The Principle of Organicity: You Already Have the Answers Within You

In therapy, there is a theory called “the principle of organicity” which was introduced to me through my training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, developed by Dr. Pat Ogden. It is basically the scientific perspective that everything organisms do serves a natural adaptive function. Just as each living organism has its own unique intelligence, each client already has the answers they seek within them. Therapy offers a supportive environment to help clients uncover their own natural intelligence. This thinking is in line with Dr. Gabor Maté’s concept of recovery reflecting re-covering (or rediscovering) oneself, as well as Dr. Daniel Siegel’s imperative that the aim of therapy is to facilitate integration within oneself —to integrate aspects of one’s being that have been fragmented and disowned along the way. 

In this light, behaviours that are so frequently pathologized or morally shamed within our societies are seen as having some intrinsic adaptive value or natural intelligence, even if it’s not immediately apparent. The behaviour was likely a coping strategy that made sense within the circumstances at the time and have been since outgrown. When we think of human behaviour from this lens, judgment no longer seems to be relevant or sufficient; compassion, curiosity, acceptance, and understanding naturally follow. No matter how self-sabotaging or cruel our unhealthy habits may be, no “part” of ourself is unacceptable, and we come to thank each part for the survival purpose it served. 

Thus, the reason I am never shocked or appalled by disclosures clients make in therapy is because everything humans do and think makes sense in the right context of understanding. As such, I look forward to working with you from this lens and pointing out the adaptive ingenuity that lies within you! Remember, the antidote to shame is curiosity. Stay curious my friends.