Monthly Archives: August 2013

Raising Her Hand

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Raising Her Hand

Raising Her Hand

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Intuitions, Fears, and Desires

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“The world of social science has adopted a position that, as clinicians, only scientific research evidence is worthy of our attention. Providing services using any other methods for which “scientific evidence” is not yet available is considered unwise, uninformed, no better than guesswork, or worse, unethical.

So the bad news here is that virtually none of the therapies, healing traditions or ceremonies offered in the history of humankind come with scientific data and evidence attached….from the perspective of social science, your direct experience, your intuitions, your observations, what your clients tell you, all effectively have little or no value. Interesting, maybe. But self-report, anecdotal evidence, are not admissible in that world. Oh, they can be used to shape or inform research studies, but not practice. So unless you have evidence for visions quests, energy work, prayer, sending positive thoughts, Jungian dreamwork, ceremony, smudging, shamanic practices, and so on, you better not use them in sessions. You might get sued. Insurance companies won’t pay. You could damage the client….”  President Jim Nolan, Southwestern College

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This quote struck me as particularly apt this morning, what with all the theraputic textbook reading I’ve been doing lately, and the many strong female voices that support and surround me (hint:  see my link list for a few of them!) which stress and restate the intuitive and heart-centred strengths one can draw upon to heal not only oneself but others. 

The power of intuition has to be defended and reclaimed from its current dismissed status (because there was once a time when that ability was valued, respected, and validated in healers and caretakers) in order for theraputic care to ‘prove’ its worth.  It’s one reason I’m drawn to a multimodal approach and philosophy…its pragmatic and encompassing stance that ‘what works for the client, works’, holds at once both common-sense detail and intuitively holistic summation.   If your end goal is truly as simple and complex as to ‘feel better’, then anything from prayer to placebos, desensitization to dream analysis, sandtray to solutions-focused, love to listening, can be a) appropriate and b) effective.  By definition.   

The difficulty is that in a post-enlightenment world which wishes to contrast ‘faith’ and ‘science’, or ‘feeling’ and ‘reason’, rather than conflate them and enjoy the resultant synergy, we find few ways to measure, analyze, and structure the complex interplay of client/therapist relationship which results in psychological/spiritual/inner healing.  And when something cannot be quantified, it cannot be controlled.  Hence the fear, and the rule-wrangling which results…

A few questions for myself, and for you, this morning:

What messages inside your head and heart do you listen to, or ignore?  What skeptic thoughts make you dismiss your intuitive feelings?  Have you ever been sorry you didn’t ‘listen to your gut’?  What fears are voiced that make you wind up setting aside your unvoiced desires?

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When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner’s pick, a woodcarver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow, or this time next year. You make the path boldly and follow it fearfully. You go where the path leads. At the end of the path, you find a box canyon. You hammer out reports, dispatch bulletins. The writing has changed, in your hands, and in a twinkling, from an expression of your notions to an epistemological tool. The new place interests you because it is not clear. You attend. In your humility, you lay down the words carefully, watching all the angles. Now the earlier writing looks soft and careless. Process is nothing; erase your tracks. The path is not the work. I hope your tracks have grown over; I hope birds ate the crumbs; I hope you will toss it all and not look back.

Annie Dillard

When you write,…