What is Spiritual Counselling?
Spirituality can be described in many ways, and ultimately it’s unique for everyone. In this article I’ll define spiritual as feeling a connection to something greater than yourself, and being more than just your body, thoughts and emotions and desires.
Spirituality involves viewing life (and death) as a mystery. No matter how hard you try to figure it our with your mind, it always remains elusive. It calls for a relaxing of the ego, and an allowing of ‘what is’ to emerge.
There’s many terms related to spirituality – karma, chakras, energy healing, maya, tarot, meditation, higher self, mystical experience, raising your vibration, manifestation, auras, crystals. Many of these stem from Eastern religions, or have been invented during the New Age movement.
While they can all be part of your healing spiritual journey, spirituality is ultimately a deeply personal venture, more about how you perceive yourself in relation to the world around you.
In spiritual counselling you can explore spirituality in a way which is meaningful to you, and discover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a human being.
Spirituality vs religion
Although spirituality is often linked to religion, at its core it isn’t linked to any particular practice. Someone following their authentic spiritual path might express themselves with art, music, the natural environment, meditation, or whatever they are called to do.
Spiritual counselling takes your experience and your beliefs as the ground of the therapy. You might want to explore spiritual aspects of your religion, or look at your issues through the lens of your religion.
Or you might have some confusion over your religion and would like the space to question and explore, to see what authentically works for you.
“Spirituality is recognising and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”Brené Brown
Any therapy which raises your personal awareness can be beneficial for spiritual growth. This is the aim of most psychological and body therapies, despite their varying origins and techniques.
Some therapies (such as CBT) were developed from a scientific base, while others (such as Mindfulness Therapy or MBCT) have been influenced by Buddhism, or other ancient meditative traditions. They can all help with:
- recognising automatic thought patterns
- allowing emotions
- observing bodily sensations
- letting go of tension in the body
- allowing the natural flow of the breath
- uncovering habitual behaviours
- assessing how you relate to others
Learning to observe your body and mind enables you to ‘know yourself’, which is the foundation of any spiritual practice.
Psychotherapy is also a great tool for getting in touch with some of your deepest feelings and longings. It can help to bring balance between the head and heart, so your thinking is in harmony with your emotions. You’re encouraged to let go of who you think you should be, and allow your unique, creative soul to emerge, with acceptance and without judgement.
As you get to know yourself, and the ego looses its grip, compassion arises naturally, along with a sense of being connected with other people and the world around you.
What do spiritual counsellors do?
Spiritual counsellors can come from a variety of backgrounds, with different levels of training and experience. They will all be on their own spiritual journeys, and will be open minded, willing to guide you on yours with the understanding that you may have different views and beliefs.
My spiritual journey began with learning and teaching the Alexander Technique, which raised my awareness of sensations the body, how I was breathing, and how I was moving.
I’ve also explored meditations from various traditions, including Buddhist Vipasanna meditations, Hindu mantra and self enquiry meditations, and extended mindfulness retreats.
As an experienced transpersonal psychotherapist, I can help with all aspects of your life, including relationships and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Many of life’s problems can be seen from a spiritual perspective, as well as through the psychological or medical lens, and it can be very liberating to take a holistic stance.
“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”Swami Vivekananda
How can spiritual counselling help me?
Spiritual counselling can help you integrate your spiritual self with your everyday life. The knowledge you seek already lies within you, and you can learn how to listen to yourself and develop intuition to guide you.
This integration of spirit and earth brings about a spiritual wellbeing encompassing your overall health – mental, emotional and physical.
As a spiritual counsellor, I won’t tell you what to do, but I will support you in what you choose to do. I’ll give you feedback to help you stay authentic to your own individual process, and support you through any challenging phases you might encounter along the way.
What is a Spiritual Awakening?
A spiritual awakening is the process of letting go of your ego, and waking up to a bigger sense of what you really are.
The ego is a collection of automatic thoughts, memories and desires which we mistakenly believe to be real and true. Spiritual awakening is a process, which rarely happens in one go. It’s more of a process of letting go, and allowing the expression and creativity of the soul to shine through you.
A spiritual awakening can be a blissful experience when it comes at the right time, but if you’re unprepared, there can be some challenges. The real work comes after the awakening – integrating what you’ve experienced into your everyday life.
This results in a more holistic self realisation and spiritual wellness.
Read more about the spiritual awakening process.
Counselling spiritual beings
Spiritual counselling, or spiritual coaching, is for anyone who wants to explore life from a spiritual dimension. It’s non religious, and tailored to your beliefs and interests. As a spiritual therapy, it will involve all aspects of your life, and help you to draw on your inner resources.
If you’d like to try spiritual counselling from a qualified transpersonal psychotherapist, please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation. Private practice sessions progress at your own pace, and take place in a safe confidential space in Central London.