By ROBERT LACOSTA
Delmar Psychologist Perry Sherman credits age as part of the reason that his listening skills are more than passive counseling techniques.
“It’s important to learn and master different therapies, ” Dr. Sherman says, “ but my demeanor, my presence becomes more central. I, further down the road, can say “you’ll be O.K.’”
As one who has crossed into his seventh decade, Sherman’s experience silently reassures without minimizing or being dismissive. “Age gives an awareness of what lasts in life, what endures the test of time and transcends the situation.”
“It’s nice to have a treasure chest of soul-gems at your disposal,” he says. “When I’m sitting there, these gems pop up when needed at just the right time – usually based on association. I don’t have to go to one particular method because I know more than ever that life isn’t always cut and dry.”
“No matter what comes up, we are both only human. God is in the room and as we go along during the counseling session, I always know that something will happen. Be curious and learn what He is doing.”
Aging has also helped him navigate the paradoxes that come up in therapy.
“When we can’t do something,” he says, “and we know we can’t, that’s when God can show what He can do. Paradoxically, the more I know as a counselor, the more I realize I don’t know and the more humble I am able to be.”
Sherman reassures patients that it’s fine to be in the middle of a mystery.
“If I could pass along one thing,” he says, “it would be faith to step out. I’m not wringing my hands when clients bring up hard things. I can’t give them my faith, but perhaps I can ‘lend’ them my faith.”
Robert J. LaCosta’s daily online devotional can be e-mailed for free by writing [email protected]. His latest book, “Portals to Heaven,” is available at book stores and online. To suggest seniors for this column, write him at [email protected]