What we do, like Art Kovacs says, is closer to co-philosophizing, co-considering. We abide with, stay with, and sit with people in their pain. We may think we are magicians and use various gimmicks…But for the most part, I now think of them primarily as active placebos, that is, as things that make it seem like we are doing something, when what we are primarily doing is sitting with and abiding with people as they regain their strength to get back on their feet and get back in the game.

Arthur Bohart, From There and Back Again

1º 2 º 3 º 4º Robert Irwin 1997

Advice, pills, techniques, and therapist-craft cannot produce transformation. 

The fact that this statement could somehow be considered controversial is a testament to the power of those concepts in our lives and culture.  To clarify, it isn’t that there is anything implicitly wrong with them — we love novel insights, good medicine, and effective methodology.  But by definition, any healing intervention which presumes to exist apart from relationship or have an end that is achieved outside that context can only effect small to moderate change. 

In other words…

rather than some device or tool within it, because deep healing occurs in relationships.  Likewise, insight, discoveries, therapeutic momentum, recovery, and ultimately, even a more freestanding, generalized sense of well-being — these things are all by-products of relationship and don’t generally exist in any significant way outside them.

Our cultural generally only offers “things” like deconstruction or dogma or academic learning, each of which become substitutes for transformation, often so completely that the persons who are most expert at these things (read: academics, clergy or shamans, psychotherapists, etc.) are often the most deluded and unawares. 


From our point of view, it’s helpful to know more stuff, but only if one of the things you know is that your increase in knowledge does not in itself create an essential transformation of the self. 

So, while education and the like are necessary foundational variables for a prudent and just society, they are not sufficient in themselves to produce those characteristics within any one person (and therefore, culture).  In fact, it can be just the opposite — increased awareness without self-transformation tends to increase manipulation and coercion.  And therefore, like the Garden of Eden, more hiding of these things. 


This is why all of the wisdom teachers throughout the ages have primarily offered themselves, rather than some ideology or set of rules to follow.  

Even though their adherents and followers typically ended up doing just that.  In effect, the wisdom teachers were saying, “There is no healing to be had except what we offer one another relationally.  There is no solution to our problems except the mystery and wonder and magic that exists between us.”  Christ, Buddha, Gandhi, King Jr. — all of their teachings can only be understood in the ways they are embodied by their teachers, meaning ou must know the teachers or their spirits intimately if you wish to understand their teachings intimately.

Relationship is primary.


close. nearby.




San Diego, CA


(858) 227-7719