Make the difference between support and improvement

So in this world of even greater contrast than ever before, we see more and more people seeking to heal. The way we perceive society in general has changed over the past ten years or so but of course, with an enhanced twist since the pandemic.

I say contrast because due to the situation we are experiencing such an increase in the mental health field of demands but also of offers. Many have chosen to take advantage of people’s despair and the boarders between who is what when it comes to “help” have been quite softened.

Whether it’s on a physical, mental or emotional level, you are in the need to help, you have to be vigilant of the empathic capacities of your advisor. What I mean by that is this : sometimes the difference between someone supporting you and someone trying to improve you can be blurry too.

If I want to improve my skills in Spanish, I will seek a professional who wants to take me from A to B with a rather clear plan of progression. On the first week they will take a note of my current level and then work towards IMPROVING my skills over time.

Unless I have a specific trauma linked to the learning process in general or to hispanic language in particular, there should be no resistance for me other than retaining new information in my mind.

However, if I am, in any shape or form, trying to HEAL something and that I’m seeking help from a mentor, teacher, therapist, coach (or whatever else exists today), it will become acutely clear to me where my resistance is if they are trying to improve me. If there has ever been a trauma (and there has for everyone because trauma isn’t about what actually happened but how we experienced it), our very first step is to make amends with what is blocked inside of me from that point and on. If someone is instead trying to move me from where I am to “where I should be”, it is understood by my whole organism as “return of the trauma”. Because trying to improve means that where I am now is not enough. Is not ok, or acceptable.

When we heal from physical trauma, let’s say in a rehab facility, we want the body to find it’s way back to being stable before we even try to go further than we were before the trauma. If I have broken my leg, the rehab will not try to make me run a marathon but instead help the leg to hold me up again once the wound has healed.

It’s the same with a yoga pose. Many think that yoga is about stretching. But that is not the case. What we actually do, if we want to practice yoga in a healthy way, is to release the blockages in the body so that we can be comfortable in our own skin. I can repeat the same pose every day without “stretching” and over time, the tensions will release and I will actually go deeper into the pose without forcing it. That is how you deal with trauma.

In the clinical situation, we do the same thing. Because we need to accept where we are at today in order to release the tensions. This is why it is never helpful to ask someone why they are depressed or even why they are stressed. Mostly, they don’t know the WHY which is often the reason they consult.

The job of the person they consult (the therapist, psychologist, counsellor…) is not to help the person IMPROVE themselves, but instead to be a SUPPORT for where the person is today.

Only by supporting someone in their current situation, can we create enough safety so that they can ACCEPT themselves as they are, flaws and imperfections included. And the irony is that the “improving” then happens naturally because it is only when we accept what we are today that we can let go and move forward. 

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