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Dick Olney and Self Acceptance

Cleaning out some files, my heart smiled when I came across the above photo stuck in a random file. I’ve looked for it for years. Clearly, photo organization is not my strong suit…Dick Olney, the founder of Self Acceptance Training, taught that self acceptance is not a steady state as the self is always encountering new experiences. Therefore he insisted that self acceptance is an attitude, an approach, a life-long training into deeper levels of acceptance.

He defined self acceptance as experiencing oneself in any given moment without the inhibition of self judgment, self criticism or self evaluation. 

Quite a game, wouldn’t you say? Though I didn’t jump at the chance to join his training group in Berkeley when he invited me, after all I had two children under 3. With David Patterson’s support, I overcame the hesitancy and never looked back. This decision was perhaps the most influential decision of my professional career. Studying with Dick changed the trajectory of my path as a therapist. He showed me what it could be like to engage in focused study with a supremely skilled therapist, though he would bellow with a deep belly laugh at that and say something referencing the poet laureate of Kansas. He was fond of reciting poetry.From Dick I learned not to wait until I was in the middle of a fire to practice a fire drill. He demonstrated the soul value of walking ourselves deeper into self acceptance as an ongoing, life-long practice.My heart smiles.

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