Having an attitude of gratitude is an art that I was taught early in life. I feel much gratefulness for the experience - albeit a lonely one - of writing this book. However, without the support and inspiration of some very special people, the adventure of writing the manuscript, would have been quite an impossible task.
I am grateful to my daughter Barbara Dobson. With her sharp, critical mind and her supporting attitude, she has been a great help for me. She was always the first to see my attempts of putting into words what in reality can only be experienced. Her red pencil often was a source of inspiration and laughter.
I feel indebted to Clare Gabriel and Judee Gee, my very dear friends, peer-group members and colleagues, who decided to take me under their wing: Clare was the first one to read the complete manuscript and correct my sometimes crooked English and Judee did the first editing work. With your wisdom, enthusiasm, and humour I got the necessary impulse to finish the missing details.
I thank Joy Manné for her pushing me onto the writer's path and for her editorial help with the first draft of part four, 'Healing the Past on a Soul Level'.
I also thank Gerd Seiß for his very useful and analytical remarks during and after the summer training when I demonstrated a 'Healing the Past on a Soul Level' session.
Many thanks to Steve Evans, for giving me permission to use the beautiful picture - the Bangladesh Water Lily - for the cover of this book.
I am very grateful to Jim Morningstar and to Hal & Sidra Stone who have honoured me by writing a preface for this book.
I acknowledge and thank Hans Mensink for the nearly thirty years of working together, for his inspiration and contribution to our shared venture.
I thank Heidi Stein for being the very special trainer and therapist she is, for her love and for our exchange of sessions.
I thank Leonard Orr for bringing the idea of Conscious Connected Breathwork into the world, and for the lessons in fine-tuned breathwork he gave me.
With gratitude, I recall my training with Hal and Sidra Stone-Winkelman. Their brilliant teachings of the 'Psychology of Selves' and the 'Voice Dialogue' technique have enriched my work and my life. The sessions they personally gave me have had a great impact on my personal development.
I thank Bert Hellinger for his inspirational work, and all the other teachers I had, who have supported me on my inner journey.
Tilke dedicates her book to easing the life of therapists and inspiring their clients. As a practicing psychotherapist since 1970, I fully appreciate this dedication. My life has been eased by Tilke’s soulful work in multiple ways.
This book is a reaffirmation of a different model of healing than that originally envisioned at the beginning of the 20th century. The original paradigm of therapy was of a patient’s illness or distress being cured through the knowledge of a competent practitioner who remained as neutral and detached from the healing process as humanly possible, so as not to contaminate the patient’s inner dynamics. As we have grown in our knowledge of how the world works, from physics to psychology, we know that the interactive effect of subject/object cannot be avoided.
What Tilke has outlined is a way to maximize the benefits of therapist/client interaction by judicious use of self-awareness, self-disclosure, and respect for the wholeness of her client. This is an art form at its highest, requiring continuous reflection on the part of the therapist to keep appropriate boundaries - loving non-intrusive contact. Tilke models this skill with elegance. She does not do this with the illusion of someone claiming perfection, but rather with the humility of a co-voyager on the journey of life, discovering and admitting her foibles and shadows along the way. This leads directly to the second part of her dedication. By courageously owning her blind spots as well as her brilliance, she inspires clients to do the same - be human and exercise choice over what parts of our humanity we wish to exalt and which parts we endeavour to temper.
Such an ideal is difficult at best to maintain. However, Tilke continues to ease our lives by giving us tools to keep ourselves well honed for the cutting edge of treatment. From the spiritual practice of trusting our divine guidance and surrendering to love to the character traits of lightness and authenticity, to the ethical precepts of managing a professionally intimate relationship with integrity, to the clinical techniques of breath mastery, peaceful communication, affirmations, voice dialogue and imagery, Tilke fills our tool chest with the most incisive implements of which I am aware as a veteran therapist. She brings out the teacher in herself (and us) by giving simple yet profound examples of the use of each of these tools. She does not do this in cookbook, 'follow my instructions' fashion, but in anecdotal stories that ignite our imagination to apply these tools to our unique settings. (It was Albert Einstein that said imagination is more important than knowledge.) The wise woman that Tilke is knows that she is nurturing our creativity with universal principles rather than filling our memory with static formulas.
Not content just to demonstrate a set of 'state of the art' tools, Tilke makes life again even easier for therapists, by taking us through a mini-apprenticeship to increase our facility with their use. She takes us through the issues we are most likely to encounter in this new paradigm of treatment, both in ourselves and our clients. Then she walks us through a therapy session to familiarize us with her model of the process. We begin to share in her adeptness and feel for the application, because again she divulges to us what is happening inside of her not just the behaviour of her clients. This has prompted me on numerous occasions to feel the confidence to 'own' the tool she has elucidated and employ it with my clients. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Tilke should feel duly acknowledged.
