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Osho - A good therapist has to be immensely compassionate

Question - Beloved Osho, Am I really a Good Therapist?
Osho - Prasad, to be a good therapist is a very difficult job. A good therapist has to be immensely compassionate, because it is not his techniques of therapy that help people, it is his love. There is nothing compared to love as far as healing the wounds of a man's being are concerned. All other techniques can be helpful, supportive, but the basic is not a technique but a loving heart.

A therapist cannot be a professional. The moment a therapist becomes professional things start going wrong, because the profession of therapy means that the patient should never be cured. He should be given hope but he should never be cured, because once you cure him you have lost one customer. The physician or the therapist, their profession is very strange.

I have heard about an old doctor. His son came back from the medical college, fresh, and he told the father, "Now you have become old and I can take charge of all your patients. You can rest. If I need any advice I will ask you."

The father said, "I was waiting for this. You are now well educated. You know more than I know, you know the latest researches in medicine, but if I can be of any help, I will be available."

After three days the father asked the son how things were going. He said, "Great, just great. The woman you have been treating for thirty years for arthritis I have cured within three days."

The father said, "My god! You are an idiot. That woman is so rich, she can afford to remain uncured for her whole life. And how do you think I was supporting you in the university? That woman has provided money for your education, and that woman was going to provide money for your younger brother. That woman was almost a goldmine."
The son was shocked. He said, "What are you saying?"

The father said, "You are young, you don't understand. This profession is a contradiction. You have to cure, but in such a way that the cure takes as long as possible."

The poor get cured sooner, the richer get cured on a long term basis...! And psychotherapy in particular is in an even more dangerous contradiction. There is not a single person in the whole world who is totally psychoanalyzed. In the first place, psychoanalysts are making great earnings; they are the most highly paid professionals in the world. They cannot afford to lose rich patients -- and they have only rich patients. Poor countries don't suffer from any diseases which psychoanalysis can help. When people are hungry, what can psychoanalysis do? Psychoanalysis comes only when people are so rich they don't know what to do with their money. Then psychoanalysis comes in and shows them what to do with it -- be psychoanalyzed!

Prasad, a good therapist is one who avoids being a professional. It should be part of your love, not part of your business; only then can you be a good therapist. And as far as I know, you are one of the best therapists around here. I don't see in you things which lead therapists astray. One is a certain kind of gurudom. A therapist should not become a guru, because the moment you become a guru you start changing your patients into your disciples, you start exploiting their misery for your own aggrandizement, for your own ego. You start playing a role of being superior to you, higher than you.

I have not seen in your eyes that ugly ego which changes helping people into exploiting people. I have seen so many therapists who sooner or later fall into the trap. Because they know something more than the ordinary normal human being, they are in a position to exploit, they are in a position to create a following. That is not the work of the therapist. The work of the therapist is to help the patient to drop his tensions, to drop his unnecessary problems, to drop his habit of creating problems. Most of the patients that come to you are hypochondriacs; they are not suffering from any real problem. Seventy percent of their problems are just imaginary.

I have seen people looking into medical periodicals, medical encyclopedias to find out what kind of disease they have -- they don't have any disease! But it seems, particularly in the most advanced countries, women are bragging... just as they used to brag in the past about their ornaments, about their mink coats, about their houses, about their luxuries, now they are bragging about psychoanalysis: "Who is your psychoanalyst?" -- some poor guy or some great psychoanalyst, only very few people can afford his services... And it becomes an addiction, particularly in societies where people don't have time to listen to anybody, where everybody is in a rush.

Bertrand Russell mentions in his autobiography, "The way psychoanalysis is growing, I can predict that in the next century, if man still remains on the earth, there will be psychoanalysts on every street in the world. "Everybody will need once in a while to go to the psychoanalysts -- not because he has a disease, not that he has some mental problem, but just to talk. Nobody listens, nobody has time. You have to pay the psychoanalyst for listening.

In fact, if you are attentively listening to somebody a subtle help happens. He unburdens himself; things that he cannot say to other people he can say to you, because it is part of your work that you will keep it secret, that you will not start gossiping about it. So in privacy and secrecy he can open his heart, his wounds which he goes on hiding in the society. And by hiding the wounds, you can never cure them. By exposing them to light they are cured.

I have heard about a young psychotherapist who was working as an assistant to a famous old psychoanalyst. He used to get bored because people were coming with the same dreams, the same problems, the same worries... every day from morning till evening you have to listen and listen and listen, and it becomes heavy, so heavy that even in the night you cannot sleep. You have listened so much that until it gets settled you cannot sleep. But he had never seen the old man ever feeling tired or bored.

So one day, getting out of the office, in the elevator, the young man asked the old psychoanalyst, "What is your secret? You must have been in psychoanalysis for almost sixty years -- sixty years of listening to all kinds of garbage and crap! I have just been here for three months, and I am tired and finished and I am thinking I have to change the profession. These people will drive me crazy!"

The old man laughed and he said, "Who listens? There is no need to listen. Just pretend."
That's why Sigmund Freud has devised a beautiful couch. The patient lies on the couch, and behind the couch -- the patient cannot see -- sits the psychoanalyst. Whether he is there or not does not matter. Once in a while he goes out and comes in, and the psychoanalysis continues. The man goes on talking about his dreams, about his worries, about his problems, uncoiling his mind, and he feels better. The psychoanalyst is not doing anything; he is simply giving his time and pretending to be attentive.

