Talk therapy alone does not necessarily heal us at a subconscious level. Often times things that we attempt to convince ourselves of logically do not seem to stick long term. That is because the conscious brain cannot convince the subconscious mind, or the body of anything. This can result in repeating frustrating situations or returning to old uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes it just means going around and around in what I call the hamster wheel of our minds in an endless feedback loop.
The days of psychotherapy as a means to uncover problems or pathology, while returning to the past to go over old hurts, are over. I believe it is much more powerful to build on strengths that are already present, and use the past only as a tool to uncover core beliefs and reprogram them. I approach all my clients with deep compassion and unconditional love. This is not to say that truths that are sometimes difficult to digest will not be made evident. The truth can indeed set us free.
We tend to be challenged by our core beliefs, or themes as I often call them, throughout the years. This is much trickier if we have not actually identified what our core beliefs are. Core beliefs are difficult to identify because they live in the subconscious mind. Today it is largely accepted that the subconscious mind is in charge 95% of our waking time. This is why it can be hard to identify and actually change things in our lives. Consciously we are 100% certain of what we want, and most people employ many proactive steps towards positive ends. Yet our themes return and we become frustrated or disheartened again and again.
If 95% of our brain is not at the conscious level it would explain why our efforts often do not get us as far as we wish. This is why I work with clients not only at the conscious level through traditional psychology (cognitive and emotional), but also at the subconscious and energetic levels using Clinical Hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Matrix Reimprinting and other non-traditional methods.
My practice is distinctly informed by three different areas that I blend seamlessly throughout our work together towards more peace, joy, and awareness. Those areas are neuroscience, psychology and spirituality (consciousness raising). Psychology and science are critical, and I believe deeply in scholarship. However, research shows that spirituality is also a huge component of healing. Spirituality from my perspective is easily summed up in one sentence. Everything that happens is for one’s own benefit and expansion as a being. When we are able to see our challenges from this perspective, one of open curiosity about what our life is trying to show us, we are able to use difficult experiences or frustrations, even heartbreaks, to grow and expand to new and greater levels.
OUR WORK TOGETHER
The reason I have such a wide array of techniques and theoretical frameworks (lenses to see through) is so that we can find a way of approaching the work that fits perfectly for you. Everyone is different and coming from different experiences, so no one style works across the board. Epiphanies and deeper levels of understanding and acceptance can come from a neuroscience lens, a spiritual lens, an emotional lens, a cognitive lens, and so on. As we work together we move throughout these different aspects of self towards a deeper joy, peace, and consciousness in life.
Our work together is very much a team endeavor. In a safe and warm environment we will explore and uncover what your heart most desires, along with obstacles that have been holding you back from realizing those desires. Throughout the process we will talk, use EFT and/or Matrix (and other energy psychology techniques), and learn about how the brain and body function to both help and hinder us. We will also uncover, at a deeper level, what you tap into that takes you beyond your everyday identity, your spiritual self. Everyone I have ever met has a spiritual self, something that connects them to something larger than themselves, whether it is their work, children, gardening, or countless other ways in which they “forget themselves.”
If we are hitting our stride our work will be filled with a feeling of connection, trust, and curiosity that allows the mind and heart to open in new ways. Laughter is common, and tender emotions also arise in a gentle way. One of the key things you will learn in our work together is that it is actually much faster to feel one’s feelings (once you know how) than it is to suppress them or deny them.
What does Spiritual or Transpersonal Psychology Mean?
Back in the 60’s and 70’s a number of seasoned psychiatrists became dissatisfied in the practice of traditional Freudian and behavioral based psychotherapies. They realized that there must be more to healing than the Id, Ego, and Super Ego, one’s childhood, or attempting to change thinking and behavior patterns. Insights about self and how one was raised are interesting and satisfying (a part of the picture), but do not provide the balm to the emotional self and the soul that is needed to heal at the deepest levels.
