"For umpteenth time let me say that the word therapy means care or service and not cure or fix. It is a matter of the heart, and what distinguishes a therapeutic conversation is the desire to care for another person in distress or someone trying to make sense of his or her life. Psychotherapy means, etymologically, care of the soul or soul care. Care is a heart term.
"Whether you are doing professional therapy or being with a friend, you must be watchful not to take either the psyche (soul) or the therapy (loving care) out of psychotherapy. You can probably sense intuitively how soul and love go together, psyche and eros. Soul is intimate depth; love is intimate connection.
"You may love the person you are caring for, or you may not. But in either case you can love their soul. I sit with a person trying to get along in a difficult life and I see the complexities, the adversities, and the struggles. I see them as the alchemy by which the person is trying to make soul out of a scattered life. I feel compassion for this basic human need to feel alive and to be a person. The struggle may make a person difficult to befriend or to like, but the soul-making is deeply human. I identify with the opus, the work of becoming somebody, and that love leads to care. . . .
"Now that you know you can be a lay therapist for your family members and associates, you can spread your wings and be a therapist for a needy world. Do anything you can imagine to contribute to the emotional health of the planet. All our troubles in nations and across the globe are psyche trying to find love and beauty. Few understand this, but maybe you do because of your experience with your friends. Bring that knowledge to our world and be a therapist who goes far beyond the professionals in your care for the soul of the world.
"Let me finish with a few guidelines for friends counseling friends.
l. Don't think you know what your friend needs or who she should be.
2. Examine your own motives for helping, and clear your mind and will.
3. Don't think you know what is best for her.
4. Assure her that you can keep her secrets.
5. Listen closely to what she has to say and keep your solutions for another day.
6. Let her know that you have heard her.
7. Show her some real confidence and leadership.
8. Give her some genuine, positive feedback about herself.
9. Be devoted to her well-being and show it.
10. Notice any transferences, in you or in her, fantasies floating in the air and affecting the relationship.
11. Encourage her going further with stories that you sense are revealing and promising.
12. Show her strong friendship-love and support.