Updated: Jan 24
In my early 20s, I got myself into therapy. Talk therapy, that is. I had a lot to say and process. It was extremely helpful to have a compassionate witness and guide as I tried to understand the complexities of my complicated relationship with my narcissistic mother (though I didn’t have that word back then). My self-confidence was low, my anxiety high. Frankly, I didn’t know who I really was.
This was the beginning of a long journey to heal from family trauma. Therapy was an absolutely necessary place to begin. I needed help in unraveling the knots in my mind so I could understand myself and the events in my life. In fact, in my shamanic mentoring program Momentum to Change, there is time to do this type of self-reflective unpacking. Storytelling is an age-old method for healing our hearts and quieting our minds. It also is an essential process to begin to touch into the multidimensional energy matrix of our whole self.
But even back in my mid-twenties, after about 2 years of on and off talk therapy, I had an intuitive sense that engaging with the netherworlds of my subconscious held a key to freedom from suffering. I was lucky to find a Jungian psychoanalyst through a friend of mine when I was 26 years old. Once again, I sat in a comfortable, stuffed chair and brought my pain and anguish to a kind woman. But even more than this, I also brought my dreams—the voice of my subconscious and the portal into what Carl Jung called the “God Self.” He famously said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Being trapped in cycles of fate means that we continue to be entrained not just into the entrenched conditioning from family, community and society, but also into a destiny line limited by an overdeveloped, controlling wounded ego (as opposed to a healthy ago). We are trapped in a cage in which time is perceived as linear, with all our potential in our past long gone and even wasted, our present faught with suffering and our future filled with projections of the dire. We exist internally and externally with anxiety and chronic stress as we seem to buffeted about by what seem like outer events beyond our control (some of which are—that is for a later post).
In the western over-reliance on the mental, over time, talk therapy can begin to lose ground. Many clients who have been in therapy sometimes for years or even decades tell me that such psychological approaches are not really healing their wounds and removing the blocks they face. This is because at some point, it begins to replicate the trauma wound in which, as a child or an adult in a zone of chaos (such as a dysfunctional family, workplace, illness, or, worse, even things like war—all manner of stressors and traumatic events), by habit and conditioning, we try desperately to “figure it all out” as a means to become survive. We live in a state of hypervigilance which throws us into dissociation.
Psychologically speaking, we call it “stuck in the head.” When a client comes for a shamanic healing session with unhealed trauma, their Light Body is literally not aligned with their physical garment. This can cause symptoms like spaciness, lack of focus, vision, and concentration, as well as depression, anxiety, dread, stuckness, and, just plain feeling “weird” or "off." Though I personally have experienced moments in therapy in which suddenly, some flash of insight or the relief of unburdening myself through storytelling leads to a parallel experience of the two bodies snapping back into alignment, it took months, even years for this culmination.
There comes a point when the process of productive talk therapy awakens in us a level of self-awareness that then opens a doorway into the mystical dimensions of self and the cosmos. The more in touch we are with the material of the subconscious that is not just a dumping ground, as Freud would have it, of our suppressed and denied material, but also of rich potential in the timeless dimension of eternity as it is experienced by the soul and spirit. The energy body expands and, by extension, our heart inexorably pulls us towards our greater self. It is then time to launch from talk therapy into energy healing modalities.
Unhealed traumas often close the doors of perception and experience of our true, multidimensional and interdimensional nature. Without the ability to expand and access this mystical dimension of self and the cosmos, we remain stuck in the “war zones” of fate. Not only, as Jung himself said, are we caught in cycles of fate that are basically destiny lines driven by unconscious forces from our childhood and past life wounds, but we are limited in how much we can really heal.
Shamanic healing understands that we are far more than we think we are. When I work with clients, I am engaging directly with the soul and spirit, not just of the individual, but of humanity, from the family to the planetary. This is happening not just when I am doing hands on energy work, but from the moment the client enters into my space. I have, through prayer, widened the portals to the cosmic vibrational field in which the unified and awake consciousness of humanity, Mother Earth, Animal Allies, Mountain Spirits, Angelic Beings, Ancestors in the Light, and the Divine Mother-Father-Creator, among others, triggers a somatic, visceral, and subconscious expansion. As I clear the energy field and then journey into the inner dimensions where the impacted, crystallized imprint of old trauma creates constantly repeating patterns experienced as fate, the body-mind-soul complex automatically triggers natural and eternal pathways of transformation that we experience as spiritual or mystical. This is the domain of higher consciousness.
It is within this unified field where true soul-esteem, empowerment and freedom can be tracked, harnessed and reinstalled into the body-mind complex. Then profound and tangible shifts in thinking, feelings, in the body and in the outer world can be experienced--sometimes immediately, sometimes over time.
Storytelling and analysis are still very important approaches. When combined with mystical and spiritual technologies of the soul and spirit, they are powerful.
To heal trauma, entering into the mystical is absolutely necessary. But even more than that, through energy medicine, we have access to extremely potent and effective energies for healing that the mind alone, trapped in the grip of fate, cannot figure out.