The Advantages of PsychoSpiritual Psychotherapy

The Advantages of PsychoSpiritual Psychotherapy

Elizabeth Caparros (The Odyssey Foundation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7524-7.ch012
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to educate those interested in the value of understanding psychological theories and how they may contribute to the mental and emotional healing of individuals, personally, socially, spiritually, and universally. It also examines some principles that relate to one's search for meaning.
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Introduction

Joseph Campbell (1988) stated the following in The Power of Myth:

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. (p. 1)

In my private practice most individuals seeking help express their desire to know and understand their purpose in life. Dr. Campbell’s lecture enlightens us to the fact that meaning and purpose seem to equate to the desire to experience our life in a passionate manner.

The study of psychology and its applications have been gaining enormous recognition as people attempt to give meaning and purpose to their existence. We individuals have expressed our need to find our identity within the diverse and numerous roles we must control in order to live a happy and productive life. The decline of society from tribal to nuclear family units has seriously interfered with our human need for bonding and belonging to a social structure that offers us a well-defined identity. This inability to define or be defined by a specific social structure has created disturbances within our state of mind that have proven to be distressing. Consequently, we are often mentally void of belonging to anyone or anything. The result can become an emptiness within our being that causes a great deal of suffering. This very discomfort has led many of us to seek professional help, mentally and emotionally.

Once upon a time we humans lived in tribes where there was no concept of ‘me’ or ‘I.’ The tribe itself was ‘I.’ Each individual had its responsibility to the tribe for its survival. Some were hunters and others were responsible for preparing a safe environment for the well being of all. As civilization developed communities developed. There were grandparents, parents, children, siblings, cousins, friends, and acquaintances who worked, played, and attended community activities together as a nucleus. Meaning and purpose was found in serving our places of worship. Erikson (1964) explains in Insight and Responsibility that, “True identity depends on the support which the young individual receives from the collective sense of identity characterizing the social groups significant to him, his class, his nation, his culture” (p. 93).

With the birth of the Industrial Revolution, these like-minded groups began spreading out in order to find prosperous work to support individual families. The groups that worshipped together became fragmented into smaller family-sized groups to find their own meaning and purpose. Examining this issue, Jaynes (1976) explains how the mind of individuals developed, reflectively, along with the structures of changing cultural norms and social arrangements.

Technology has contributed a great deal to our society, but it has also hindered personal social interaction within groups and among people. A survey of one’s immediate surroundings demonstrates that, whether in a group on an elevator, in a waiting room, or a check-out line, everyone’s focus is on their mobile device so that interactions are limited. This constant fragmentation of families and groups leaves us devoid of the opportunity to define ourselves as part of a universal consciousness. There seems to be so much more desire for independence and less interdependence and there is no one to whom we are truly bonded in a common effort. Once we were “the tribe” and now we have become an isolate with very few mirrors to reflect us. Every man and woman has individuated to seek personal definition, to find themselves, yet have gone so far as to lose themselves in the process. A search for identity has become the cornerstone of psychotherapy. Counseling, Psychotherapy, and PsychoSpiritual healing have attempted to become a remedy to our fragmented personalities. (Caparros, unpublished manuscript)

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