When we permit ourselves to speak of areas such as creativity, compassion, connection or conscious awareness my experience is that counselling sessions become overlit with a different quality.
The way I would say it is that this is a ‘spiritual’ or psychospiritual exploration of the experiences or challenges you’re meeting, and that we’re including a spiritual dimension into our counselling relationship.
Whether you have a faith or have none, meeting your current challenges from these perspectives begins to suggest a wholeness to our being and a oneness in our collective experience.
Can counselling help?
In your seeking, in this search for your next way through and having read this far, I wonder if any of the ideas, challenges or situations below resonate with that part of you which is so ready to speak about, to embrace, a spiritual knowing?
If so, I would say; ‘Contact me’. Send me an email by completing the contact form below. I offer an introductory session without fee to individual clients as a way to begin our exploration together.
creativity – from stuckness to movement
Many of us work with creative visualisation techniques such as the ‘Law of Attraction’ or ‘vision boarding’. They can be powerful ways to manifest that version of us which is next ready to outpicture. However, the process can become stuck or stalled around an internal limitation, a blockage, that is difficult to move beyond unsupported.
Similarly, people in the creative industries may meet ‘artist’s block’ where a different kind of creativity is again stalled.
It can be tempting to find explanations, or something to ‘blame’, in our outer circumstances; and it may also be worth checking whether there are ‘blocks’ internally.
compassion – a life of service
There is a widespread socio-economic paradigm which seems to be a source of dissatisfaction for many. You may have seen my page on ‘Problems at Work?’ which says a little more about this.
Over and over it seems that, for any given individual, the ways forward lie in the realms of creativity and service. We might ask; “Whose story moves me?” or “What current situation in the world invites me to an emotional response?” When we set out to be of service to those (people, animals, landscapes, communities…) for whom we feel compassion or connection our energy flows naturally, and we move with certainty.
However, a shift towards our vocation or talent can seem like an impossible dream especially if we have financial and family responsibilities. We ask; “How can I ever follow this calling?” A block may arise around the theme of ‘being realistic’.
The way through lies in our ‘intentionality’ which needs to align with that which is now ready to express as our life. If, at a deep level, you know, hear, sense what is now ready to express, then it is ‘all-ready’ here at the edge of awareness and bound to show up as you start to give it attention…
To make a start right now I suggest checking out ‘Zen and the Art of Making a Living’ by Laurence G. Boldt. Where there are blockages, perhaps some counselling sessions may help.
conscious awareness – connection to nature
Because our biosphere has an intentionality it’s been given many names; one of them is ‘Gaia’. This intentionality is powerful and so each living thing has tended to align with it, and so cocreate it.
Only human intentionality has operated, in part, against this powerful aligning force, largely out of awareness. Now, increasingly, this misaligned intention is coming into our collective awareness. Many people want to realign with nature, somehow. Many are anxious about the road we’re on.
Perhaps your feelings of anxiety, rage, powerlessness or urgency around our human response to nature are feelings that emerge in other areas of your life, for example in a relationship. Perhaps your personal response to a growing awareness of ecology is prompting a shift in career. Maybe you find that some other situation in your life is most easily expressed in terms of natural processes you’re familiar with (e.g. on your allotment; see my recent article on horticultural therapy).
connection to mystery
There is a frame of reference which readily uses the word ‘energy’ to describe a universally available resource which can be experienced personally. Energetic healing modalities such as Reiki or External Qi Healing offer many people direct experiences of these energetics, and movements towards health (or ‘whole-th’).
There are also very many experiences describing powerful connection with beings such as angels and the deceased, perhaps loved-ones who have passed.
Again, many people have direct experiences of Spirit which can be moments filled with enlightenment and clarity and can be life-changing.
These personal, direct and often unrepeatable experiences have happened for millenia and in every culture and yet, it seems, we hardly mention them in everyday life. Discussing these direct personal experiences of energy, spirit or connection with discarnate beings remains counter-cultural despite them being real experiences.
Counselling is a place to be heard without judgement and so, if a personal experience of this kind seems significant as a way through, a way forwards towards wholeness, then we welcome it into the counselling space.
consciousness – somatic work
On our yoga mat, in a tai chi group or when practising qigong we are using movement intentionally. That is, we’re bringing intentionality to our body. My experience is that intentional movement can invite awareness to arise. A situation that seems ‘stuck’ before qigong may have some new information, or a different feeling, around it after the movement closes. Something new is in awareness, or near to awareness.
In the therapy world there is a technique called ‘Focusing’ (developed by Gene Gendlin in the 1970’s) which has a similar quality of inviting a ‘felt sense’ to arise, finding language around it, then noticing any shift in this felt sense.
These are rich internal experiences which are enough by themselves to indicate shift. Additionally, if a counselling client feels ready to bring these kind of experiences or ‘knowings’ into a session as part of their ongoing work then we welcome it.
conscious awareness – symptoms
Medical symptoms are treated by medical practitioners, and I’m not a medical practitioner. However, there is a psychospiritual model which recognises that information, personal meaning, is being conveyed by our symptoms to invite this into our conscious awareness. A key book on this is ‘The Healing Power of Illness’ by Dethlefsen & Dahlke.
For example, a painful knee could carry some personal meaning for a client about ‘flexibility’ or ‘rigidity’ or ‘standing up for themselves’. These meanings are not always clear to us, but may emerge in a counselling relationship where we can share this frame of reference.
There are two important points for me;
- Firstly, the meanings arrived at are personal; so, another painful knee may carry a very different personal meaning for another client (e.g. ‘humility’).
- Secondly, we’re not saying that any symptom is ‘all in the mind’. In fact, my own left knee has torn cartilage and, thanks to the power of MRI, I can confirm that the physiological realities of this are not ‘all in my mind’!
The idea really is that the personal meanings correlate at different levels within our wholeness by analogy (‘as above, so below’). Interestingly, because these ideas sit outside the medical model they remain useful even if a symptom is medically ‘unexplained’.
conscious awareness – the subconscious
It goes without saying that accounts of dreams are welcome in the counselling room. Our dreams invite parts of our subconscious world into conscious awareness, and they’ve been OK in therapy since Freud took an interest in them.
There are other ways too in which we might become aware of (what was) subconscious material and I welcome this into our session. For example, meditation can certainly sometimes bring insights into awareness. So can, as mentioned above, energetic healing work and intentional movement such as qigong or yoga.
If something arises in one of these ways it may inform our process in a growthful, healing way.
reconnection – opening and renewal
Counselling Directory published my article on ‘Making Pilgrimage an Inner Journey’ which was about inviting an ‘inner journey’, an inner shift, to emerge during a journey out into the world. Although pilgrimage is often associated with having a particular faith (i.e. belonging to a faith community) many people who go on pilgrimage wouldn’t identify with any particular faith. The idea of going on a retreat is similar in this way.
Whether you have a faith or not, these movements outward-and-return, the stepping-out, the letting go, the loss, the novel contact, the discovery… all of this is available to being fully heard in sessions.
For others, belonging to a faith group can mean arriving at a place of uncertainty, even crisis, where there is some internal conflict around personal meaning or values.
Again, these experiences are most often enough in themselves. They occur in the season when someone is ready to meet them. And, if that someone feels it necessary, supporting these experiences in counselling sessions where the personal meaning is acknowledged and explored can add to the sense of personal shift that they offer.