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Show Up Naked

I was chatting with some friends when one asked about getting the attention of a man in whom she was romantically interested. I replied, “Show up naked, and bring beer.” It certainly wasn’t some great original gem of advice. It is the punch line from an old joke about the different challenges of seducing women and men.

It’s easy to go right by that one without absorbing much. But let’s look closer. “Naked” is direct, sexy, fairly easy to read. It also is unhidden, exposed, vulnerable- both physically and emotionally. “Bring beer”, clearly implies party time- celebration, embarking on an adventure.

Now we have vulnerability and celebration. Or we can say, a sense of your own pain and a sense of your own adventure.

These are significant requirements in the therapeutic relationship. Without these two, I am not sure any other skills will suffice. These elements keep it real. They form the ground for the relationship.

Obviously most practitioners don’t show up sans culottes, but without grounding into a sense of my own pain, I lack empathy. My actions will be based on abstract choices, rather than anchored in compassion.

Likewise, I don’t come into my practice carrying a six pack of Old On Sale. But if all I have to offer is pain, who needs me? Masochists aside, most of us want some sense of possibility, some thread of hope, and some enthusiasm for the challenge. I can’t tell you what your life holds, but a sense of my own adventure makes me a much more valuable companion on the healing journey.

Clothing and sobriety are good choices for my work hours. But pain and adventure are inseparable and invaluable. They don’t need to dominate, but if I want to practice from strength, I need to keep a taproot into the deeper well of my experience.

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April 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Bravo! Way to make a powerful point using nudity and beer 🙂 Thanks for the message, I will pass this one along!

    Comment by TheMrRogers | April 13, 2010 | Reply


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