The Art of Giving Permission

When I first became a therapist, I approached counseling with what Buddhists call “beginner’s mind”. Instead of relying upon the theories and methodologies of my predecessors in the field of psychology, I embarked upon a personal journey of investigation and inquiry, committed on arriving at my own conclusions about the nature and causes of human suffering. Concerned that anything I might read would preclude me from original thought, I temporarily swore of all books. Then, as I counseled, I kept a small journal beside me to note each new insight which emerged during my work with clients. For years, I persisted like this, gathering ideas like unearthed shards of pottery from an archaeological dig until, one afternoon in 2010, everything fell seamlessly into place.

The thought went something like this, “Whoa! Can it really be? Everyone’s emotional suffering is caused by the exact same thing! And the solution is so obvious now, so simple yet profound, so beautiful! Wow…” Ever since, I have been enthusiastically teaching others about the extraordinary truth I discovered that afternoon, while continually honing and perfecting its nuances.

Over the course of nearly a decade of work as a psychotherapist, I have yet to encounter an individual or couple who has failed to achieve dramatic results from the methodology and fundamental paradigm shift this philosophy invites. Through the lessons of The Art of Giving Permission, you will discover that transforming your own emotional suffering can be simpler than ever imagined. By learning how to take responsibility for your personal well-being in this manner, you can then learn how to skillfully channel this newfound composure toward the creation of lasting changes in yourself, your relationships, other people, and even the world in general. This information is powerful and it works, not just some of the time, but all of the time. It works because it’s true. THIS is the true cause of human suffering. THIS is the true solution, the true path to fostering change. THIS is how we live the lives we’ve always dreamt was possible.

To learn more about the liberating lessons of this philosophy, explore my blog posts or click here to get your hands on a copy of my book The Two Truths About Love: The Art & Wisdom of Extraordinary Relationships (New Harbinger, 2013).


TAOGP Key Terminology


When talking about The Art of Giving Permission, I continually rely upon certain language. In order to avoid any confusion about what it is I mean by these terms, I’ve included here a brief glossary of some of the words or phrases that I use the most often. If, in reading any of my blog posts, the meaning of a word or phrase I’ve used begs some clarification, you can refer to this list. If the word or phrase has not been included, please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to provide a personal definition for the word or phrase in question.

The opposite of Emotional Autonomy, characterized by blaming others for one’s emotional experience and/or taking responsibility for the emotional experience of others.

Emotional Autonomy
The ability of an individual to take responsibility for one’s own emotional experience and minimize the effect that external circumstances have upon internal (emotional) experience.

Emotional Comfort Zone
The range of emotional experience in which an individual feel comfortable and maintains composure.

A state of persistent calm within a relationship.

Internal Friendship
The relationship one has with him or herself.

A state of persistent closeness marked by a shared experience of safety and familiarity.

The ability to gracefully embrace the entire spectrum of human emotion. By this definition, joyfulness is not synonymous with happiness, because happiness is only one emotion within the human spectrum.

Loop of Doom
A pattern of recurring conflict between two individuals that leads to emotional distancing and estrangement.

The state of thinking and speaking in a way that is “inarguably true”.

The experience of an emotional state that is unwanted or undesired. Forms of physical suffering (i.e. physical pain) are not considered within the meaning of this term. Suffering, in this case, relates exclusively to emotional suffering.


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