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This Is What Happens When You Combine Spirituality With Psychotherapy

Charlotte holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & a Master of Arts in Spiritual Psychology.

This is What Psychotherapy Can Offer You

Traditional psychotherapy is an essential part of the healing process, as it offers many useful methods for healing conflicts in your personality.

The most healing aspect of psychotherapy is having that one person (the therapist) be there for you week after week. It is exceptionally healing to know that person is always there for you.

What is said during therapy is not as important as the fact that the person is there for you. Much healing takes place just by having the therapist mirror and validate your experience.

What kind of therapy will work for you depends on the issues you are experiencing. In addition to the right kind of therapy, you will want to find the right therapist to work with. Finding the right therapist can be a life changing experience.

Finding the right kind of therapist will depend on several factors, including your personality type. For example, if you are an extremely introverted person, you will need a therapist that allows you a lot of space to process your thoughts and feelings.

However, if you are a person with a more extroverted or assertive personality you would probably not do well with this type of therapist. An extroverted personality type will probably need a more challenging therapist. A therapist who will confront them on everything.

A factor to consider when seeking therapy is accessing the depth of the problem. Is this a long-term issue? Or is it just a situational problem that needs to be solved?

Life-long damage usually requires in-depth long-term therapy, such as psychoanalysis. Whereas temporary situational issues could benefit from short-term solution focused therapies.

There are many different types of therapies to choose from. This is a brief overview of a few of the many available.

Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis was originated by Sigmund Freud and is the basis for every other type of psychotherapy. The goals of psychoanalysis are to make the unconscious conscious and to strengthen the ego.

Psychoanalysis is the deepest and most in-depth psychotherapy available, as it seeks to explore the unconscious. Unconscious material usually takes a long time to unravel. This means a long-term approach.

Some techniques used to explore the unconscious are free association, interpretation, and dream analysis.

With free association everything you say is considered significant and explored in depth. Nothing is too trivial or silly. Nothing is taken at face value. Conversely, what is not said is also considered significant in psychoanalysis.

Dream analysis is another important technique for uncovering unconscious material. Freud believed that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious”. During sleep your defenses are lowered and repressed material can come to the surface. Dream material can be analyzed and interpreted during the therapy session.

Psychotherapy may be somewhat limited today because of the current managed-care health systems.

Gestalt Therapy

In contrast to psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy focuses on present moment awareness. Attaining awareness is the main goal in Gestalt therapy. Along with this awareness comes greater choice and responsibility.

Unfinished business can only be dealt with when you reach a certain level of self-awareness. Unfinished business shows up as energy blocks. Energy blocks are unexpressed feelings such as anger, grief, hatred, guilt, and pain. This blocked energy usually manifests as bodily symptoms.

By maintaining present moment awareness these unresolved issues can be dealt with in therapy. Present moment awareness is essential as you face new challenges and discover new aspects of yourself.

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Existential Therapy

Like Gestalt, Existentialism focuses on awareness and freedom of choice. The Existentialist view is that there is no escape from freedom because we can always be held responsible. You can give up this freedom, but this will lead to the greatest inauthenticity of the self.

The Existentialist view supports the idea that you are free to choose from the many alternatives available. And the choices you make will shape your destiny. Having the freedom to choose implies taking responsibility for the direction of your life.

The main goal of Existential therapy is increased awareness. This allows you to discover other possibilities where you didn’t see any before. This increased awareness allows you to make changes to your way of being in the world.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral therapy focuses on helping you realize how irrational your beliefs are; and substituting them with rational ideas and beliefs. This will eventually lead to a change in your behavior.

This view holds that it is not events themselves that cause an emotional disturbance. It is your perception of events that cause an emotional disturbance.

In other words, it is your beliefs about certain events that are causing your emotional disturbance, and consequently causing you to behave in an irrational manner.

There are many different facets of cognitive behavioral therapy. But the overall goal is to help you minimize your emotional disturbances by replacing your irrational beliefs with more rational ideas and beliefs.

For example, let’s say you fail at one task. You then think you are a complete failure at everything in life. Including life itself. This is an irrational belief. You are not a complete failure at life altogether. You only failed at one task.

