Presenting: Just like a walk in the park!

“It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.” -Thoreau

“Everything has beauty.” -Confucius

First, I want to say that I deeply appreciate the participants who have experienced end contributed to this work as I continue in the process of developing my ideas and presentation of “Stepping Through Beauty” and about “the art of focusing oriented relational psychotherapy.” My interactions and connections with you nurture, inspire and fuel me on! Thank you very much for asking me to post more of my ideas.

ballentineI may need to write a blog about “public speaking phobias’ one of these days! I jumped past that seemingly insurmountable hurdle in May, presenting my ideas as part of the panel at the Third International Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies in Stony Point, New York and this past Sunday for the Experiential Psychotherapy Program (EPP) in New York City. How do I get past my fear of public speaking? I focus on the ideas I want to develop and an experience of the meaning of beauty that I hope to inspire in you. This all feels much bigger than my fear. Thanks to your enthusiasm, presenting is becoming more like a walk in the park.

This is all part of journey I am on to integrate and honor creative process in my two passions: art-making and psychotherapy. For a long while, I took art classes on the weekends and became increasingly committed to practicing drawing every chance I had while learning to draw in the tradition of classical realism. In my psychotherapy practice, I longed for a way to better integrate my passions and remembered some poetic words that came to me in a dream: “Every moment of stepping through God I am born.”

These words inspired an experience of the beauty of nature and creativity as the “river that runs through” everything meaningful in my life. It is a constant in art, as I work from life and do studies from nature, and in my work as a focusing-oriented psychotherapist, as I experience beauty in each of my clients, human nature and relationships.

Here is a poem I quoted at the EPP event. It speaks to these ideas and says so much more than it appears to in just a few words:

Izumi Skikibu (a Japanese writer from more than a thousand years ago):
Although the wind.
Blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Here are of the “still-formulating” ideas I presented at the EPP event, not in any particular order:

1. The experience beauty in nature, ourselves and others is essential to our sense of well being, connection and belonging.

2. However our traumas, histories, patterns, brokenness and situations limit our capacities to relate, the  beauty of nature is forever holding us in its larger non-duality, in which we are all organically related and connected.

3. A “focusing attitude” of kindness and openness has a tonal quality. I experience and come to know myself most fully when  the “listening tone” of the person listening to me creates space for my deepest experiencing levels. A client experiences and may cone o know themselves more fully and as more beautiful than they knew through the “listening tone” and reflections of their therapist.

4. What a person experiences and says, and how and what we hear, matters. Experiencing the beauty in any thing and any moment enhances life.

5. The beauty of focusing oriented relational psychotherapy is in the experience and potential of the therapeutic relationship to hold both client and therapist “whole bodily” in states of creative possibility in the unlimited non-dualistic magnificence and vast mystery of nature and human nature.

6. In the fine arts and the fine art of psychotherapy, the illumination of the felt sense nurtures our deepest and darkest places. Great art and great psychotherapy are elegant expressions of bodily felt experience, connecting us in the flow of nature and life.

7. Receiving and reflecting the beauty that exists within another person (that might otherwise go unnoticed) is a highlight of relational psychotherapy. As therapists, at our bests, we are the clearest of reflective pools.

8. We create the “kinds of interactions”/experiences that re-place all of us in the creative flow of life and largest healing contexts: the beauty of nurturing relational experience and the natural universe.

9. We are much more our “plant bodies” (Gendlin) than we usually remember.

10. Dying may awaken us to the inherent beauty of nature.

11. Beauty is the antidote to suffering and trauma.

For more about how I integrate what I learn from what I practice, please read my chapter in “Defining Moments for Therapists”. You may read the PDF for free here: and my article in the November 2014 issue of “The Folio”, easily accessed at

“Ballentine Park” (Oil) © Robin Kappy 8/2013

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