Live a life where all things are possible!
By Jill E. Greinke, MSW, LCSW, SAC
You must unlearn what you have been programmed to believe since birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible. –Jacqueline E. Purcell
Someone once asked me what “holistic” psychotherapy meant, and he told me that the term “holistic” made him think about healthy eating as a way to take care of one’s body. That statement is true, but there is a lot more meaning behind the word “holistic.” This word is used today in many settings, which can be very confusing. But, its basic meaning centers on the development of healthy mind, body and spirit, the basic components of “holistic.” Holistic psychotherapy integrates all three but with an emphasis on spirit.
Obviously our bodies are important to us, for they hold our spirit: our essence, true being, authentic self or wise self. It has been said that we are divine beings having a human experience. So, we need our bodies to be healthy and strong to house our magnificent spirit! In order to really “get” mind, body and spirit, we can make an analogy to different components of a computer.
Our bodies house our hardware – our brain and software – which we call our mind. The software allows us to create daily thinking, feelings and beliefs. These are programmed into us during childhood development as expectations, rules, shoulds and cannots that guide our behavior throughout our lives. They can also be the programming through which societal norms and conformity begin to drive us; generating certain uncomfortable emotions and thoughts, and leading us to act in ways we may feel do not align with who we really are. These programs are conditioning or learned behaviors that steer us day by day.
Our ego (the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious, and thinks it is responsible for reality testing) incorporates all of our programmed conditioning. Though it will always be a part of us, it also thinks it is separate and responsible for keeping us “in line” and often rooted in fear-based thinking, thereby limiting our thinking, beliefs and life choices. Most often, our ego ends up holding us back, even keeping us feeling ‘trapped” in habitual and repetitive patterns of thinking and doing. It is the conditioning that began early in life that continues to drive how we live our lives in the present, HABITUALLY running on and on like old, outdated programming.
Since technology is upgraded daily, it is necessary for us to update our hardware and software on a regular basis to keep up. Both need to work together, but they also require an important and necessary component in which to run: the operating system. This connects and integrates all parts; without it, our computer would not be able to function. The operating system, our spirit, is the real force necessary to drive us. It is energetic current that supplies our hardware with the precise amount of energy to run meticulous software programs, aiding us in creating whatever we want to create and living out our lives consciously with the absence of any fear and previous conditioning. This energy moves quickly, does not stay stagnant and needs to flow freely from programming set from birth and throughout our lives.
Mind-body-spirit therefore incorporates the spirit as our own inner guidance for us to do whatever it takes to live authentically, innovatively and creatively. Psychology actually means the study of spirit. Holistic psychotherapy incorporates that as a key element in helping individuals to utilize specific techniques, aiding all to live as “whole” human beings with a greater sense of “Who am I and why am I here?” and as authentic beings with knowledge that all things are possible!
(As published in Nature’s Pathways magazine)