finding our voice:
ntu psychotherapy core principles
NTU psychotherapy is spiritually based. There is a vibrant belief that there is a spiritual force to ail of life and that the spiritual dimension is the connective link to the mental and physical spheres of human kind. (Myers, 1988; Nobles, 1986). The overriding focus of life and, indeed the goal of the mentally healthy person, is to be in harmony with the forces of life. When we are in harmony from within (immanent) and from without (transcendent) (Asante, 1986). When we are confluent, we are experiencing an onenesws with life and are “in tune with life.” When we are harmonious, we are “at peace” whether or not the external forces surrounding us are fragmented since being in harmony depends more on our abilities to adapt through a clear process of organizing the disparate parts into a meaningful whole. When we are in harmony we are unified.
Being in harmony suggests that you are living life, not fighting or controlling life. It does, however, mean that you are in charge of your life, but that you are steering your lifeship while understanding that there are other forces that will, in part, determine howand in what direction you travel. To the extent that you are in harmony, then you are accurately processing the winds that are surrounding your life. Your “input signals” are clear and crisp; you are mentally and emotionally sharp; you are more readily able to direct your life in the most efficient and rewarding manner. You are in front of your life while still connected to it.
The concept of balance is strongly related to harmony in that balance and harmony are different sides of the same concept. Balance refers to life as a dynamic process of energy fields and forces, and therefore our life task is to balance these seemingly competitive forces in a manner that brings about a unified whole (Capra, 1983; Davies, 1983). Life is not dichotomous at base, yet may often appear to be in its manifestations (i.e. the socialized dichotomy between male and female). Rather, life from an Afrocentric world view is diunital, which suggests that phenomena are unions of opposites and that our task is to unify our various internal and external forces (Myers, 1988; Nobles, 1980). Diunital logic applied to the realm of masculine and feminine natures suggests that all of us are composed of both qualities in varying amounts and that we balance these expressions to achieve a healthy self-concept.
The concept of balance is similar to the concept of homeostasis in which a dynamic equilibrium is the true nature of any system, whether micro and macro. That is, all systems, whether at a cellular level or at a family level, are continuously utilizing energy to achieve balance. We must, for instance, continuously balance our material and spiritual selves. Problems or symptoms occur when there are blocks to the fluid exchange of energy that encumber the normal process of healthy balance and dynamic equilibrium.
NTU Psychotherapy is inclusively oriented as the bonding is primary. Thus, the concept of general systems thinking, and the later development of family systems’ orientations are easily understood within the context of interconnectedness. In addition, the ideas of balanced ecology and of being at one with the environment are further expressions of this ancient concept.
The concept of balance, harmony, and interconnectedness are equally appropriate at any system’s level and therefore are applicable when intervening with an individual, a group, or a family. When the practitioner maintains a systems focus, which is a central component of NTU Psychotherapy, then he/she is able to view any person or family as both composed of subsystems and also a subsystem of a larger organization. All levels of systems share common properties, and the intrinsic desire for system harmony, both internally and externally, is a major system characteristic (Davies, 1983; Dossey, 1982). System thinking has been a living truth within Afrocentric though (Phillip, 2014).
Within the Afrocentric world view, the highest value lies in the interpersonal relationship between human beings. This priority on the value of the relationship places a premium on the authenticity of the person. It is the relationships that we build within the larger family/community of people that are accorded prominence. It is our connectedness with the essence (NTU) of others that brings fulfillment.
The authenticity of any particular person is colloquially referred to as his or her “Realness.” As a community we ask that person “Be for Real,” and it is this authentic essence that becomes the basis for effective and satisfying relationships. It is similar true that in the NTU therapeutic encounter the degree of realness that is experienced influences the direction and depth of psychological movement.
Authenticity is a state as well as a process. We may be able to acknowledge its presence in ourselves and in others and thereby take a mental snapshot of it, but the quality of authenticity is always shifting and growing. A mentally healthy person is continuously gaining in his or her authenticity as he or she becomes more closely connected to his or her spiritual self. We must nurture this quality whether we express it in ourselves or experience it in others. The very process of nurturing authenticity it itself an authentic act.
Being authentic implies spontaneity. A mentally healthy person/system is more able to respond to and interact with the environment in a natural, effortless manner. There is a lesser emphasis on thinking as such and more priority on responding holistically. By being spontaneous we are being more trusting of ourselves and of our connection to others. Because we are in harmony, then our intentions are trustworthy, and we can feel freer to respond naturally to our ongoing, ever-changing environment. When we are spontaneous, authentic, and harmonious , then our natural healing and problem-solving mechanisms are functioning properly.
When we are harmonious, we have appropriate respect for ourselves and others. We are in tune to our own needs as well as sensitive to the needs of others. We are able to feel the continuity of and interconnectedness with the relationship between ourselves and others. We are, therefore, able to realize our interdependence with all of life at the same time being cognizant of our individuality. With the above realization, we then must follow through by providing satisfactory nourishment to ourselves as well as to our relationships. We grow through the process of sharing ourselves with others.
Authentic persons or systems are trustworthy and reliable because they are being their true selves mentally, physically, and spiritually. They are genuine because they are in tune with themselves and others. They are, in other words, to be believed.