Monday, February 4, 2013

What is Soul-making Counselling?



A Soul-making therapeutic approach is not like typical psychotherapy which most often views the client as mentally or emotionally sick and in need of a "cure" or "restoration to normalcy". Psychotherapy typically begins with an assumption of mental and emotional illness, with a view to  restoring the client to a state of mental health. Soul-making on the other hand does not view emotional disturbances as automatically stemming from an illness, but rather as normal and necessary internal birth pangs indicating the imminent emergence of a new personality. Soul-making does not focus on restoration but rather on regeneration. Psychotherapy seeks to go back to a prior "healthy" condition while Soul-making therapy seeks to move ahead toward a more complete self.

The goal of Soul-making therapy is not to fix, cure or change your problematic emotions, but to work with them as the containers and carriers of a new aspect of self that wants to be born. In order to do this one must become emotionally literate--to learn a new psychological alphabet that is seldom taught in this culture, enabling one to read and converse with the troubling emotions. We are not dealing with a sick brain but with a living psyche. While there are clearly times that the brain is organically damaged and in need of curative restoration, that is not our approach. We work with a wise psyche that has purpose in our fears, anxieties, failures and depressions.  

Part of what Soul-making therapy does is to set aside the word "normal". You are not a statistic, nor are you meant to be "like" anybody else, in spite of what many psychotherapists, self help teachers, politicians and ministers might say. Soul sees all emotions as normal, especially in the midst of our messes, and soul speaks through our dysfunctions, addictions and disorders.

Often the intention of these disturbing emotions is to slow one down long enough to reflect deeply in order to become deeper, to wander through tangled experiences thoughtfully and meaningfully rather than unconsciously sprinting to the finish line of health and success. Soul is not concerned about security, certainty or how much money you make, yet ironically people who cultivate their souls are inclined to become more secure and successful in everything they do.

I always suggest that people continue their other therapeutic and spiritual programs which aim at bottom line results. Soul-making therapy is not meant to replace other therapies or spiritual practices. There is room for all.

Finally, I highly recommend two books: The first is by James Hollis, The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife, and the other is a book by James Hillman, The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling. These books will assist the reader in becoming emotionally literate, moving him/her toward the experience of seeing and doing life differently. This is my approach. It is not for everyone.

I look forward to your call.

206-459-4474


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