Is Reverence The Next Big Thing?

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My role is to stay informed about what is influencing the world of psychotherapy.

The changes keep coming. Always have. Always will. In this century there are many positive and exciting developments. Among these are integrating ideas about mindfulness, self-compassion presence, and kindness. These are not “therapies “but more attitudes and the encouragement of awareness.

I think Reverence comes next. This again is an attitude towards ourselves, our clients and our colleagues. It’s not a way to manipulate or a technique. And it may also seem superfluous when faced with ongoing work demands, paperwork, and all the other pressures of private or public practice.

Reverence is nonverbally acknowledging the sacred space that we share with another human being when dealing with life’s realities and difficulties. It’s a way of acknowledging that each of us is doing the best we can at any one time, with who we are, what we have to deal with, and the situations/life experience that lead us to this day. It’s a quiet way of saying “isn’t this incredible that we are here together in this life and in this moment… And I totally respect who you are and the struggle you share with me.”

The pressures of work and our own lives can sometimes lead us to be annoyed with people or feeling that we don’t have time/space for this kind of thing. However, we can keep in mind the value of reverence even if we can’t do it all the time. And when we cannot manage an attitude of reverence, we can accept ourselves, have compassion for who we are: another fallible human on the path.

John Donahue, a poet and writer who influenced many therapist says this well: