On the surface, Stutz is a documentary about therapy tools. Dig a little bit deeper – it is actually a documentary about the love between therapist and client. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the trailer here.
I’ve been reading the many posts about Stutz in Facebook therapist groups over the last week or so. There has been a lot of criticism about dependency and the love expressed between Stutz and Jonah.
I have always been curious about why some therapists are avoidant in their feeling and expression of love towards their clients. The two most obvious reasons are likely because of the therapist’s own attachment injuries and because they were taught in therapy school, never to love the patient!
The majority of clients that I have worked with in my private counselling and psychotherapy practice, have arrived at my door in crisis. Group analyst, Jarlath Benson, who was my trainer in psychoanalytic studies, writes that the crisis clients arrive with, is ‘a terrible conflict which centres around longing to love and be loved, while being afraid to love and dreading being unlovable.’
I am yet to work with a client whose concerns do not centre around love, or lack thereof. It therefore seems diabolical to me that as therapists, we are told not to love our clients. Our fixation as a field with symptoms and psychopathologies listed in the DSM, has removed many in the profession from the heart and soul of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is about repairing that which was lacking in the client’s early life – it’s about a relationship centred in love.
I have been a psychotherapist for 20 years and there hasn’t been one long-term client who I didn’t grow to love. Just like in Stutz, that requires a certain level of vulnerability on behalf of the therapist. It means working through our own attachment injuries to be in deep relationship with our clients, rather than staying avoidant of relationship by focusing on the provision of tools and education. It’s the main reason, therapists must have their own long-term, depth psychotherapy. It means honing our bifocal vision skills; seeing in two directions – the Soul-Self and the ego (and the parts of the personality with all of their behaviours and protective defenses). When we look in both directions, we see the client, and ‘be with’ the client, as a whole person, a soul on a journey, not just as a personality in need of a cure or a fix.
Firman and Gila write,
It is love that facilitates the innate drive of synthesis towards wholeness, and actualisation; love that supports the human journey over the course of a lifetime; love that allows the human spirit to thrive. Looking even more closely at the operation of love, however, we can see that this is a particular type of love. This is a love that can see and embrace all of who we are – in short, an empathic love.
Whilst Stutz the Documentary, I think got side-tracked by the tools (much like modern psychology!), the healing ‘tool’ that wasn’t made explicit but that jumped out of the screen at us, was the love that Jonah experienced from Stutz and vice versa – something I suspect was missing from both of their early lives.
Whilst there are ethical considerations about making such a film, I think ‘Stutz’, is about an appreciation and expression of love.
Psychosynthesis is a psychotherapy of LOVE. If you would like to learn more about bifocal vision and how to work with soul & depth in your current discipline, check out my upcoming courses.