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Dialectics In Therapy: The Coexistence of Opposite Truths

Sometimes during times of adversity, we can experience the phenomenon of two opposite feelings, ideas, values, or facts coexisting in our minds. Some examples of this can be being angry at a loved one- while simultaneously missing them, or feeling guilty over making a choice- while knowing that you’re making the right choice.

These coexisting opposites are referred to in Psychology as Dialectics. Our mental health can be heavily determined by how we accept the dialectics that confront us.

Dialectics are two opposing things being true at once, and opposites that are integrated can lead a person to greater truths about themselves and others. Therapists are trained to teach people how to recognize when a dialectic situation is occurring, to then encourage self-compassion and acceptance of interconnected thoughts.

One way of doing this is by focusing on the word AND. Below are some examples of dialectics using AND:

Interpersonal conflicts, changes, grief, loss, and growth can leave room for dialectics to enter our thoughts. Instead of trying to fight the coexistence of two truths, we can accept them and treat ourselves and others with understanding.

 “The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing … a movement out of the suspension between the opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation.”- Carl Jung

Siena Vaccara, LMHC Siena Vaccara received her master’s in Mental Health & Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Siena believes in encouraging personal growth through education, cultural awareness, and building trusting relationships. She utilizes Feminist and Narrative treatment plans, as well as Cognitive Behavioral and Person-Centered techniques in session to incorporate an integrative psychotherapy approach that honors the unique needs of individuals. She understands the importance of the collaborative therapeutic space being non-judgemental, unbiased, open-minded, and strength-driven. Siena treats individuals with concerns ranging from personal transitions to family planning, identity, mood fluctuations, and stressful life events.

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