In 2000, the Irish rock band U2 released their tenth studio record, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. The first track on the album was titled, Beautiful Day. The band’s lead singer, Bono, said the song was about losing everything but still finding joy in what you have.
The song starts with the lyrics:
The heart is abloom
Shoots up through the stony ground.
In my time as a psychotherapist, no one has ever asked for a heart that’s abloom.
Often, people who come to therapy have relied heavily on their intellect to create their lives. They analyse themselves and the world. They develop strategies that they determinately put into practice.
On the outside, they can appear to be emotionally engaged with the world around them; happy, caring, loving and enthusiastic. But the reliance on their brains creates an emptiness inside them, a place where they are not in touch with themselves or others.
At the most fundamental level, these patients approach therapy as a problem solving exercise, gaining information to plug into their analytic minds. This can be the case even when they have intense emotional experiences in the therapeutic work.
By maintaining the primacy of their minds, they never fully connect with themselves and the issues that brought them to therapy remain untouched.
Confronting the power of their intellect can be terrifying for these patients. Often, it takes a great deal of psychological work to wean them off their brains and into their hearts.