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Self Relationship
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Self Relationship

Self Relationship - A path of self-growth

Self-Relations (also known as Sponsorship) is a form of support, help, assistance, a higher order type of therapy. In brief, rather than address an issue directly by means of talk, or technique, the path of self-relations suggests that the inner relationship within a person is critical. Sponsorship is a means to achieve this, by somply and with compassion, holding a space open for a person, a safe space that they can enter and explore and test out their feelings without judgement. A common experience of this is in a relationship, where each partner feels they can do more, develop more, because they have the implicit support of another human being in doing so.

An advocate of this type of work is Steven Gilligan [1]

"Gilligan defines symptoms as an awakening of the soul, the leaking of life from a person who has tried to keep life from flowing. This perspective acknowledges the purpose of symptoms. It goes deeper than what we would normally call reframing. Gilligan sees violence as a skill-less form of love. He describes it as a means by which somebody is trying to awaken the center within them, the soulfulness within them, but does not really have a clear idea about how to do that. The therapist's job is to be there as "sponsor," to touch with love whatever a person brings. If there is not a mature human presence to be able to touch it, connect with it, to bring it into traditions, that awakening will be seen to have no human value.

"There are three key aspects to sponsorship: (a) the intent is to awaken in a person the awareness of the goodness and the gifts of who they are, (b) it awakens one to the goodness and to the gifts and to the possibilities that are in the world, and (c) it fosters traditions that connect and bring these things into something that has human value.

"Listeners are provided with many examples of the various forms that positive sponsorship may take. Gilligan illustrates the significance of sponsorship in human relationships and soulfulness not only between individuals but also on a community level. He explores the way Anne Sullivan served as a sponsor for Helen Keller's process of awakening. He discusses an interesting PBS special on girls in prison. Stories from his own parenting experiences are brought into the presentation, as are examples from African tribal rituals, Aikido, and Tibetan philosophy. All these serve to highlight the importance of sponsorship in every human circumstance."


[1] The principle of sponsorship in psychotherapy

[1] The sponsorship of soul