The following account was written by a former client who was generous enough to articulate her experience while in therapy with Greg Brian. It is possible that, by reading this piece, one may get a sense of what it's like to work in a Transpersonal Psychotherapeutic setting.
When I began therapy with Greg, I did not know that he was a transpersonal therapist, nor did I know what this meant. What I did know was that the process of therapy with Greg felt different from any other I had experienced -- and it quickly took hold.
Even during the initial intake session, as I emotionally expressed my reasons for being there, I sensed a groundedness in Greg which, despite my own tendency to "bounce off the walls," was contagious. It wasn't that I stopped being emotional; it was that something about my experience with Greg resulted in an underlying sense of calm amidst emerging chaotic feelings. From this experience, I gained a renewed sense of hope.
The second session also caught me by surprise. I expected to talk about my past and have it be connected to present dysfunction in some traditional psychoanalytic fashion, but as I began a monologue (the "story" of me), Greg expressed interest in exploring only one of a slew of statements. The statement? "I'm a mess." I had said it almost in passing. What could possibly be so important about this general statement when compared with what I considered the influential events of my past? I was soon to find out.
Greg assigned me a task for the next week. The task was to ask myself in response to each negative thought, "Is it true?" and to consider the answer as objectively as possible. In doing this, I became aware of a dichotomy between what was really happening and what I told myself was happening. The running self-commentary which accompanied my daily activities exaggerated relatively minor errors and weaknesses into proof of utter ineptness and worthlessness.
While the statement "I'm a mess" may have resulted from past dysfunction (conditioning), it had become a personal expression of an ever-present belief about myself. My negative self-talk boxed me in to a very limited (and inaccurate) self-view, diminishing my ability to access emotional, cognitive and creative resources -- a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, what happened when I began to see things as they really were without associating them with past experiences, no matter how similar? My anxiety decreased and I began to experience moments of relative peace -- even during unfavorable circumstances, events and feelings. I had learned that awareness of what is truly happening in the present and the willingness to question the validity of long-held beliefs allows one to see life anew without judgment. I'm not claiming that I suddenly viewed life through rose-colored glasses, but I stopped viewing life with as many preconceived ideas about how things would or should be. I was learning to just look and listen to What Is in each experience and accept it without (or with less) judgment.
Over the next few sessions,
Greg led me through other inquiries -- inquiries which caused
me to reevaluate the very essence of my being. I saw that I was
more than the sum-total of my egoic structures; that each of us
has a personality, which is not to be rejected, but when viewed
within the vast space of awareness, is seen as an ongoing process,
and not the solid self-identity that we usually take it to be.
The result of this self-inquiry is transforming. I discovered
that awareness itself is my true identity! Fortunately, this is
a skill that can be developed with practice. There's no mystery
in the techniques (meditation is commonly used); the mystery,
wonder, and healing is evident in the results of the techniques
and in being present with someone who has a greater mastery of
these techniques, such as Greg. In sharing presence, there is
a wordless transmission of healing that can be felt and experienced,
but not described in words.