Thursday, June 25, 2009

Infinite Reflection

Poem for Bill Stiles on the occasion of his receipt of the Distinguished Career Award from the the Society for Psychotherapy Research, 24 June 2009.

You are
the Great Responder:
Is your

What you so modestly call borrowing
Is actually Deep Empathy,
As grounded in the depths of human history
As it is rooted in the present moment,
Growing out of the play of modern and postmodern,
Planting whatever comes next.

In this empathy, you take data from everywhere,
And bits and pieces of theory,
Whose pattern
We could not imagine.

Here, in the flickering, delicate dance
Between client and therapist,
In a moment of therapeutic change,
You trace the cloud chamber particles
Of Problem Clarification transforming into Insight

There, in the evolution
Of an unstructured growth group,
You resonate with the stories
Of our personal becoming:
The fever of Self-disclosure,
Intention realized through form,
The personal and the historical
Twinned and intertwined.

And again, in the change ripples
Of ten thousand therapies,
You understand the unity of Outcomes,
Of therapists and clients responsibly responding
Each to each,
As foretold by the Dodo,

And so on and on you go
Inexorable, with the gentle force
Of roots digging deep down to break
The very rocks beneath out feet.

There is nothing as useful
As one of your theories:

You weave words and numbers,
Facts and experiences,
Into a great nomological net.
You run all of these,
Through a kind of conceptual alchemy,
And reflect them back to us,
In systems of thought:

Levels of Intention descend
From the literal to the unconscious;
Lonely Voices, broken or bereft,
Seek Assimilation;
And a Theory of Cases becomes a cause célèbre,
The most individual providing
A touchstone for the universal.

These are your children
(But there are many more.)

So now it’s our turn
To hold a mirror up to you.
Naturally, it shows you
Holding up a mirror to us.

We’re all there with you
In this infinite reflection:
Meaning Bridges repeat, arching heavenward,
Carrying clients, therapists, scientists;
A Community of Voices;
An orchestra of Signs;
A Society of Psychotherapy Researchers.

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