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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.12 n.2 Grahamstown Jul. 2012 

The meeting from heart to heart: The essence of transformative experiences



Mical Sikkema




What can be said about that which, at rock-bottom, is most fundamental in a contact that transforms us? Whether in psychotherapy, in a long-term relationship or in a spontaneous moment shared suddenly and unexpectedly with a stranger? What is more primary than theory and technique, rules or guidelines, in meeting the other and seeking a contact that fosters a shifting in boundaries that brings with it the possibility of being receptive to a more direct experiencing of life and others simply as they are? Even when this brings with it, inevitably, a more direct confrontation with and acknowledgment of pain and frustration, and the disappointments and difficulties that are inherent in this change. Even when this means bearing what seems utterly unbearable. Perhaps the answer, as simple as it is difficult to grasp or allow in its simplicity, is love. Drawing from the process of a long-term therapy, the novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Marbery (2008), the work of Martin Buber as well as of philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin, this article seeks to articulate the centrality of love in the moments of our life that transform.



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About the Author



Mical Sikkema completed her education and training in rehabilitation counseling and as an existential psychotherapist in Seattle WA, USA before moving to the Netherlands. Since 2003, she has worked primarily for the Dutch agency InteraktContour as a member of a team of psychologists providing consultation to staff working with physically and neurologically disabled clients. She also maintains a small private psychotherapy practice.

Her approach to therapy and supervision has been strongly influenced by Eugene Gendlin's Focusing Process. As a Certified Focusing professional, her special areas of interest include training psychotherapists, psychotherapists-in-training and other helping professionals and working with clients on issues relating to creativity and creative blocks.

Mical writes, "My work, and indeed my life, is grounded in an ongoing, if sometimes somewhat fanatical process of inquiry into what makes it possible to meet life 'as it is/comes,' whatever it brings, and find an authentic way through. Thus, how can we allow the fullness of whatever we experience, given the paradoxical and uncertain nature of how our experience takes form."

Her publications have addressed issues such as the implications of focusing for psychotherapy and for research, understanding embodied experience, and a phenomenological perspective on the DSM-IV. E-mail address:

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