Therapeutic Nuggets


"We are all much more simply human than otherwise." Harry Stack Sullivan

"Your emotional life is not written in cement during childhood. You write each chapter as you go along." Harry Stack Sullivan

"The first prerequisite for successful psychotherapy is the respect that the therapist must extend to the patient. Such respect can be valid only if the therapist realizes that his patient's difficulties in living are not too different from his own." Frieda Fromm-Reichmann

"We must affirm freedom and responsibility without denying that we are the product of circumstance, and must affirm that we are the product of circumstance without denying that we have the freedom to transcend that causality to become something which could not even have been envisioned from the circumstances that shaped us." Allen Wheelis

"Personality change follows change in behavior. Since we are what we do, if we want to change what we are we must begin by changing what we do, we must undertake a new mode of action." Allen Wheelis

"Being listened to spells the difference between feeling accepted and feeling isolated." Michael P. Nichols

"Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire and judgment--and, for a few moments at least, existing for the other person." Michael P. Nichols

"You don't change relationships by trying to control other people's behavior but by changing yourself in relation to them." Michael P. Nichols

"Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth. It is sad that so many parents don't realize what messages they are sending." Virginia Satir

"Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible--the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family." Virginia Satir

"We can learn something new any time we believe we can." Virginia Satir

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves." Carl Jung

"There are two reasons to make interpretations--first to let the patient know you are alive and second to show him you can make a mistake." Donald Winnicott

"The patient discovers his true self little by little through experiencing his own feelings and needs, because the therapist is able to accept and respect these even when he does not yet understand them." Alice Miller

"Human attachment has to be given to us as infants, if we are to be able to become secure as adults. Moreover, those who do not have this experience as part of their basic personality make-up are excessively vulnerable even to the slightest risk of loss of support. Their chronic over-dependency is a genuine compulsion that they cannot, by effort or will-power, not feel. Their only hope is to find someone who can understand this and help them to grow out of it. That is what psychotherapy is." Harry Guntrip

"Dreams...are largely, if not entirely, a reliving during sleep of the unresolved emotional problems in human relationships of our entire past (and current) life..." Harry Guntrip

"The patient should learn to see his dreams as a reflection of many different aspects of himself, some more acceptable to his conscious views of himself than others." Steven Levy

"One priceless thing the patient learns in therapy is the limits of relationship. One learns what one can get from others, but, perhaps even more important, one learns what one cannot get from others." Irvin Yalom

"First feelings have to be acknowledged, then one has to bear them, and finally one has to decide what to do with them." Elvin Semrad

"A major goal of therapy is for the patient to become clear about who he is, what he feels, and what he wants from others." Allan Cooper and Earl Witenberg

"The experience of long suppressed pain and insight into its origins can only develop within a therapeutic relationship that provides a sense of safety so that one is not overwhelmed by whatever anxiety, guilt or shame is connected to it. Without this the patient cannot bear his experience lest he feel all alone." David Glick

" Everyone has a shadow, the part of ourselves we cannot tolerate and accept and which we therefore banish from consciousness. If our shadow remains repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets integrated into our personality with the danger that we will likely project it onto others." David Glick

"When couples are polarized they are often fighting with the denied and repudiated aspects of their own personalities which they are then projecting onto each other." David Glick

Some Wisdom About Change


"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." Anatole France

"Change brings opportunity." Nido Qubein

"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever." Keri Russell

"The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases." Carl Jung

"Every human life contains a potential; if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted." Carl Jung

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." Alan Watts

"Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer." Shunryu Suzuki

"We cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew." Albert Einstein

"We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." Howard Zinn

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." Margaret Mead