Man is a social being.
He is conceived, born and develops thanks to the world of relationship he belongs to. These relationships convey emotions and their style shapes the individual’s inner world and determines his way of relating both to himself and to others.
A person’s unease, be it physical or emotional, often goes back to dysfunctional relationship models learnt from birth which can be carriers of painful and undigested aspects that are unconsciously perpetuated. With therapeutic help, therapist and patient work together to come to terms with these aspects.
Each child’s basis for development is laid down by his relationship with his parents. It is very important that parents teach their children something I define as “emotional alphabet”. That is the capacity to perceive one’s emotions, needs and desires. The capacity to recognize them and give them a name so as then to be able to express them. During a therapeutic session we start again from that founding moment of the person, if this process has not been elaborated.
During pregnancy an embryo is totally dependent on the woman who carries it in her womb. It is nourished and develops via whatever the mother offers it both biologically and from a relationship point of view. At birth there is the first great separation between newborn and mother. The newborn, unable to survive alone, finds himself catapulted into an unknown world which terrifies him. He needs a mother who is able to protect him from an excess of stimulations and who can satisfy his physical and emotional needs. A competent mother works to find a harmony between the mental and physical states of her child and her own needs and desires. That same child will in turn strive to harmonize with his mother using those genetic and character components which make him unique.
A newborn’s fulfillment of his needs will forge his trust of dependency on another person.
As he grows the child will evolve alternating between need of dependency and a slow acquisition of autonomy from the parental figure. He will gradually open out to the outside world. This process will continue until adolescence, a moment in which his social birth is founded with the acquisition of a new social role which is no longer connected to the family and to those infantile images of himself as a child. Finally he will reach the adult state of being a person, a state which is never definitive but in constant evolution directed towards the individual’s realization of himself as a unique and authentic being.
In this vision of being human it must not be forgotten that an individual is made up of a mind and a body which are inseparable and communicate secretly. Emotions perceived by a person have a direct effect on his organic functions and vice versa. When a person is unable to connect with his emotions, his body will express them via a specific language which is different to the mental one.
So, we have to reconsider our vision of bodily illnesses beyond the mind-body dichotomy as a bodily expression of something regarding the individual which can no longer remain silent. A predefined symbolic meaning cannot be given to a bodily symptom. Only through a reconstruction of the individual’s emotional history is it possible to attribute its value.
The therapeutic path will go back over all these founding passages of the being and will be above all a co-construction work between therapist and patient to build a new way of being together. It will be the birth of a new relationship possibility based on mutual recognition and respect for the differences and the unique elements of every person involved. A relationship which, when consolidated and interiorized, will become a new relationship model that the individual will have at his disposal in his personal realization.
Man is a social being.