Shamanic Perspectives and Processes in Therapeutic Work
This will be a two-day workshop that explores the shamanistic elements of therapeutic work as they tend to arise in treatment. During these two days we will work in a small group (maximum 8 people) to look at and experience the typically shamanic processes that can naturally occur during cranio-sacral therapy and other therapeutic work, and discover how to be with these in a way that facilitates them, as well as embracing the non-rational and working with opening our perception to different or less common layers of experience. The course is open to cranio-sacral therapists (for whom it counts as 2 days' primary CPD for the CSTA) and, by arrangement with me, to others working in a therapeutic field who wish to explore these perspectives and processes.
In particular we will look to work with acknowledging and facilitating the 'epic' or mythic layer of someone's journey, meeting the path to healing and growth that is needed or available, and the inherent wisdom in any situation, however 'damaged' it may look. Related to this, we will also talk about 'soul retrieval' as it can naturally occur in cranial and therapy work - this is a term that describes how dissociated parts of the self and energy can find their way home. These may be from major or very subtle traumas or difficulties of any kind.
In order to appreciate this process and layer of work we will use various exercises, alone and in pairs including basic shamanic journeying, to help make this more accessible to us in our perception. We will also recognise how our perception can be very subtly and arbitrarily limited and limiting, from conscious judgments or assumptions about the person or the processes that can happen, as well as from more unconscious aspects of our 'shadow', and we will use awareness exercises to work with this in an embodied way.
To ground all of this in a shamanistic perspective and create a kind of 'map' which will help our awareness to explore these possibilities in a meaningful way, we will work with a medicine wheel, especially as it relates to perception, our process and the way we naturally move through issues. We will also work with the shamanic perspective and experience of being part of a whole, and part of the Earth, and notice how this may affect both us and our client work.
Over the two days we will integrate these exercises and perspectives to become an extra layer of work and awareness that is available in ourselves as well as in a client's process within the context of table work in pairs.
Some of the themes we will explore include –
- Shamanic perspective on 'reality' - investigating our perception and how a shift in perception can change what we and our clients experience.
- Awareness of shadow work, both individually and culturally, and how this can affect our perception.
- Opening to different types of perceptions.
- Exploring how any situation contains deep wisdom and learning to trust this.
- Tracking the healing for a client as well as the story of how they have got to where they are.
- Working on the level of the 'epic journey'. How soul retrieval occurs in cranial sessions, and how to work with it.
- Shamanistic perspectives on inclusivity and wholeness, internally and in relationship with the world. Being part of the web of life and implications for clinical work.
- Potential to be 'dreamed up' by the client – relationship to transference.
I have been involved with shamanic work for 15 years, and became interested in how these processes can seem to arise in cranial and other therapeutic work too. For me shamanic work is definitely not just a set of 'perceptual skills' or techniques. It is a heartfelt and experience-based approach to life and work, which asks us to be willing to look at ourselves, and really bring all of ourselves to the table and honour what is here – it is this willingness and approach that allow the perceptions and processes to arise. This is not a course in shamanic healing (there are plenty of good ones around) but rather I hope is a kind of 'bridge', a reflection of these shamanistic processes as I have found they naturally tend to occur in therapeutic work, as well as aspects of the shamanic perspective and personal work that I feel are especially useful for practitioners.
At least 5 - 10% of my income from each of these workshops (after room hire) is given to Survival International, who support the rights of indigenous people.