Counselling and psychotherapy

One thread runs though the considerable diversity of my life; a fascination with the human condition. That fascination has never been purely theoretical and I’ve always been concerned with how our lives might be nurtured to fuller flowering. As this thread led me through philosophy, art, activism and academia, I often wondered what larger pattern might emerge. Was there some practice which could weave the threads together?

A path into the woods

Following the path

Several years ago I realized that a pattern was emerging. I was involved with two groups which were practically engaged in helping people towards deeper understanding: One is a training organization which specializes in an embodied approach (Integration Training) and the other is an informal ecopsychology group.

About a year ago the path took another turn. I’d began to realize how powerful my Nature Connection work could be and decided that to take it to the next level required counselling training. As a result, I’ve recently started an Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton. You can be sure that this new strand will add to the richness of this blog and the tapestry we weave together here.

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4 Responses to Counselling and psychotherapy

  1. Juliano says:

    I recently joined an egroup, was invited by Adrian Harris (but have for got the group’s name). I asked the group a question: I explained that I had had two OBEs in my life, both very startling but the last one was VERY powerful and I met entities. I am also familr with The Spell of the Sensuous, a book by David Abram who talks about embodiment, which is deepening one’s sensual interelationship with others and nature.
    I had asked how are the two connected. Ie., some people will interpret OBEs in a dualistic way, and back up their religious belief that are along those lines. But how do people knowing embidiment interpret OBEs. THAT is my question. I have had no response from that group (I was expecting emails informing me of replies), and it has been several weeks. So the question still stands. Has it not been answerd because it is a daft question….OR an unaswerable one, or……But i WOULD like some reponse.

  2. Administrator says:

    Hi,
    If they are what many people claim, then I can’t see how to understand Out of Body Experiences (OBE’s) in anything but a dualistic way. If a part of you is ‘out of’ your body, then there must be matter and non-matter. By definition, that’s dualistic.

    I currently believe that there is only one kind of ‘stuff’; the idea that there’s one kind of stuff called matter and something else called ‘spirit’ is probably wrong. Enactivism may offer a way to move beyond this old puzzle, and it’s my favoured model at the moment.

    I’ve never had an OBE and all of the descriptions I’ve heard make sense if understood as dreams, hallucinations and (sometimes) telepathy. So, until I come across an OBE that doesn’t make sense in non-dualistic terms, I don’t think it makes sense to say someone can leave their body.

    There’s a more sympathetic account in the article ‘Out-of-Body Experiences: All in the Brain?’. It’s a dualistic account and doesn’t even try to engage with the philosophical difficulties of any theory of mind as spirit and body as matter.

    If you’d like something much more juicy and truly cutting edge that moves us away from these sad old Cartesian ideas, check out enactivism.

    Cheers!
    Adrian

  3. Juliano says:

    ahhhh a reply to this question 🙂 Thanks. I hope you dont mind if I answer you important points this way:

    Hi,
    If they are what many people claim, then I can’t see how to understand Out of Body Experiences (OBE’s) in anything but a dualistic way. If a part of you is ‘out of’ your body, then there must be matter and non-matter. By definition, that’s dualistic.

    >>I personally hate anything to do with Descartes and so would greatly not associate my OBEs with that kind of dualistic thinking. I am aware that in animistic, embodied, shamanistin cultures there is experienced OBEs. Would you call that dualistic?

    I currently believe that there is only one kind of ‘stuff’; the idea that there’s one kind of stuff called matter and something else called ‘spirit’ is probably wrong. Enactivism may offer a way to move beyond this old puzzle, and it’s my favoured model at the moment.

    >>So do you believe in faeries? I mean I had assumed you are involved with Ecopaganism, and isn’t there an open-minded acceptance of the Land of Faerie? If so, then what is ‘that’ is ‘it’ matter?
    Does our science even KNOW what matter is, or what consciousness is?
    As far as I am aware it doesn’t.
    So your position that everything is ‘stuff called matter’–what could that even mean if we dont know what ‘matter’ or ‘consciousness’ is?

    I’ve never had an OBE and all of the descriptions I’ve heard make sense if understood as dreams, hallucinations and (sometimes) telepathy. So, until I come across an OBE that doesn’t make sense in non-dualistic terms, I don’t think it makes sense to say someone can leave their body.

    >>It must be very strange, I admit, if you have never experience an OBE to be told by someone they have had this experience. I can tell you that they were not like dreams–not the ones I am familiar with. Dreams tend to morph from once scne into a next one, but these OBEs were not like that. The room–the surroundings stay the same, but there may be a door open—there may be someone sat in a place where another pice of furniture had been. In my experience someone very close to me was sat in the place the TV usually was, but everything else stayed the same.
    Yes telepathy did happen from two beings, but one hears this experience from people who have had UFO encounters, and from people who have had psychedelic experience.
    ‘Hallucination’? Hmmmm now how would one define that term? Have you seen this: Jeremy Narby – Biospheric TV “We don’t know how the film that we see springs out of the three pounds of jelly inside our skull…we don’t even know where the screen is…”

    There’s a more sympathetic account in the article ‘Out-of-Body Experiences: All in the Brain?’. It’s a dualistic account and doesn’t even try to engage with the philosophical difficulties of any theory of mind as spirit and body as matter.

    >>I haven’t looked at this yet, but I feel you seem to contradict your self in the preview—you both say it is sympathetic account, and then say it is dualistic…?

    If you’d like something much more juicy and truly cutting edge that moves us away from these sad old Cartesian ideas, check out enactivism.

    >>I can promise you I have VERY moved away from nasty old Descartes and his nasty old ideas which have greatly contributed to the nasty mean oppressive mechanistic world we are in where millions of animals are abused every day due to him and his horrendous thinking.
    I am VERY attracted to the art and writings of Monica Sjoo who talks about the Goddess religion which is non-dualist, YET she will also talk of a “spirit world”.

    Let me summarize what I think I know: OK, I am VERY aware and love all about embodiment–about the deepening of sensual awareness of body and its interelationship with the air, and land, nature and cosmos. I feel that psychedelics greatly open the bodymind to this and I feel that this is the real mythos which the patriarchs suppressed and continue to suppress. I was interested in the title of Valeri’s book (I have just been looking about it at Amazon) The Tree of Knowledge, because I have always been fascinated by the ‘creation myth’ in Genesis–the IMAGERY. I have learned that that tale, the Garden of ‘Eden’ is far more ancient than the patriarch’s version, and that what the latter have done is attempt to denigrate this ancient benevolent imagery with their ‘WORD’ (toxic myth/propaganda). Notice how the Tree (of enlightenment) is prohibited. The core meaning is that ecstatic orgiastic, embodied, and spiritual experience is being prohibited by the patriarchal wordsmiths (and this war on psychedelics continues!)

    I love the Goddess mythos because nature and body is understood to be sacred NOW. Not to be seen as ‘fallen’, or to-be-made-so in a linear left-brain idea of some future, or as mechanical and meaningless. The Serpent has many assocation for this mythos one being it symbolizes the re-cycling of nature, for the serpent cloughs off its SKIN and underneath has new skin. Likewise we age, dide and then there is always new fresh skin, for ALL life (and of course when embodied the body is constantly renewing itself–cells die and regenerate). So look what the Genesis writers do—they curse old Serpent. They BLAME Eve/Women for bringing death into the gard and thus implying you can have one abstract ‘life’, ‘death’ without the other. They create an unnatural problem via words and then blame someone else and then offer the solution—our AUTHOR-ity!

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