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“The blind child is guided by its mother to admire the cherry blossom”…. Kikaku

As Martin Buber famously said,  it is through Thou that a person becomes I.  Deep connection is how human beings come into being,  both in childhood and in the ongoing experiences of adulthood. 

In earliest life, our personalities and characteristics are first brought into being through the ways that our caregivers with us. Our parents see us in certain ways, determined by their own psychology; and those perceptions, in turn, shape who we become.   As the psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut put it, the self at birth is a virtual self, a self which develops in the process of being seen and responded to by (m)other.

Psychotherapy engages a similar process of self-delineation.   The way that we as therapists see the person and his or her predicament — and the way that we relate to him or her — is what allows new qualities of self to emerge into being. Then, as change begins to appear, our role is recognize and validate it.

In this way, the person comes to see him or herself in the eyes of the therapist.   New structures of self are birthed in these deep moments of meeting.


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