psychotherapy & spirituality

Posted on: April 19, 2015 by Chris Kingman

Poetry-of-Spirituality-Elizabeth-Dickson

Elizabeth Dickson, therapist and author, passed away in NYC on Easter Sunday, 4/5/15. As her bio says, before she became a therapist she worked as “the Director of a Policy Analysis Division for New York City mayor Ed Koch, and later as a Bond Analyst at Smith Barney, where she was promoted to Vice-President.” I point this out because it illuminates something important about Eli: her therapy work was grounded in a very practical wisdom derived from struggling and succeeding in the real world of NYC politics and finance for many years. The combination of her worldliness, her passions, her integrity and her authenticity allowed her to form very real, warm and eminently helpful relationships with clients and colleagues alike.

I met Eli in the mid-1990’s and her impact on my life and career has been beyond measurable. I had recently bought the coffee-table version of her book and corresponded with her about it on 3/30/15, letting her know that my 2-year-old daughter kept asking to look at the magnificent pictures (taken by Eli’s niece). I will be forever grateful I had that opportunity to communicate with Eli one last time before she passed and to congratulate her on her monumental accomplishment.

This book of hers, this work-of-a-lifetime is quite a valuable addition to our field of psychotherapy—in its sincere humanism, provocative thought, range of ideas and depth of heart. As she notes in the book, research indicates over and over that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is an enormously robust mechanism of change. Thus it is appropriate that this book is such a reflection of Eli’s spirit and will give any reader a sense of what it was (and continues to be) like to ‘be-in-relationship-to’ Eli Dickson: warm, thought-provoking, grounding, growthful, healing, inspiring, transformative.

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