The therapist will help you realize how irrational this belief is and will help you replace it with a more rational belief. Thereby minimizing emotional disturbance.

Narrative Therapy

One goal of narrative therapy is to help you externalize your problem. The therapist helps you see the problem as being separate from you. As opposed to being a part of you. In other words, the problem is the problem. The problem is not part of you.

If the problem is separate from you, you can call the shots. You get to say what happens in the story. You get to change the problem story. You can rewrite the script to turn out the way you want.

Your problem story keeps getting reinforced because you only focus on experiences that are in alignment with your problem story. Any experience that is an exception to your problem story will be ignored.

The therapist will help you rewrite your life script based on the experiences you think are exceptions to your story.

An Eclectic Approach

Many therapists today take an eclectic approach to therapy. Meaning they borrow techniques from different theories to incorporate into their counseling style.

These are just a handful of the many therapies available. If you are considering therapy, it's a good idea to interview several therapists before deciding which therapist you want to work with. You can trust your feelings and judgment.

Healing on the Deepest Level Possible

As we have seen, psychotherapy offers deep healing if you are willing to do the work on yourself and work with your therapist. You can however, take your healing to a deeper level.

How can you take your healing to a deeper level?

You can take your healing to a deeper level when you combine psychotherapy with spirituality. Traditional psychotherapy combined with spirituality brings about the deepest healing of the self that is possible.

The reason spirituality can take you to deeper levels of healing is because Spirit is the part of you that has been untouched by any emotional or physical damage. It is the part of you that remains whole regardless of what you have experienced. It is the Spirit within yourself that helps you to heal. The Spirit within yourself is also known as your Higher Self, Inner Child, or True Self. It is from this place that you can heal your life.

Furthermore, metaphysical principles suggest that illness and disease first exist in your etheric body (energy system) before manifesting in your physical body. Therefore, if you can heal yourself on an energy level, you can prevent the illness from manifesting in your physical body.


Transcending the Ego

Many spiritual leaders and practitioners in the metaphysical field agree that both spirituality and psychotherapy are needed and necessary. However, traditional psychotherapy is mainly concerned with personality adjustment and the functioning of the ego; whereas spiritual practice transcends the ordinary functioning of the ego. Therefore, spiritual practice has more potential for deeper healing.

However, some people mistakenly believe that spiritual practice alone will completely heal their personality and personal problems. This is not true. For example, it is possible for a person to be spiritually advanced and still have many conflicts in their personality.

An individual can be spiritually advanced and still be suffering from a mental illness or have a neurotic or personality disorder that has gone unchecked and unattended to. This occurs because they have not done the necessary work on their personality.

Some spiritual leaders believe this can be a dangerous situation because an individual can become psychologically disturbed by spiritual practice (such as meditation) if they have not done the necessary work on their personality.

This is particularly true in Western culture where much of the emphasis is placed on the individual ego. This is why spiritual practice must be combined with work on our personality. It is important to stay grounded and connected to the world in some way, so the ego can continue to function.

Combining spiritual practice with traditional psychotherapy addresses the whole person, rather than just one aspect of our being. Healing can and does occur on a deep level with traditional psychotherapy. However, traditional Western approaches do not address the spiritual self, which transcends ordinary functioning of the ego. Therefore, deeper healing of the whole self is possible when spiritual practice is combined with work on our personality.


Psychotherapy Strengthens the Ego

Psychotherapy Strengthens the Ego

Spiritual Healing Tools

Although traditional psychotherapy is immensely helpful, it does have its limitations. We are after all, only human. And as human beings, we do have our limitations. We are mainly dealing with the ego in traditional therapy. This is where spiritual practice come into play.

Spiritual practices such as prayer and mediation can deepen your healing at a level that traditional medicine can not. Prayer and meditation are very powerful healing tools. Many studies have shown a positive association between prayer and improved health outcomes.

Meditation has also been proven to have many health benefits on the body and mind. For example, in his doctoral dissertation R.K. Wallace (1970) conducted a study in which the results strongly suggested an improvement in the physical and mental health of subjects who practiced transcendental meditation on a regular basis.

