In any form of psychotherapy whether it be humanistic, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic or even more importantly, transpersonal, there is some high degree of importance placed on the establishment and maintenance of a therapeutic container or frame.
The frame is the container for the therapy, the fixed elements that form the boundaries for the work. The frame has three elements: time, place, fee. Optimally these three elements remain the same throughout the duration of the therapy, changed only after careful consideration, because changing one element alters the whole container. Keeping these elements fixed makes it easier to identify when either patient or therapist is acting out and facilitates working through whatever the issue is that gives rise to the acting out.
The frame is for both the client and the therapist. It provides a structure for the basic elements of the work. There is plenty going on all the time so it is helpful to have something be stable and predictable. The weather changes, mood changes, how we look or feel changes. People in our lives change. And so on. Of course sometimes it is necessary to change the time for meeting or the place, as when the therapist moves or changes offices. But the frame as that structural skeleton still exists.
In a Transpersonal therapy like Psychosynthesis, this container also acts as a Sacred Space.
Here, sacred has a tangible, personal meaning and can be different for everyone, but it is primarily a space that allows everything that is true about the people present in that space, both dark and light, to have a safe, welcoming place to exist, to be witnessed, encouraged, explored, expressed, honoured, healed and loved, in a way that respects the rights and humanity of others.
In a ritual sense, creating this ‘container’ simply holds safely, the parts of your experience you want to focus on. Separate from the hubbub of everyday life, it offers an environment that through its design, intention and ambience, allows you to explore things in a more focused, fully present way. It’s a real physical space that is distinct from other spaces in your environment and it ensures that, for a specified period of time, unwanted or unnecessary things or energies do not ‘leak in’ or ‘leak out’.