There are of course a huge amount of different therapies and treatments to choose from when preparing a treatment plan – everything, from nutrition, energetic, holistic and herbal therapies to the more aggressive allotropic forms of treatment such as radiation and chemo. However, more often than not, the psyche, the soul and the heart are forgotten in addressing a life-threatening disease such as cancer. Treatments focus mainly on the body... the disease... the physical aspects of the person, while the higher dimensions of the person's well-being is forgotten and neglected. In contrast, within the (often) little known area within the psychology called transpersonal therapy, exactly those forgotten aspects of the individual are addressed and integrated to achieve healing and well-being. Here I hope to introduce you to the wonderful benefits of transpersonal therapy as an additional weapon in your arsenal in the fight against disease, as well as the underlying mechanisms for cure that involve this form of therapy.
As already mentioned, transpersonal psychology is a flow within psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of human experience with the framework of modern psychology (read more here). Within transpersonal therapy, the importance of the presence of the mind, soul and the heart is emphasized within a therapeutic context, and it is believed that only the intrigue of these aspects of the self is capable of achieving complete and complete cure. In this philosophy, life is seen as a journey of inner discovery and development, in which the ego and the Higher Self must work together in pursuit of a fusion into a whole, allowing the individual to fully experience the harmony of life. At these moments of perfect concordance between the inner and the outer, time stands still, all obstacles are dissolved, and there is a sense that, once and for all, and despite appearances, everything is exactly as it should be within the Cosmic order of things.
This is an approach that can be invaluable for severely ill patients. When someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, the patient is suddenly pushed into a scary, narrow and body-oriented existence with all attention focussed on the body and its physical symptoms whilst the diagnosis itself unleashes terror and a sense of helplessness. Transpersonal therapy is an antidote to this "disease-oriented" chaos in which the person finds him- or herself. Through the use of transpersonal therapeutic techniques, the individual’s perspectives are changed, broadened and deepened to a point where the meaning of these life-changing events can be found within the chaos. Because it is often the apparent senselessness - the feeling of futility associated with a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease - which is so difficult to bear and it is often asked: "Why me?". The sense of apparent injustice is tangible and indelible to the patient because the "I" is removed from a normal existence, and without a clear reason. Therefore, the first step on the path to healing is to find meaning and sense within the diagnosis, the chaos and the disruption of everyday life. Is a more meaningful question than not "What does my body, my psyche and my soul want to say to me through this diagnosis?" And "What can / should I know and do to heal myself?"?
You probably know the old saying "Without the bad we will not know the good" and this is true of a disease as well. Disease is part of dichotomy of human condition, which means that a state of health cannot be defined without a state of disease... and without it, wellbeing thus loses its significance. As discussed in Part 1, illness is never an accident, a coincidence or without meaning. Often, to different degrees, it always involves an imbalance, a lack of homeostasis between the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical bodies. In German, it is so beautifully expressed. The person is asked "Was Ihnen fehlt?"... literally translates to "What is missing in you?"... What is missing in your life that has brought you to this point? What does your body, your psyche and your soul say to you through this diagnosis and what can / should you know and do to heal yourself? And it is only when these questions are asked that the meaning of the disease can emerge... from the depths of the soul... as a coded message... a symbol of the higher self. And when the answers can be found for these questions...
Many patients with a serious or life-threatening disease have a tendency to suppress emotions and ignore their own needs. Often overcompensating by taking care of others. This continuous pattern of self-denial, lack of self-care and constant focus on others builds a huge amount of bitterness and animosity within the person as well as within the mental and emotional bodies. And there it's sitting, in the unconscious. Where it grows and grows like a meta-physical tumour that eventually manifests itself as, for instance cancer, in the physical body. And so was it with one of my clients too.
For her, transpersonal therapy was focused on discovering, acknowledging and co-operating with these thoughts and feelings... a meeting of the shadow side of herself. The same shadow self, regarded by society as unacceptable, the part they believe should be suppressed, the deepest darkest aspect of her as an individual that is considered to be undesirable... but it is also the part of her that is very normal. These emotions of anger, aggression, jealousy, greed and control that have to be suppressed from a young age are precisely embraced, integrated and ultimately befriended during the course of transpersonal therapy. And it was these feelings of acceptance, peace and eventual "self-love" that was a huge liberating experience for her.
Imagine how liberating it is to know that there is nothing wrong with expressing these dark emotions. How redemptive it is to claim your fair share of it. How much lighter you feel when the ultimate goal is harmony and not perfection. And it was this harmony and this unanimity of the dark, previously denied aspects of herself where she found her answers, her salvation and her spiritual and physical healing. Through this process of acceptance and integration where the symbolism of her cancer emerged. The "symptom as symbol" effect in which these denied and suppressed aspects of herself, this deep-rooted and unconscious bitterness festered within her energetic bodies... and where it became a very real and very physical thing. For my client, her lung cancer was a symbol of a lifelong lack of space to "breathe" – to be herself. For someone else, a melanoma may be an attack on the boundary between the inner and outer worlds, a sign that the barriers between the person and the environment must be broken down.
The Higher Self, through the energetic and physical bodies, constantly sends messages about the state of the soul. At the beginning, these can be very subtle, but if ignored, these whispers become roars... because some people just need that physical wake-up call.
Insight and understanding about illness is not easy nor automatic, however, it is essential for a permanent and complete recovery to health and well-being. Without understanding of the true origin, the real cause of the physical expression of the mental, emotional and energetic disease, healing on the physical plane will remain volatile. It is only when the meaning of the disease is understood, that healing on more than just a physical plane, can really begin. When the consciousness moves to a higher level... when values change... when new meanings are assigned to experiences... when the excesses drop and the new - and perhaps even long forgotten - perceptions emerge as a reminder that there is something more than the immediate... the now... It is then that all aspects of the person can overcome the physical. It is then that the trip becomes relevant. Then a complete overview of the situation can be seen and that unexpected inner resources can be discovered. Then that the person can heal him- or herself completely on all levels... on the mental, mental, emotional and physical.
I'm Lieze Boshoff, Transpersonal- and Hypnotherapist, and owner of Praktijk Holistica. I obtained a Bachelors in Clinical Psychology and a Master's degree in Neuropsychology. I have also been trained in Diagnosis and Intervention for Clinical Psychology, Development Models, Hypnotherapy (Master), Reiki II, Aromatherapy and Reflexology. You can read more about me here (Dutch) or here (English).
After I completed my studies, I worked as a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University of Groningen where, through a series of events and experiences, I rediscovered my first love – to help people on the mental, physical and spiritual level and thus, affect real and lasting healing and wellness within the individual. I say rediscovered because, even as a first-year student experiencing the painful journey of recovery from cancer my mother went through, I wanted to start my own holistic healing and wellness practice, specializing in holistic and complementary treatments aimed specifically for cancer patients. Therefore, I decided to finally pursue my dreams, my intuition and my heart, and thus Praktijk Holistica was born.
Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not necessarily those of Praktijk Holistica. In addition, my thoughts and opinions change from time to time…I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind. This weblog is intended to provide a semi-permanent point in time, a snapshot and manifestation of the various opinions, thoughts, feelings and interpretations of experiences that are running around my brain at any given moment in time. As such, any thoughts and opinions expressed within older posts may not be the same, nor maybe even similar, to those I may hold today. Oh, and by the way, I am not sponsored or paid by anyone for anything on here.