What is Spiritual Psychotherapy
Spiritual Psychotherapy is a collaborative approach based on the relationship between client and therapist.
Together, we'll identify emotional blocks, patterns, core issues, and beliefs that are keeping you from living and feeling your best.
The therapeutic methods used in this approach include Inner-Child Work, Sub-Personality Dialogue Therapy, Compassionate Inquiry, Focusing, Meditation, Sound Healing, Self-Massage, Talk therapy, 2-Chair work, Chakra Energy Work, Reiki, Body-Psychotherapy and much more. At The Soul Compass, the goal is to help you achieve your optimal health.
What is the inner child theory?
The term "inner child" is used loosely by quite a few people. Colloquially, it may refer to the sensation you feel when you're enjoying something that's seen as for children. For instance, an adult enjoying Disney World may say that their inner child is coming out. In psychological terms, an inner child is a childlike personality everyone has. In this case, a child is someone who hasn't reached puberty yet. The inner child personality is said to be its own personality, independent of your main personality.
What is the wounded inner child?
The wounded inner child is the part of your inner child that has experienced unresolved childhood trauma. Some of the behaviors you have as an adult could be due to your wounded inner child. Your childhood didn't have to through severe trauma to be wounded; there are common childhood events that could have led to your wounded inner child. For example, your best friend in elementary school moving away.
What are the symptoms of childhood trauma?
Childhood trauma, or childhood abuse, can have many different symptoms. Everyone copes with trauma in their own way, and you can experience these symptoms deep into adulthood. Something may have brought up the childhood abuse that you put in your subconscious until now. Here are a few symptoms.
In general, signs to look for as an adult that you suffered unresolved childhood trauma include but are not limited to:
Depression or anxiety that has no clear cause.
A distrust of other people.
You have mood swings.
You can't keep relationships.
You're unable to sleep, focus, and you feel stressed all the time.
You go into an addictive personality, taking drugs or alcohol.
So as you can see, various mental illness symptoms can be a sign you have childhood abuse. If you're unsure, it's important for you to speak to a therapist about your inner child today.
How do you fix childhood trauma?
Childhood abuse is not something that you can fix overnight. It is a healing process that goes for a long while. Here are some ways to help with your childhood trauma.
Speak to a therapist. If your childhood abuse trauma is making you unable to function, you need professional help.
Mindfulness and meditation. By mastering both of these, you can learn to live in the here and now rather than letting the past consume you. With meditation, you can learn how to push any thoughts out of your mind that is self-defeating.
Reenact your childhood trauma, and the reenaction result in solving the trauma.
As you heal, stay healthy. Eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.
Avoid any triggers. If you find yourself experiencing trauma related to your life as a child today, think about why it happened. Are there any triggers you can avoid?
How do I heal my inner child?
The inner child is a part of your subconscious, and if it's wounded, you may end up with unresolved trauma. Here are some ways that you can heal your inner child.
Don't be afraid to partake in activities you enjoyed or never got to do as a child. For example, rewatch some old cartoons you loved as a kid.
Find your ideal childhood image. A childhood image is what you imagine your childhood being like. Is there any way you can improve your childhood image, or at least relive some aspects of it?
Have some childlike traits. Don't be afraid to be a little curious and have some wonder about the word.
Practice self-love. Don't be afraid to do something because you like it.
If you have a child, make sure they live a good life and explore your inner child while around them. Your child can be a child who lives in the here and now. A child who lives that life can have a great childhood.
Seek therapy if your inner child is extremely wounded. Techniques such as reparenting therapy can help you with any unresolved childhood trauma.
What is Reparenting therapy?
Reparenting therapy is a form of therapy where the therapist acts as a parental figure to the client. Therapists, in general, can be seen as a wise parental or authority figure, but in reparenting therapy, this idea is taken even further. Reparenting therapy is for those who have experienced a traumatic childhood, usually with parents who abused or abandoned them. A therapist can help to re-parent your inner child and make you feel like you have a second chance at life.
Why is self-love so important?
Self-love is an important mindset to have, no matter who you are. Some people may confuse self-love with being egotistical, but this isn't what it is at all. Being egotistical or narcissistic means that you think you're above everyone else. Meanwhile, self-love involves accepting whom you are, respecting oneself, and looking out for one's health.
Self-love is important because it helps you make healthy decisions about yourself. It also prevents you from dealing with some of the consequences of having low self-esteem. For example, you're less likely to succumb to peer pressure when you practice self-love.
A person with self-love also has boundaries. They can be empathetic and help those who need it, but they also won't be used and can learn to say no every once in a while.
