As your therapist, I commit, throughout our work together, to do the following:
- I will value your vitality and what is important to you in your life. I also am conscious that you may not, at this moment, be fully aware of what is most important to you in your life.
- I will see the You beyond the story you have come with regarding the cause of your suffering. I also honor the unique learning history that brought you here today.
- I will value the You beyond your “stuckness” with your stories. I also empathize and share with you this inevitable tendency to fuse with and get stuck in the stories fabricated by the mind, especially stories regarding the “causes” of human suffering.
- I will value the You beyond the symptoms you are suffering from. I also empathize with the reality of that human suffering, a condition we all share.
- I will value the You beyond the countless solutions you’ve tried in the service of lessening your suffering, including coming to me now. I also empathize and share with you this hopeless tendency we all have to want to solve the unsolvable suffering in our lives.
- I will value the You who, on a deeper level, recognizes your own vitality and vital direction and knows which steps you can take to get back on the path at this point in time. I also empathize with and share with you the tendency to consistently avoid this vital direction, despite knowing what is possible.
- I will value the You who has the courage now to show me glimpses of what you know to be possible, taking the risk I will see, recognize, and validate this and hold it as a guiding light in our work, causing you even more anxiety. I also empathize and share with you the habitual tendency to run away from this vital path into familiar hiding places.
- I will stand by your side as you commit to and take your first difficult steps consistent with your vital direction. I also empathize and share with you the inevitable fear that these steps will initially elicit.
- I will value and feel inspired by your willingness to embrace your pain and suffering in the service of living a conscious, vital, and meaningful life. I commit to embracing my own difficulties as we work together to build a conscious, vital, and meaningful therapeutic relationship in the service of helping you find your own vital path outside of this room.
SOURCE: Dahl, J., Plumb-Vilardaga, J., & Lundgren, T. (2009). The art and science of valuing in psychotherapy: Helping clients discover, explore, and commit to valued action using acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.