For instance, out of 394 subjects, there was a significant improvement in physical health in 67 percent of the subjects. In addition, 84 percent of the subjects had a significant improvement in mental health. The percentage of subjects who reported no significant improvement in physical or mental health were subjects who were in good health before the study was conducted.

In addition, Wallace claims that all other studies conducted on transcendental meditation show similar results. All studies suggest that the physiological changes that take place during transcendental meditation can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, and relieve physical and mental tension.

These results suggest that meditation can be applied to traditional psychotherapy; and may have practical application to clinical medicine. This does not mean you ignore medical treatment or advice. It only means that spiritual practices can take your healing to deeper levels.

Spiritual practices address the whole self; not just the ego. We are human beings. But we are also spiritual beings. In fact, it is commonly heard in the spiritual/metaphysical field that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Not the other way around. Since we are spiritual beings, our spiritual self needs to be addressed.

Traditional methods generally don’t address our spiritual needs. That’s why it is so important to combine both spirituality with traditional medicine. When you combine both, you are addressing your whole self. Not just the ego and its needs. Although ego needs are important; it is only when we address all aspects of our self that deeper healing can occur.

Energy Healing

Besides prayer and meditation, there are many other spiritually based healing methods. One of the most popular alternative healing methods is chakra balancing. Chakra balancing is basically energy healing. Here is a brief overview of the chakra system and how works.

Chakra Balancing

Chakras are energy centers located in your subtle body. There are many of these energy centers located throughout your body. However, there are seven main chakras which have traditionally been the focus of healing and balancing. These seven main chakras are located from the base of your spine to the crown of your head.

However, the chakras are not physical. They are subtle energy centers located just in front of your spine. They are spinning vortexes of energy; which can spin in the wrong direction when imbalanced.

Each of the seven chakras are associated with certain emotional, mental, and physical health issues. According to this ancient healing method, you will have optimal health and well-being when all seven chakras are balanced. If one chakra is out of balance, the whole system will be out of balance.

Chakras usually become blocked or unbalanced due to some trauma you have experienced in your life. This is where your energy is blocked. You can see how this is compatible with Gestalt therapy mentioned earlier in this article. Unexpressed feelings show up as energy blocks, and usually manifest as bodily symptoms.

You can find more in-depth information about chakra balancing here.


Energy Healing

The seven main chakras are energy centers located in your subtle body from the base of your spine to the crown of your head.

The seven main chakras are energy centers located in your subtle body from the base of your spine to the crown of your head.

Healing is Non-Linear

An important point to remember is that when you use alternative healing methods, it does not mean you are completely healed for life and will never have any problems. Some people conclude it doesn’t work because they still have issues. This is not the case.

Healing is not linear. It is usually two steps forward and one step back. For instance, you can still grapple with depression and other mental health issues even if these things have been largely addressed.

But you have these amazing spiritual tools to work with. It's an incredible resource. You can turn inward anytime you need to. Just allowing yourself to be with yourself during meditation is healing.

No matter how bad things seem (and sometimes they seem very bad), when you work with spiritual tools there's always this feeling that everything will be okay. Because there is Something bigger than you are. Spiritual help is always available to you. And this really is the most amazing resource.


Body, Mind, & Spirit

The deepest levels of healing are possible when you address your whole being, rather than just one aspect of your being. You are a human being. Which is why it's important to address your mental and emotional needs. Ego needs are important and should not be ignored. However, you are also a spiritual being. Therefore your spiritual needs also need to be met.

Your body, mind, and spirit must be balanced for the deepest levels of healing to occur. When your body, mind, and spirit are balanced you will be in alignment with your Higher Self. This is where true healing begins.

Psychotherapy offers you mental and emotional healing. It serves the needs of your ego and personality. Spirituality offers you healing at a deeper level of your being. It serves your spiritual needs.

Both offer deep healing on their own. But the deepest healing possible occurs when you combine spirituality with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy and spirituality together address and heal your whole being.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Charlotte Allison

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