A way that this book has personally made my life easier is to demonstrate the effective integration of breathwork and verbal therapy. I have practiced this integration personally since the late 1970’s. I have read many excellent newly published books on breathwork. And of course these are classic texts by many excellent psychotherapists. However, there are woefully few volumes on how breathwork enhances and deepens the traditional process of formal psychotherapy and takes healing to levels often untouched by traditional treatments. For this I am very grateful and encouraged, that this will prompt more professional therapists to employ breathwork and more therapists who already do to share their experiences.
Finally, I believe Tilke has fulfilled her mission of making the lives of therapists easier by delineating the lines of personal responsibility for both therapists and clients in this new paradigm of healing. In so doing she releases therapists from doing the impossible - changing others - and in the same stroke puts the therapists’ major responsibility of self-change and self-healing into high profile. She does this with humour, warmth and deftness of the master therapist that she is. She leads us to the realization, therapist and client alike, that we all have the 'therapist' and 'client' within us and that the more we bring forth a fruitful dialogue between them within our own psyche, the more mutually beneficial we are in our ever changing roles of therapist and client in our world. Thus, there will be as many clients as therapists who read this book and who are touched and healed on a soul level.
In gratitude to my friend and colleague, Tilke Platteel-Deur.
There are great gifts that come with age. One of them is having the opportunity to watch the personal development of people you have known and to see where their journeys have led them.
The other is watching their professional lives and seeing how their work unfolds. We have had the pleasure of knowing Tilke Platteel-Deur and following her development in this way.
In reading The Art of Integrative Therapy, we see the work of a mature therapist - one who has had many years of rich experience. And like wine that has aged and mellowed, her work is complex and rewarding. Tilke is truly a master at what she does.
Tilke has learned many different approaches in her long and productive life, but Connected Breathing has remained the core of her work. She adds to this basic work her long experience with a multitude of different systems and shares with us her own viewpoint about what good therapy is all about.
This book is a distillation of a life's work - both personal and professional. Tilke presents her case material with ease so that what happens with each client can be easily understood by the reader. She shares her personal life and personal experiences in the same way.
Tilke describes the purpose of this book as: 'A book to ease the lives of therapists and to inspire their clients.' We do believe that she has done a masterful job at accomplishing this.
Since many years, my children as well as my students have been asking me to write. Thinking that I did not have the time, my life being so full of work, was a great excuse not to. Joy Manné finally pushed me forward, for which I am still grateful, and got me to write articles for 'The Healing Breath'. Time flies though, and I become conscious about not getting any younger. So, the moment has come that I feel the need to share my experience, not only through teaching.
I began working as a breathwork therapist and trainer in 1978, I have been fascinated by the work with my clients and students. Various kinds of clients have crossed the doorstep to my practice room. Many unusual people came into our three-year training program. They all inspired me. Working with them, has enriched my life in uncountable ways. They not only forced me to look deeper inside and develop myself; they stimulated me to deepen my capacities as a breathwork therapist.
In the late seventies, my colleague Hans Mensink and I met at a gathering of rebirthers. It was a short meeting with unforeseen consequences. We were, at least on the outside, total opposites. Nevertheless we decided to work together. We were so enthusiastic about the deep effects of the Connected Breathing Technique, which seemed so simple and easy, that we wanted to help ourselves as well as others to learn how to use it in a well-founded way, a way that would give credit to it. The more we learned about it, the more complex it became. So together, we created a training program in 1979, which grew organically over the next six years into the form we had been visualising. From a three months course the work had evolved into the three-year training program we had been aiming for. After all these years, we are still working together, which in itself is like a miracle. We have always looked upon our working together as an assignment, a task we have been given, and our working relationship is a stable factor in our lives.
This three-year training has not only been a school for the students, but for me as well. It has been a school of life. It has forced me, as therapist, trainer and teacher, to constantly learn, practice and expand my knowledge and skills.
I have always believed in learning by doing; consequently, a therapist needs to be trained by doing an intense self-development process. He has to get to know himself profoundly; his various emotions, his weaknesses, and his strengths, and he should know his vulnerability just as intimately as his deepest anger and hatred. This makes him a safe person for himself, for other human beings in general and for his clients in particular. Clinical psychologists have often been in analysis for years. Why should Breathwork Therapists be less well trained?
As therapists, we have to get that mysterious 'It', which constitutes a real good therapist, into our flesh and blood. We need to study, to practice consistently. Ultimately, we will be known by the content of our life and by ‘who we are' more than by what we say or do. We have to walk our talk.
In our training program, we teach breathwork as the basis of the therapeutic work. We teach the principles of the 'Psychology of Selves' to help people understand how the dynamics in relationships work, as well as a technique, called 'Voice Dialogue', because it is an excellent supplementary technique to use next to Integrative Breathwork. Furthermore, we teach some of the basic principles of Neuro Linguistic Programming and the fundamentals of Polarity Massage.
