On Spiritual Mentors: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz became a mentor years ago when I adopted one of his quotes as my motto as a therapist: “I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard.” The Wizard then draws upon that goodness to be of help to the travelers. He does this by performing what are known as “reframes”, i.e., taking a resource within each person and putting it in a different frame. For example, what he tells the Scarecrow is essentially “You already have a brain. But to believe that, I’m going to give you a diploma.” The Good Witch sums up this notion when she helps Dorothy to realize that the solution to her loss of home was always with her.

Better than Carl Rogers and several other of my inspirations, the Wizard has helped me see that we all have what we need within. We either don’t believe it or don’t know it. As a therapist, there is little that I do in terms of teaching people something new. Rather, when therapy works, the client finds an answer within that perhaps they did not know was there. They realize that they were “victims of disorganized thinking”, just as the Wizard said. Often they simply come home.

This notion that we have all we need within is at least as old as the Bible. At a human level, this is one aspect of Jesus’ statement “The Kingdom of God is within you.” In other words “All you need to cope and to grow has already been given to you. You just need to uncover it.” This is part of the point of our spiritual journeys, to uncover and lay claim to this Kingdom Within. Just as Dorothy’s true home was in Kansas, our true spiritual home lies Within.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the big thing in my business these days. Rarely do I see or hear anyone credit one of the earliest and best cognitive behavioral therapists — the Wizard of Oz!

Reflection: What experiences have you had with uncovering inner resources you didn’t know were there? What helped you uncover them?

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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3 Responses to On Spiritual Mentors: The Wizard of Oz

  1. Eileen P.Williams says:

    Thank you Dr. P for sharing your wisdom and creativity. I have always loved the Wizard of Oz and at different times in my life I have been every character and sometimes all of them at once!I am going to share this with my cadet leadership. I gave them the assignment last week to watch the movie. We were getting ready for our huge inspection and they were doubting themselves and being afraid. Your blog today is my best birthday present. Blessings to you. Eileen

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  2. mulchmantrc@aol.com says:

    wish i could give your pieces the reflection they each deserve — rest assured i do some thinking over each one and i’m delighted to get them — i get vicarious satisfaction from your entusiasim for genuine reflection — i hope you realise that people are listening — i know i am — ” i’m not a great wizard” either — but i say simple direct short prayers now and then — more often than not it works — be encouraged my friend — you have a gift for sure — tom

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  3. Susan Bass says:

    I just finished a 9 month course on Motivational Interviewing which is “Carl Rogers with an attitude”. In order to pass the course I needed to internalize the belief that people do have the answers within themselves. The answers are not provided by the therapist. I can attest to Dr. Patterson being a good person and maybe a good wizard too. A helpful therapist also needs a touch of the wizard. My son lost the first tennis match he played competitively. My husband (and only he) saw the fabulous shots within the loosing game. He enabled my son to see them, and to believe in them and ultimately (after some rough terrain) to execute them. In some ways that is what a good therapist does. Sh/e helps the client be what s/he potentially COULD be. S/he grooves the client’s “swing”. At times that is what you did with me, Dr. Patterson. It requires a touch of the wizard archetype.

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