Saul Mason -- Character from "What Casts the Shadow?" by Seth Mullins
Saul Mason has been described as “a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man”. He conducts private one-on-one therapy sessions out of his home in Sadenport, Oregon.
RC Bean: You once answered calls for a suicide crisis hotline. Since then, you’ve moved into your own private therapeutic practice. How do you respond to people who come to you saying that they feel hopeless, that their lives seem not worth living?
Saul: What I always want to tell them is that their lives are their own creation. And because of that, if they get acquainted with their own beliefs then they can change their inner habits and transform those aspects of their lives that are causing them suffering. But a lot of people aren’t ready to hear that, especially in the beginning. So you do a kind of dance, always trying to push them a little towards taking personal responsibility – in the empowering sense – for their lives; but not so much that they close down or run from the process.
RC Bean: So if we have complete power over our lives, why would any of us ever need to see a therapist – or a guide, as you prefer to be called?
Saul: Well, my goal is typically to get people to a place where they don’t need me anymore! [Laughs] I know that doesn’t make the greatest sense from a business standpoint. I want them to learn to trust themselves fully, and to understand that the answers to all their questions lie within themselves. Really, what people in deep difficulty need is someone who can see around their blind sides. We become so enmeshed in our lives that it’s real easy to forget that what we’re experiencing, what we’re suffering from, originated inside of us. I’ll say, “You’re convinced that life must be a struggle”, and a client will shoot back: “My life is a struggle!” It seems like a fact, something set in stone; but really, this client’s conviction created the seeming ‘fact’. I get people to grapple with their own ideas, to become aware of what those ideas are and to realize that they aren’t at their mercy.
RC Bean: What kinds of methods do you use to make people aware of their beliefs?
Saul: Anything that will get them talking! Any conversation, even a seemingly trivial one, is bound to revolve around some core convictions that a person is carrying around. If they trust me enough to speak freely then I can find where their stumbling blocks are without too much trouble. And if they don’t then I can often draw clues from the very ways in which they resist the process.
RC Bean: Are there other people in the clinical field who work like this?
Saul: To my knowledge, no. And I’m not sure why that is. I find it very effective, because it leads people – rather quickly – to a direct confrontation with their core issues. And at the same time it’s liberating, because they come to know that those ‘issues’ are really just self-created challenges in the first place.
RC Bean: How do people who are in need know how to find you?
Saul: My practice has largely grown thanks to word-of-mouth. I had a lot of carryover from my previous job, people who’d appreciated the quick remedial work they’d done with me and wished to pursue it further, go deeper. Their own healing then sends a message of hope to others. They’re sometimes asked what their ‘secret’ is! And that’s really the only testament to the effectiveness of this process that’s worth anything. I probably wouldn’t have persevered with my particular methodology if I hadn’t received that kind of affirmation along the way.