I have the privilege of having an office with incredible views of the surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Up on the lofty eighth floor, soaring above the rooftops of surrounding buildings, I watch as subways go back and forth over the Williamsburg bridge, cars flash by on the FDR, people amble about the streets, and boats go up and down the East River.

I often catch myself during sessions stealing glances out the window as I muse over my patients’ concerns. Zooming out and away from the direct content of the session helps me to think outside the concrete facts and creates space for an examination of the process as well as my own associations. From here real richness and clinical utility is derived.

Recently, a patient was talking about how he would like to feel more settled in his life. He has been moving about, both physically and energetically, for years, in search of answers on who he is and how to live a good, meaningful life. While this movement has provided him adventure and excitement, it has also led to exhaustion and confusion. As I listened to his concerns, observing the boats going to and from their destinations out my window, a metaphor began to unfold: what if the patient could view himself as a sailboat: When well tended to, the sailboat travels easily and comfortably. It relies on its sails but has a small motor in case it needs more support, and there are life vests in case of emergency. The anchor can be dropped for safe and pleasant stops. With these supports in place and enough attention, there’s little concern with running aground or out too far to sea.

We all need an anchor: it allows us to be safe to roam freely. Being anchored in who we are and what our values are helps to ensure that when we start to lose our course, we can figure out how to return and find our way back to ourselves. Having supports in place such as therapists and loved ones can help guide our process when we’re feeling lost. It’s much easier to weather a storm with a crew rather than steering alone. We have goals and steer toward them, but sometimes we need to change course. An anchor helps us navigate these vicissitudes.

Transcendent Self Therapy is an innovative therapeutic practice designed for those navigating the complexities of modern identities and lifestyles.

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