Posted by: chrismaser | July 15, 2011



I have often heard and read about the many distinct emotions that are attributed to humans in psychotherapy, but I submit there are only two primary emotions—love and fear. Everything else is a facet of these. For example, impatience, anger, resentment, greed, hatred, shame, guilt are various aspects of one’s fear of being out of control, out of one’s comfort zone. Of these, parents and religious clergy of one denomination or another most often use guilt to “control” their children or members within accepted behavioral bounds of family values or church doctrine. On the other hand, patience, compassion, generosity, selfless service, unconditional acceptance of another person or situation, and peace are various aspect of love—of feeling at one with the essence of life and the Eternal Mystery.

Fear, and its counterpart, regret, are figments of the mind and can be found only in the future or the past, both of which are illusions and thus nonexistent in the one reality—the eternal present moment. In contraposition, love and its counterpart, acceptance, constitute the only universal reality and are bound within this moment of the eternal present, and nowhere else. Thus, if one lives in the present moment—in the here and now, fear can never take hold.

There is another concept in psychotherapy that I find misused, and that is “co-dependence.” Unfortunately, in psychotherapy, the connotation is always negative and meant as a dysfunctional interaction, which is terribly shortsighted because co-dependence is a primary, life-giving relationship found throughout Nature—in plants and mycorrhizal fungi, the whistling thorn acacia and ants, we humans and the millions of bacteria that minister to the health of our bodies inside and out, and myriad other co-dependent relationships around the globe in every conceivable habitat and scale of existence. In science, such co-existence would be called a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship in which each party benefits from its co-habitation with the other.

Moreover, Zane, my wife, and I have been married for over 30 years in a loving, co-dependent relationship that is healthy and functional. In short, we depend on each other as equal partners in the adventure of life wherein we enjoy each other’s company every day all day without exception—and have done so our entire married life. Put differently, we focus on each other’s strengths and accept each other’s limitations.

I suggest, therefore, that “co-dependence” be used more carefully and succinctly in psychotherapy, else all human relationships wherein people depend on each other in any sort of intimate sense would be lumped into the category and label of dysfunctional.

Related Posts:

• Meeting Fear

• Conversation 7–Shame

• Conversation 13–Anger

• Conversation 4–Love

• Conversation 8–Truth

• Conversation 9–Equality

Text © by Chris Maser 2011. All rights reserved.

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If you want to contact me, you can visit my website. If you wish, you can also read an article about what is important to me and/or you can listen to me give a presentation.

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