Hello and welcome back to the Therapy Spot, everyone! This week, I interviewed psychodynamic and transpersonal counsellor Lysanne Sizoo. Lysanne has a wealth of experience and has helped clients face and overcome their challenges since 1997. She also authored the book Small Sparks of Life, which tells the story of her challenging journey to motherhood.
Lysanne currently lives on a houseboat on the Vecht River outside of Amsterdam, where she meets individually with clients and also hosts creative retreats. It was in this idyllic setting that we had our discussion about trust and transpersonal psychology.
Psychology, Spirituality, and Transpersonal Therapy
The term “transpersonal psychology” might be new to some of you. Spirituality — whether religious or otherwise — plays a significant role in this school of psychology. Transpersonal therapy holds the belief that we, as people, are more than our personalities. There’s a part that “plugs us in” to something greater than, and outside of, our Selves.
Lysanne specifically focuses on the idea of meaning and purpose in her clients’ lives. These clients come to her with perfect-sounding lives: great job, great spouse, wonderful children, nice house, you name it. Yet, in Lysanne’s own words: “They’re not happy. And they’re angry at themselves for not being happy.”
That unhappiness nags at them, like a persistent caller banging on the door of their mind. She offers her clients a judgement-free space in which to open the door and explore their purpose.
Trusting Your “Small, Still Voice”
Maybe, like the people above, you “have everything” but still feel unhappy. Or maybe you struggle to make even small decisions. In both of these instances, trust is the key. We all of us have “an inner, small, still voice of calm” that tells us what is right. Unfortunately, as we age, that voice gets obscured by other voices.
Many forms of therapy begin by helping people understand these additional “layers” of voices that have obscured our “small, still” voice. “We make sense of the present by looking into the past, which gives us what we need to move into the future.”
Lysanne admits that the process can be frightening! She likens it to a walk in the woods, where the further you go, the more equipment you have to discard. First, you throw away your compass. Then, you throw away your water bottle. The fear comes from not knowing if you’ll find a new compass or water bottle along the way. In her mind, the job of the counselor is to mirror trust back to the client, at a time when they struggle to trust themselves.
In this way, the relationship between therapist and client is incredibly important. Lysanne has seen this in action from both sides of the couch! When discussing a therapist in her past, she said: “Because he trusted me, I learned to trust me.”
Finding Joy, Finding Flow
The “higher center of consciousness” that Lysanne mentions has a lot in common with the concept of flow. A life lived connected with that higher consciousness, just like a life lived in flow, will feel effortless and joyful. Who among us can’t use a little more joy in our lives? When you build and nurture that feeling of connectedness, you become more resilient. The feeling of connection to something greater than herself helped Lysanne navigate some of the most difficult events in her life. With that connection, “you can trust life,” Lysanne says. “You can lean back into the arms of life.”
I absolutely loved hearing what Lysanne had to say about compassion, curiosity, trust, and psychology’s evolution over the years. If you’re interested in learning more about transpersonal therapy, I encourage you to visit her website. Did her words resonate with you? Lysanne offers three-day creative retreats aboard her houseboat.
Thank you to Lysanne for joining me, and to all of you for listening. Until next time!