How do you love your self?
Here are some ways to love yourself:
Eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Tackling your basic health needs is always an important way to start self-love.
Don't let people take advantage of you. Be assertive and have boundaries.
You're going to make mistakes. Make sure that you forgive yourself and learn from them.
You can realize your flaws and want to make improvements, but also make sure that you acknowledge your strengths, too.
Have your own set of goals, values, and beliefs that you want to pursue.
Voice Dialogue is a powerful and non-judgmental method for guiding people towards a better understanding of their inner urges and motives. The Voice Dialogue facilitator literally engages in a conversation with the various selves (subpersonalities) of the client. This way, he gains more insight into the various sides and feelings within him. This leads to more self-acceptance, freedom of choice, and the expansion of the behavioral repertoire. The 'Psychology of Selves' and Voice Dialogue methods are described further on in this article. We will review the indications and contraindications, the role of the facilitator as well as how Voice Dialogue relates to other models developed in client-centered therapies
By working with Voice Dialogue, the client's awareness of his subpersonalities grows, as does his ability to decide when he wants to use which of his sides. He increasingly learns to sit behind the steering wheel and to consult with the passengers on his bus, if he so chooses. Or, to use a different metaphor: he becomes the conductor of his inner orchestra and learns to direct each member individually. Sometimes he wants the violins to play louder, sometimes more gently. Sometimes, he uses percussion. At other times, he uses the harp. People who experience Voice Dialogue are often surprised about the impact and the effect of exploring subpersonalities. The increased ability to see oneself as composed of multiple selves creates room for those sides which had to be repressed until now. Clients express how their sense of self-esteem increases and that they are now able to respond to a certain situation in more than one way. People mention increased freedom to act and a decrease in self-criticism. Voice Dialogue helps a client make more conscious choices and gives them more flexibility and balance. The client learns to stand between two of his opposing sides, to embrace both of them, and to discover what is valuable and acceptable to both of them. This also gives him more energy, because it takes energy to repress sides of yourself.
2-Chair Work - Gestalt Therapy
Gestalt therapy focuses on you as a whole, interconnected with your environment, relationships and experiences. Emphasis is placed on the here and now, rather than what was, might be, or should be. The goal of gestalt therapy is to help you become aware of what you are doing and how you are doing it. Then, it helps you see how you can change, while also learning to accept and value yourself.
A key method used in Gestalt therapy is the Empty Chair Technique. This simple approach is designed to allow you to work through interpersonal or internal conflict. It helps you see the situation from a different perspective and gain insight into your feelings and behaviors.
Here’s what it looks like:
You sit facing an empty chair. In the chair, you picture a person with whom you are experiencing conflict. Or, you may picture a part of yourself. Then, you speak to the empty chair. You explain your feelings, thoughts, and understanding of the situation.
Now things really get interesting. After you’ve shared your side of things, you move to the other chair. Then, you respond to what you just said, from that person’s perspective, taking on their role. You may move back and forth between the chairs several times to continue the dialogue.
Meanwhile, the therapist explores this communication with questions and insights as the situation unfolds.
Chakra Experiencing: A therapeutic Approach
"As we explore the Chakras one by one, we see a healthy system implies much more than freedom from disease; vitality; ‘appropriate feelings’; appropriate thought processes; a willingness to embrace change in our lives; creative self-expression; creative self-responsibility; intuitive understanding; healthy spiritual relationships; to be full of light, life and wellbeing’."
The Chakras are the energy centers that make up the human energy field. These energies in the body not yet recognized by many in the Western world who believe there is no scientific proof of its existence. Certainly, it would not be recognized by many working in traditional orthodox medicine, and those who have experienced it tend to be working now in their own therapeutic practices alongside one or two complementary therapies.
Complimentary Medicines and Therapies which base their whole model on the presence of a human energy field, ponder over a whole new way of ‘thinking’ and to ask what is happening in the field of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy. Many believe there is a place for the use of the Chakras in Psychotherapy and the understanding of energy healing, which in some intangible way is already what many psychotherapists are doing – and what many clients want in our new millennium.
Jean Houston (1996) wrote:-
“In sacred psychology, we take it for granted that our existential life is the largest part of our existence, while psyche is some anomalous misty stuff that we relegate to the basement. In sacred psychology, however, we discover that it is not a psyche that exists in us, but we who exist in the psyche, just as the larger life of psyche exists in the realm of God.”
Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy is not only looking at purely psychological problems of humanity. It helps each person to alleviate problems at many levels. This is for each individual to maintain a strong energy system capable of meeting the challenges of a constantly changing planet and evolving consciousness.
