me will help you claim your own power. The Four Powers are the ways a magical worker – or anyone, really – have of getting anything done. To achieve a desire, first you have to Know what it is, and gain as much knowledge as you can about how to go about it. Next, you have to Will – to take definitive action toward your goal. In the course of your action, you also must Dare: open your heart to vulnerability, to the possibility of failure or success, to the various surprising paths that might open as you take the leap. And finally, to Keep Silence: to digest what has happened, to rest from your efforts, to germinate new ideas as a seed rests in the soil until spring. (This last step is the one our culture tends to encourage us to skip: it’s all Know! Will! Dare! Know! Will! Dare! None of this is sustainable without rest, recovery, and reflection.)
In counseling or therapy, the client is seeking help in tapping into these powers, and as my friend pointed out, four pieces need to be present in order for the healing to occur. To feel the sense of “I Exist” or “I Am Seen” is what precedes “To Know”: one must have the clarity of Air, which brings definition, acknowledgment, and curiosity – not to mention breath! – for both. To Will something into being – to take action – one must first feel Safe; the power of Fire needs a strong container in order to be harnessed, and the feeling of safety provides that container. Water is associated with emotions, love, fluidity and openness: one must feel that they are loved and accepted before being willing to open to vulnerability: To Dare. And finally, Earth brings the sense of grounding, home and hearth, stillness and being with what is. The feeling of “I Belong” corresponds well to this, and a person who feels like they belong has an easier time Keeping Silence and being still with what is while the next course of action gestates.
I hope that even those readers who have no knowledge of or interest in paganism can relate to these ideas. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.