This group collectively awaked to the idea that people inherently needed to connect to something more, greater than self. Gerald May is, in my eyes, the most revered of this group. His writings are profound, humble, and touch the soul with a gentle knowingness.
As this was the 60’s and 70’s some of the psychiatrists attempted to help clients tap into their spiritual self through the use of LSD, or the drug known today as ecstasy. The trick of drug usage for spiritual connection is that it can only be a glimpse. The seeker must ultimately find a way to connect to something greater via their own steam. This is often why people become addicted drugs of abuse. They continue to chase the “more” experience through chemical usage.
This is not to say that the spiritual use of plant medicines for seeking such as peyote or iowaska do not have their place as a transformative experience. Many report these to be powerful medicines. But of course, these are not the kinds of things one can do every day. And as Thich Nhat Hanh so profoundly said, after the ecstasy there is the laundry. So certainly there must be a way to tap into and feed the longing for something greater.
Many chase this “something more” feeling externally- by achieving, acquiring, exercising, working, or other pursuits. People feel a vague (or not so vague) sense of something missing. It may manifest as a strong desire to get a certain job, relationship, or attain a certain goal. When these pursuits are offered as antidote for the longing (as opposed to a pure passion for the activity) they do not satiate once they are achieved. Often people need to experience gaining this longed for goal or experience to come to the realization that that is not what their soul had been seeking.
What is meant by this word spiritual? The reason transpersonal and spiritual are interchangeable is because they both mean a greater-than-self experience. Spirituality means connecting into something beyond me, me, me, my concern for getting credit, how I appear in society, or how to get the stuff I want. Many people are turned off by the word spiritual due to painful experiences within various religions or dogmas.
Yet many people are frequently in a spiritual state without necessarily realizing it or naming it. People “forget themselves” when with children and grandchildren; gardening or in nature; in their work; cooking; helping others; or even with pets. Spiritual practice means to me once sentence. Everything that happens to me is for my expansion as a being.
If every single thing that occurs in one’s life regardless of it being difficult, pleasing, or neutral is all for one’s expansion then all experience, even the painful ones, can be seen through a new lens. One is no longer a piece of driftwood sloshing around in the ocean , feeling victimized by experiences, waiting for peace and happiness to be determined by things that happen outside of us. But instead one can open to what life is trying to teach us. This is not meant in the parochial sense such as “I’m going to teach you a lesson!” Quite the contrary.
What if life was always trying to help us to grow and expand not only our earthly self, our “personality,” but also our soul. By soul I mean the higher, non physical part of us that is always guided by the greater good, that is connected to pure love, source. This makes life look much different when we get sick, or don’t get the big promotion, or lose a romantic or friend relationship. It allows us to open to wonderment and curiosity about how life is trying to open and expand us. This is not to say that those experiences are not painful; of course they are. But knowing that all experience is here to help us allows us to open to the pain in a new way.
As human beings we seem to occasionally need pain to get our attention. Not that soul expansion must always come at the hands of pain, but often times, and especially that first awakening time, they do. If we know this pain is attempting to enlighten us to our soul’s lessons so that we can expand, then the pain serves a purpose. We come out the other side carved out, with a greater capacity, more compassion for self and others, with a deeper wisdom than we had before.
Dark nights of the soul are never fun. In fact they are the most discomfiting and hope challenging times in life. No one likes being lost in a long dark tunnel with no end in sight. But the light one stands in on the other side is sweeter than any bliss I have known, and it is accompanied by a new level of wisdom and understanding that bring us closer to the true connection of personality (the earth identity me) and the soul (the higher, connected to love, being.)
Think Through Your Heart
Julie Visnich LCSW, LAC
SPIRITUAL PSYCOTHERAPY + NON TRADITIONAL HEALING
48 CR 250 #8
Durango, CO 81301
970 / 769-8397
Julie Visnich LCSW, LAC
SPIRITUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY + NON TRADITIONAL HEALING
48 CR 250 #8
Durango, CO 81301
970 / 769-8397