Dimensions of Friendship (Spring 2021)
“Every true love and friendship is the story of unexpected transformation.”
-- Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love
Psychotherapy, too, is a story of transformation – of both therapist and client. While much has been written about romantic love and attraction both within and outside of the therapy room, less has been written about friendship.
Like romantic love, friendship holds a mystery. Sometimes a chance encounter serendipitously leads to friendship – a felt sense that begins instantly – and other times a friendship is built brick by brick, through multiple encounters over long spans of time. But there is mystery in the fact that, like romantic love or familial love, friendship cannot be willed. Friendships play out across the lifespan or they are tied to particular stages of life; elements of friendship may include: initiation, sustenance, rhythms, unintended consequences, and endings of friendships.
How do our clients’ friendships shape the psychotherapy we do with them? How do therapists’ friendships shape our work with clients? How does our work as therapists shape or limit our own friendships? In what ways have you been a friend to your clients, and in what ways have you not?
Psychotherapy is often seen as a journey. Friendships have a journey quality, too, and can be an adventure. “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen,” says Winnie the Pooh to his friend Piglet. And, psychotherapy, like friendship, is often reciprocal. How does each see the other? How accurate or inaccurate is the mirror of friendship?
For this issue of Voices we seek your voice on friendships, in and out of the consulting room. What brought you together with an important friend? What has kept you together, or what nearly or actually broke you apart? When a client reports having trouble with friendships, what do you feel? And then what do you do? How have your own friendships changed over time or as a result of your profession as a psychotherapist? How have your friendships ended, and what feels finished and what doesn't? What transformational experiences in friendship do you know intimately? We are also interested in friendship dyads who may want to write – together or separately – about the evolution of their friendship.