All day long patients ask me “What do I have to do to heal?”  The majority want simple answers, such as see a counselor, take this medication, or change a habit. These provide some superficial healing.  Every once in a while I am asked “What do I really need to do to heal?”  What they mean is they want true healing, the mending of the soul. They don’t want just toilet water or cologne; they want perfume.

Most of the time these seekers haven’t a clue what they are asking. The real answers (if taken) would shake them to their core. One fellow recently asked me to compose a list of what he had to do for true healing. I provided it. It was as ill received as the rich man in the Christian gospel who asked what he must do to gain eternal life. He was hoping for a convenient and comfortable answer.  When he was told he had to really change which meant giving up his posessions, the man backed out. As did my fellow.

I thought I would share what I gave him –

1-  You have to redefine ‘healing’. Stop seeing healing as an end product where your body and soul are perfected. Think of healing as a daily task, “I am always healing”.  One can be sad, physically hurt, or in pain but still be considered healed.

2-  After you are hurt get a few people to witness your wounds. Do this no more than a few times and then be done with it. When you have been heard and witnessed, no longer dwell on your wounds nor let them direct you. Move your energy out of the past and into the present.

3- Stop trying to solve the mystery why things happened the way they did. I know this sounds heretical coming from a shrink! After all, isn’t Psychiatry about ‘going back into the past and finding the cause of things?”  Alas, this doesn’t promote the task of moving forward in Life.

4- Create a new Life path. When we are hurt, the paths we are on become blocked. Choiceless we are given the choice: get better or get bitter. Make a new Journey and do not dwell on how life should have/could have been.


5- Finally – and this may be the most important aspect for healing – you have to force yourself to forgive. I say ‘force yourself’ as you will not ‘want’ to do this. It is only after you done it you realize how good it feels.


One of the best ways for a good tomorrow is to leave a bad yesterday behind.