The integration of understanding energy into psychotherapy introduces the transpersonal element. In my own work as a trainer and psychotherapist, by introducing the use of chakras and understanding of the human energy field it has helped students and clients to find equality of awareness, a humbling recognition of our humanness at all levels, in all dimensions, on many spheres. It opens up a wonderful dimension on a fractal level of the magnificent creation of our spirituality, and by this I am not speaking of religion.
As spiritual beings coming to terms with a physical body – the chakras appear to map the progress of personal consciousness from conception, the life of the embryo, to the higher stages of self-realization and ultimate reunion with a Divine Source, whatever that might mean for individuals.
The Thoughts of Other Writers
Chakras are part of Eastern Psychology and Philosophy, particularly introduced into the West through the tradition and practice of Yoga. Ken Wilber in his essay ‘Are the Chakras Real? (1979) points out that awareness is not mandatory in the journey to liberation but physiological changes in the body associated with opening up the chakras in Kudalini Yoga can be viewed either as a cause or effect of changes in consciousness.
Rowan (1993) states that Jung never really understood or embraced Yoga and refused to talk about the top two chakras. Rowan (1993 page 100) also writes of the human potential to access levels of consciousness, and although deliberately changing some of the traditional naming of parts to fit a transpersonal model – he acknowledges that this is not far from the chakra system in yoga.
For psychotherapists still trying to make sense of peoples problems through ‘ordinary psychology the understanding of chakras may be very difficult. This also applies to those living in a social context which is unsympathetic to a change in thinking. Clients do move into the transpersonal area and psychotherapists in the western world need knowledge of the chakra system in order to understand cultural differences. Also to assist their clients in what might become spiritual emergencies according to Stan Grof ( 1989 and 1990) particularly when personal transformation becomes a crisis.
A Changing Way of Thinking
Traditionally, most of us when thinking of the mind, immediately think of the brain. Over the years, science has begun to postulate that the mind is not in the brain. Penfield (1976) wrote that thought and memory seem to exist throughout the body; Reich (1948) believed memory was being logged primarily within the body’s fascia or connective tissues. In this respect, Bruyere (1989) believes thought can also be described as a form of energy. Rupert Sheldrake in Chamberlain (1990) favors the hypothesis that brains are like tuning devices, and the storage of memory is outside the brain and body.
Western society for many hundreds of years lost touch with the principles, harmony, and unity known and expressed by many ancient cultures. The concept that we are all energy, pain is blocked energy and the mind is in the energy field around and through the body, and may or may not be controlled by the brain – has been literally unthinkable!
The Chakra system is at least a 5,000-year-old way to integrate body, mind, emotions, and spirit. If the mind is in the energy field, and the Chakra system is the human energy field – there is a valid reason for psychotherapists to study and understand it.
From antiquity, there have been various descriptions of the field of energy that emanates from the physical body. This luminous radiation was called an aura by the ancients. They knew a person’s aura was a reflection of the soul – also reflecting much of the person’s physical being. They also knew that these subtle energy fields generated that auric light.
Antiquity is filled with descriptions of spinning wheels of colour, subtle bodies of light within a denser larger human body. To a person who can see the auric field, the chakras appear as little cyclones or whirling vortexes of energy. The words aura and auric light may send warning bells to some – because it rings of clairvoyance, spiritualism, and matters that traditional Christians have been conditioned not to be involved with. This mindset needs to be worked through and a changing way of thinking experienced, as the chakras can be utilized in psychotherapy in a most acceptable way.
We know that all living matter radiates energy. Isaac Newton alluded to electromagnetic light as early as 1759. In the last twenty-five years, science is confirming the existence of the human energy field and the subtle energies generated from it. In seven years of research at UCLA Dr. Valerie Hunt was able to discuss the nature of Newton’s electromagnetic light, which is called an electromagnetic field by today's scientists. The results of this study in 1979 called the Rolf Study, Bruyere (1989) in which Dr Hunt and Rosalyn Bruyere worked together not only provided evidence that chakra energies or frequencies exist but they are connected in a very real way to our sensations, feelings, and thoughts.
Nelson (1994) states that this highly thought of the chakra system is a cornerstone of modern medicine and psychiatry in most oriental countries and is taught as a ‘hard science’ in many Asian medical schools.
Wilber (1980), and this is now twenty-five years ago, stated that the chakras are part of Eastern psychology but emphasized that it is generally agreed by Eastern and Western psychology alike that the lowest levels of development involve simple biological functions and processes. This means that the lowest levels involve somatic processes, instincts, simple sensations and perceptions, and emotional-sexual impulses.