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The Findhorn Book of Forgiveness
by Michael Dawson.
Extract from Chapter Five
HELPING OTHERS TO FORGIVE
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or do,
because He who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes
knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.
[A Course in Miracles T-2.V.18:2-6]
Working with Others
This chapter enables me to share with other people - especially those
involved with counselling and therapy - an overview of some of the ideas
and techniques I have found helpful in trying to facilitate others to forgive
themselves. However, the case histories I have included in order to illustrate
the techniques used may be of value to all - therapists or not. I assume that
anyone drawn to trying these approaches will already have received training
A healing technique is of secondary importance compared with the presence
of the therapist. By "presence", I am referring to the therapist"s state of
mind whilst working with a client. For healing to occur therapists need to be
guided from within, and this can only happen if they are at peace around the
client. A wonderful healing technique used at the wrong moment is useless.
Knowing when to speak or remain silent, when to use a different approach
or method, must be guided from a place higher than reason and logic.
Therapeutic skill needs to be combined with inner listening. The following
account of a therapy session conducted by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick illustrates
"One of my first therapy experiences after I began working with the Course
in Miracles afforded me a powerful example of the relationship between healing
and forgiveness. I had seen Sister Annette for about two months. She was
fifty years old and had been in religious life almost thirty years. She was also
one of the angriest people I had ever worked with, filled with a silent hatred
toward those in authority that would have destroyed mountains. Over the
first few sessions, Sister Annette was able to begin questioning some of her
attitudes toward her Order and her desire for revenge. She no longer seemed
quite as committed to the retaliative steps she had contemplated. Or so I
thought. One day Annette walked into the office with her face coldly exhibiting
the "wrath of God!" Her convent co-ordinator had done something she
judged as being beyond forgiveness, and Sister Annette was hell bent on war,
absolutely closed to any suggestions she do otherwise.
That same morning I had come down with a very bad cold and felt
miserable. Not all my prayers and meditation were able to shift this, and I sat
before Annette feeling utterly helpless and discouraged. I knew that if she left
me as she had come in, she would be making an irrevocable mistake she would
regret the rest of her life. Yet nothing I said could budge her, and my growing
frustration only made my cold worse. The more frustrated I became, the more
real I made Annette"s angry symptoms and, correspondingly, my own as well.
Obviously, I was projecting my unforgiveness of myself onto Annette, seeing
in her stubborn clinging to her anger the mirror of my stubborn clinging to
my cold, not to mention my own failure as a therapist. Separation through
our symptoms became reinforced, and healing through joining retreated still
further behind clouds of guilt and anger.
What added to my difficulty was the belief that Annette had been sent
to me from God, and as she was in serious trouble it was my responsibility to
help her. And I was obviously failing. About midway through the session, my
desperation led me finally to remember that I was not the Therapist, and that
I certainly could not be more concerned for Annette than Jesus was. Even as
I was talking and listening to her, in another part of my mind I began to pray
for help, asking Jesus to provide the words that would heal her anger and fear,
and restore to her awareness the love that was her true identity.
The response was immediate, and I suddenly became available to the
help that was there - for me. A warm surge of energy rose up from my chest,
through my lungs, nose and throat, and I could feel my cold being healed and
my head clearing up. At the same time I began to speak. I don"t recall what
I said, and doubt if it were anything too different from what I had said previously.
Only now I was different. I no longer saw Annette as separate from me,
a patient in trouble whom I, as therapist, had to help. She now was my sister,
and by joining with her I was joining with Jesus. I had become the patient as
well, and together we received healing from the forgiving love of God. By the
end of the session, her softened face reflected the shift from anger and fear to
forgiveness and love, as my well being reflected the same shift in myself. I had
learned my lesson that day, to be relearned many times thereafter."
Forgiveness and Jesus by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick.
Published by Foundation For A Course In
Miracles © 1983 See Appendix 2 for book description.
Without the help of an inner guide, it is impossible to
work out what is best
for the client. Fortunately, we all have access to this wisdom once we can relax
and be willing to be helped from that source. The therapist needs to be peaceful
to access this inner wisdom.
If therapists find the presence of their clients disturbing, then their first
duty is to restore their own peace of mind before attempting to help their
forgivenesspp of clients. To achieve this they need to honestly admit they have lost their peace,
that the client is not responsible for this and they could do with some help to
see the situation differently. If their intention is sincere, they can rest assured
the inner help will come.
When clients are in the presence of therapists who are at peace they are
given a message that they are not being judged, that they are not being seen as
a sinner. This provides an opportunity for clients to change their minds and
release the burden of self-imposed guilt.
In the previous account of a counselling session, Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
describes the turning point in the session as the moment he began to ask for
help, in his case praying to Jesus. No longer knowing how to help he turned
within for guidance and received the help, both for himself and for his client.
The following is a summary of some of the techniques I use when helping
others to forgive and heal themselves. I think of these healing approaches
as keys on a piano. I need to know these keys well, but try to allow a higher
part of myself to know when to play them. Therapeutic training enabled me
to practise particular keys well (for example, guided visualisation), but it is
only through happily surrendering to a wisdom beyond my personality that
the appropriate keys get pressed at the right moment.
A therapist does not heal; he lets
He can point to darkness but he cannot bring light of himself,
for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient.
The Holy Spirit is the only Therapist.
He makes healing clear in any situation in which He is the Guide.
You can only let Him fulfil His function. He needs no help for this.
He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help,
and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere.
[A Course in Miracles T-9.V.8:1-8]
End of Chapter Five extract
see case histories