Parallel Paradigm Shifts
Changes in our perception of the wild world of nature has run parallel to a change occurring in our approach to mental health.
We have gone from the view of a need to tame and control nature, to recognizing that there is an inherent wisdom in the fluctuations and disturbances of ecosystems. The role of wildfire is a perfect example. We now realize it plays a natural role in keeping certain ecosystems healthy and diverse. After a wildfire, a forest immediately begins movement back towards diversity of life, its next version of structure and stability. This movement indicates health.
Meanwhile, in the field of psychology, we started out with the idea that there was a waywardness inherent in ourselves that needed to be brought under control. The various theories, schools of thought, and techniques of current western psychology still follow the same underlying message: we need to work hard to change ourselves. Now however, we are beginning to see that it is not change that we need. What we need is an understanding of how we function as thinking beings, in order to flow with the changes in our thinking.
This is a learning about being human. That is: we will, all of us, therapists and non therapists alike, still at times get completely caught up in thoughts of worry, distress, and fear, and always will. This is not about getting rid of disturbance on the inside or the outside. It is about recognizing the natural ebb and flow, and that a thought in any moment is not the truth of who we are. It represents one aspect of ourselves, and the same wisdom that guides all of nature, is operating inside us, and it will show up as a clear and creative state of deeper Thought where we know the wisest thing to do next. When people get their own insights about this, their own wisdom takes them further. Their true wild nature can become their guide.