By Rich Simon When I mentioned Today’s Wisdom, our upcoming webcast series to various colleagues, they all seemed intrigued by the star-power of the participants—Irv Yalom, Mary Pipher, Eugene Gendlin, Tara Brach, Ron Siegel and Daniel Kahneman–but by the subject of therapy and wisdom? Not so much.
So why are we doing a series on wisdom? Because Wisdom offers us the very thing that is too often lacking in a culture driven by an obsessive focus on short-term gain and unthinking, mindless entertainment. It is an antidote to the self-deluding aggrandizement of the individual self at the expense of the community and to the worship of success in an almost insanely materialistic society.
But what is wisdom anyway? And why do we think it is such an important factor in psychotherapy—at least as important, if not more so, than psychological theory, technique or methodology?
What wisdom—particularly therapeutic wisdom—offers us is from another world entirely. It’s the ability to observe human nature with accuracy and compassion, to make decisions amidst ambiguity and uncertainty, to balance individual expression with the need for relationship, to grasp the sheer complexity of human interactions, to welcome, learn, and grow from experience. Clearly, nobody will ever embody all of these qualities and talents—but just as clearly, these qualities are what make the masters of the therapeutic craft so effective in their work and so inspiring to all of us.
Can we possibly learn this thing called wisdom? Or is it something like eye color or left-handedness—you either have it or you don’t? The truth is that one of the best ways to acquire wisdom is by hanging out with wise people—if you can find them. Listen to them, think about what they say, examine their thoughts in the context of our own lives and professional practice, absorb their outlook through a kind of brain to brain transmission.
You’d be hard pressed to find a collection of human beings as remarkable as the guests we’ve assembled for our upcoming webcast on Today’s Wisdom. They are generous, disarmingly honest and very clear about what works well. Wisdom has led them to places of clarity and I think you’ll be rewarded by how much practical, straightforward, compassionate and effective guidance their wisdom contains.
Beyond that, you’ll be learning from some of psychotherapy’s greatest thinkers and teachers. They’ll be talking about their journeys on the road to wisdom and you’ll experience their unique take on psychotherapy and life. It’s a great opportunity to enrich your practice and your own capacity for achieving wisdom.
I hope you will join us. Find out how.