But this becomes an addiction. The patient has to come twice or thrice a week because so much goes on gathering in his head that he has to unburden it. But I will not call that old man a good therapist. He is simply exploiting the weaknesses and the frailties of human beings.

Prasad, be attentive, be respectful, be loving. That makes a good therapist. The patient is not different from you. You are in the same boat. You not only allow him to open his heart, you also open your heart to him to give him a feeling that he is not alone in his suffering, that perhaps everybody in the world is suffering and hiding it.

The good therapist will create a friendliness, a deep intimacy with the patient. He should not remain on a high pedestal, far above, as if he has no problems. The fact is therapists have more problems than anybody else. They have their own problems and they have other people's problems too; hence four times more therapists go insane than any other profession, and four times more therapists commit suicide than any other profession. It is not just accidental.

But if you can be friendly, if you can hold the hand of the patient, if you can tell him that these are your problems too and it is good to have a companion, to have a friend, "We can work it out together. It is not only that you will be helped, I will be helped also..."
Unless a therapist comes to this humbleness, he is not going to help. And I can see in your eyes the possibility of this humbleness.

In the middle of her psychiatric session, Mrs. Blossom suddenly exclaimed, "Doctor, I simply can't resist you! How about a little kiss?"
"Absolutely not!" the doctor replied indignantly. "That would be contrary to the ethics of my profession. Now continue what you were telling me."

"Well, as I was saying," the patient reluctantly resumed, "I am always having arguments with my husband about his father, and just yesterday... I am sorry, doctor, I just can't go on talking. I have this overwhelming impulse. Come on! What harm would there be if you gave me just one little kiss?"
"That's absolutely impossible!" the doctor snapped. "In fact, I should not even be lying here on this couch with you!"

Patients are being exploited sexually, financially, in every possible way. The patient has to be given as much respect and dignity as you can manage. You should be a humble helper, not a savior, then you can help people immensely. You can be a good therapist. You have to be. My therapists have to be in a different way than the therapists in the outside world. There they are business people. Here you are helping your fellow travelers, your brothers, your sisters. And by helping them, you are helping yourself because their problems and your problems are not different.

The village idiot was very famous. His name was Elmer. One day a village resident wanted to show a visiting friend just what an idiot Elmer was.
"Watch this," he said. "Hey, Elmer! I have got something for you." He then held out his hand, and on the outstretched palm were a nickel and a dime. "Go ahead, Elmer," he said, "take one."
So Elmer said, "Thank you, I will take the big one," and picked up the nickel.
The man winked at his friend and then said, "See what an idiot he is?"
But as Elmer shuffled off, the visitor felt sorry for him and ran after him.
"Listen, Elmer," he said earnestly, "don't you know that the small coin is worth twice as much as the big one?"
"Of course I do," said Elmer, "but the first time I pick up the dime, they will stop playing the game."

Even idiots are not so much idiots as you think; they have their own intelligence. Your patients are not just to be treated objectively. You have to bridge yourself with your patient. You have to become a friend before you can be a therapist -- and particularly the therapists who are working in the field of sannyas. Their function is not the same as the function of the psychotherapist in the outside world.

In the outside world, psychotherapy is nothing but a strategy of the society to keep people within their normal limits; the psychologist, psychoanalyst, therapist are all helping the society. Whenever somebody starts going beyond the normal standards, they pull him back down. It is not necessarily helpful... One can go below mind, and then it is good to pull him up. But if somebody is going beyond mind, then to pull him down is not a help. It is just the opposite of help.

Here within my field therapy is used only as a cleaning process. It is just preparing the ground, taking out the wild weeds, the stones, so that I can manage to bring the roses of meditation into your life. Here therapy is only a preparation for meditation; its function is totally different from in the outside world. There you have to bring the person back into mind. Here you have to help the person to be courageous so that he can step beyond mind.

You are preparing people for me. The ultimate push is going to be through me. You have just to give them courage and encouragement. This can be done not by being special, not by being higher, not by being holier. You are not priests and you are not professionals. You are just fellow travelers in this vast caravan, and you have to help people, prepare people because now there is a gap that never used to be in the past.

Buddha never needed any psychotherapy for his sannyasins; those people were innocent. But in these twenty-five centuries, people have lost their innocence, they have become too knowledgeable. People have lost their contact with existence. They have become uprooted.

I am the first person who uses therapy but whose interest is not therapy but meditation, just as it was with Chuang Tzu or Gautam Buddha. They never used therapy because there was no need. People were simply ready, and you could bring the rosebushes without clearing the ground. The ground was already clear.

In these twenty-five centuries man has become so burdened with rubbish, so many wild weeds have grown in his being that I am using therapy just to clean the ground, take away the wild weeds, the roots, so the difference between the ancient man and the modern man is destroyed.

The modern man has to be made as innocent as the ancient man, as simple, as natural. He has lost all these great qualities. The therapist has to help him -- but his work is only a preparation. It is not the end. The end part is going to be the meditation.
As far as you are concerned, Prasad, you are doing perfectly well.

Source - Osho Book "The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here"

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