Curiosity ~ The Key That Opens the Door to the Self

Curiosity is one of the essential keys in moving through therapy towards healing. Meeting ourselves in therapy with a childlike curiosity can open doors that reveal treasures, bones, and answers to mysteries that have long held us prisoner. 


Curiosity about the Self, about who we are, why we do what we do, why we think the things we think, why we love whom we love, why we resist and fight what we know we need. . . . . . . .

Curiosity about the landscape of our psyche, our inner workings, our dreams, our slips of the tongue, our fears . . . . .

Curiosity about the things we hate about ourselves, the things that fill us with guilt and shame, the Shadow parts that we would rather run away from . . . . . . .

The roots of the word curious are closely related to the words care and cure. Curiosity is an antidote to the cruel sting of self-inflicted guilt and shame. To be curious is the opposite of being afraid. Therapeutic curiosity is non-judgemental, accepting, and sometimes even humorous. It leads to introspection, self-revelation, keys that open doors to the rich world of the soul. 

Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein believed that, along with the two basic human instincts or "drives" - the life instinct and death instinct - was the crucial instinct of curiosity. Curiosity is how we learn. It's how we learned to walk, what peas and blueberries taste like, the pleasure of stepping in puddles, the searing pain from our first encounter with a hot stove. Curiosity got us penicillin, telephones, and astronauts into space.

Curiosity is the instinct that can lead us into ourselves, can help us to become friends with ourselves, can gently take us to deep truths and sometimes resolution and peace.

Questions to explore with your therapist, using the approach of gentle curiosity, might be:

  • How does my past tangle with my present moments?

  • How did I end up here?

  • How do I get from here to where I want to go?

  • What is getting in my way?

  • Why do I want to be somewhere else besides here?

  • Who am I in this moment?

Talking with a friend and/or a therapist or keeping a journal are ways to foster this curiosity. Think of the curious relationship with your Self as you would a relationship with a friend. To get to know someone is an act of love, so it is with the Self - we show our selves Love when we show that we are interested and want to get to know our own dear Self.