Between a stimulus and a response is a space and in that space is our freedom and strength

Victor Frankl

Healthy collaboration

I recently took part in a series of webinars, an online alternative to the national therapist day, organized by the RBCZ. Last year I took part in it for the first time together with about 800 complementary care therapists from The Netherlands. Due to the Corona measures, this day was offered online in three webinars. About 3000 participants were online at the first webinar. Great appreciation and compliments to the umbrella organization RBCZ for facilitating this for their participants. This year’s theme was “Healthy collaboration”.

The RBCZ foundation is an umbrella organization that certifies and registers professionals of complementary and alternative medicine doctors and therapists. RBCZ represents the general interests of the affiliated professionals of complementary and alternative medicine and is an independent intermediary between professional organizations, health insurers and clients.

Annet van Laar

The second webinar was given by Annet van Laar. Annet is a psychologist and, among other things, the founder of the training ‘the psychology of the body’. Her lecture started with showing a slide with Victor Frankl’s quote ‘Between a stimulus and a response is a space and in that space is our freedom and strength’. This quote turned out to be the pivot of what she wanted to convey to us as a participant. Namely, the importance for ourselves and in working with our clients, to bring attention to this space within ourselves where our freedom and strength resides.

Inner and outer collaboration

It was great to see and hear how she linked her experiences in working with clients to the theme ‘Healthy collaboration’. Collaborate between the different layers of consciousness and energy areas within ourselves and collaborate with our direct relations, our colleagues and the clients we work with. Because when we are able to work together from our inner freedom and strength, we can do so in a healthy way. A way that takes into account what is present in myself as well as in the other.

A society that has lost its structure

After watching the webinar, I watched the news on TV a little later that evening. What a switch. I noticed that I started to pay attention to how little ‘space’ was visible in the conversations and the encounters between people. Conversations and encounters that didn’t exactly come across as ‘healthy’ to me. Much unrest, anger, aggression and impatience could be felt and seen. An image that seems to be getting stronger in our society lately.

Structure versus chaos

I am aware that the news on TV often emphasizes this unrest and that there is of course more than this unrest. Yet I think that as a society we are going through a time when a lot is shifting. Many of the existing structures are disappearing. A certain order that we were all used to and familiar with, loses its’ structure, ‘Purpose, meaning and values’ and seems to dissolve in a world without meaning, structure and grip. I perceive it not only on the news but also in my own life and that of my clients. Many requests for help also seem to reflect some of the unrest in our society.

The impulse for more, better and faster

The space Frankl is talking about, I think, is the space that most of us are not (anymore) familiar with. I notice in my own life, in the news and developments in our society and in working with my clients how we ended up in a kind of ‘overdrive’. An overdrive of more and more and faster. We have become used to the fact that almost any ‘stimulus’ can and must be answered immediately with a ‘response’. Perhaps it is better to call it an impulse because there is no room left in the delay, let alone to come to a standstill and consult ourselves and ask ourselves: Who am I and what do I really want? Do I want what I do and do what I want? Which response is ‘healthy’ and appropriate to this stimulus? What is the effect of my response?

Body, mind and spirit

In her webinar, Annet van laar explains how this inner space, in which we can experience freedom and strength, is realized by aligning body, mind and spirit with each other in ‘Alignment’. She uses the words head, heart and belly, referring to the energetic areas in our body in chakra psychology. When these ‘inner power centers’ work together, that space arises to bring awareness to the stimulus we experience and then from this inner space can consciously make a choice what our response will be.


The alignment Annet is talking about largely resembles the alignment we call the position of the inner observer in psychosynthesis. The I-Self relationship where we are able to perceive the content of our inner world. Our thoughts, our feelings and our body. We perceive it and can become aware and experience that there is someone within us who perceives this without coinciding with it. In psychosynthesis, we also consider this place from which we observe as the place where we are connected with our will. Where we can experience that we are a Willer. And not only with our Will but also with Love. A love that is unconditional and free. There is still a lot to say about this I-Self relationship, the Will and the healing power of Love in psychosynthesis, but at the moment I want to limit myself in this blog to emphasizing the inner space that we can experience within ourselves where we do not coincide with what we perceive. A space where, as Frankl says, freedom and strength reside.

Alignment in Psychosynthesis

It is this space that receives a lot of attention in Psychosynthesis guidance and in my opinion also needs a lot of attention. For many clients, just like for myself in the beginning, it is a mental concept that they usually still can reach with their heads, but which is difficult to really experience as reality in alignment with their heart and stomach. It takes patience and practice. Experiencing your own inner freedom and strength. Giving yourself the space to respond more consciously to your own inner world and your environment. If more and more people could develop that in themselves what could the news look different. Can you imagine it already? That people think before they respond? Are aware and take responsibility for their statements and behavior? Taking into account yourself and the other?

Keeping distance and longing to connect

I am convinced that we are all going through a turbulent period, individually, locally, nationally and worldwide, where many existing structures are disappearing. Where order seems to be taken over by chaos. Where we can no longer hold on to what has been and do not yet know what is to come. That makes us restless, insecure, anxious, angry, sad and rebellious. The crisis of recent months has brought it all even closer and further emphasizes how much we are interconnected. How by having to keep a distance we become aware of our desire to connect. The fact that we have to keep so much distance with our body during this period and the difficulty we have with it shows how important it is to be able to involve our body as well.

Be the change you want in your life

And although we cannot resolve and heal the current crisis and the problems of ‘this troubled time’, we can pay attention and reflect on the healing within ourselves. By aligning what we do with what we want. Because when our will to want is free from our inner turmoil and division, we can consciously use it for a healthy cooperation with ourselves and with the people around us. I think it was Gandhi who said: Be the change you want in your life!

Psychosynthesis guidance and life coaching

Do you want to explore your inner space and get to know your own freedom and life force? Bringing your body, mind and spirit into alignment? Psychosynthesis offers you a number of tools to get to know and explore that space within yourself and then to give shape and direction to your own life in who you are and what you want. It also means that you commit yourself to face yourself in the turmoil and inner division within yourself. Because what we perceive outside of ourselves in the shifts that are becoming increasingly visible in our society is in part a reflection of the shifts in our own inner world.

“We don’t see the world as it is but as we are.”