In the course of this book, I will go through different essentials of the therapeutic profession that have become ever more important and useful to me over the years. All these elements are fundamental prerequisites I consider indispensable for doing thorough therapeutic work. Numerous case histories, gathered over the years, illustrate the different elements.
Part one is about creating the inner attitude we all need when working with clients; it moves from trusting our inner guidance, through creating rapport, and using the personal therapist-client relationship in a positive way, to love, which is the final and most healing ingredient in our work.
In part two, I speak about the precise and fine-tuned work with the Conscious Connected Breath, a theme, which is always extremely close to my heart.
The next part addresses additional and very useful techniques that are often necessary to lead a client to integration, as well as various important issues as they arise in the normal practice of a therapist.
In part four, I describe a complete session. In the subsequent chapters, I explain the different methods that I used in detail and why I intervened at a particular moment in a certain way.
The fifth part addresses the necessity for therapists to keep developing themselves personally as well as spiritually, to keep their mind and heart clear and their spirit high.
I have added a last part, which contains the procedure on how to conduct a 'Healing the Past on a Soul Level' session.
Please, don't feel offended by my using the male form throughout the text. I am addressing both females and males alike, but I don't like the use of s/he, trying to emphasise this.
In the list of recommended reading, one important book is missing. My dearest book, the book of my life, has been written by the life experience of being a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, colleague, friend, therapist and trainer. It could only be told by spoken word.
 The Healing Breath is a Journal about Breathwork produced by Joy Manné
 Hal & Sidra Stone, Embracing Your Selves
Preface by Jim Morningstar
Preface by Hal & Sidra Stone
Table of Contents
Part One: Attitude and Mentality
10. Be Willing to Learn from Your Clients
Relating to Clients
11. The Relationship with a Client is very Personal
12. Don't Ever be Sexual with your Clients
14. Receive Your Client like a 'Firstborn'
15. Create Rapport and Safety
16. Trust the Process
17. Love is what Heals
Part Two: Breathing
18. Become a Master of Breath Yourself
19. Nose or Mouth Breathing
20. Breath Release
In-breath & Out-breath
21. Support your Client to Find a Full and Relaxed In-Breath
22. Support your Client to find a Completely Relaxed Out-Breath
Connecting the Breath
23. Make Good Use of the Connected Breath
24. When in Doubt, Make Better Use of the Connected Breath
25. Support your Client to Breathe Connectedly
Volume, Ecstasy & Energy
26. Big Breath - Small Breath – Playing with Volume and Speed
27. Safety & Ecstasy
28. Support your Client to Find a High Level of Energy
Part Three: Additional Techniques
& Important Issues
29. The Advantages of Sitting
30. The Advantages of Lying Down
31. Observing, Matching & Leading
33. Duration of a Session, Take your Time
34. We are Never Upset for the Reason we Think
36. Perfectionism, Criticism & Guilt
37. Saying 'No', Personal Energy - Impersonal Energy
38. Getting Real & Taking Responsibility. We Create our Reality
39. Effective, Peaceful Communication
40. Death & dying
41. Working with Couples
42. Clearing the Relationship with Mum and Dad
44. The Process of 'Prayers'
45. Clearing the Belief System, the Use of Conscious Thinking
46. Affirmations, Walking Towards your Goal
47. Staying in Contact, Breathwork with Open Eyes
48. Using a Mirror
49. Voice Dialogue
50. Using Voice Dialogue
51. Working with Symbols
52. Imagery & Visualisation
53. Using guided Visualisation
Part Four: Healing the Part on a Soul Level
54. Healing the Past on a Soul Level, The Session
Moving through the session
55. Catching the First Answer to a Question
56. Exploring the Inner Movie
57. The Role of Observer
58. Giving to the Inner Child
59. Giving what is Needed… Giving up Resentment…
Is the Same as Forgiveness
60. Follow Through
61. Future Pacing
62. Moments that Need Special Attention
Part Five: Inner Development
64. Training & Supervision
65. Healthy Self Esteem
66. Support, Professional Organisations & Peer Groups
68. Having an Attitude of Gratitude
69. Making a Contribution
Procedure How to conduct a 'Healing the Past on a Soul Level' session
Resources, addresses and websites
Developing an attitude of acceptance, support and love towards the people we are working with is one of the most basic ingredients a breathwork therapist needs in order to be effective in this field. Each valuable kind of psychotherapy is based upon building a true relationship with another person, trusting that everyone carries deep within himself all the resources to live a good, creative, and fulfilling life.
I have two basic assumptions, without which I would not be able to work:1. Behind all the inner and outer judgements one may have, behind the behaviour that is shown to the world, human beings, in their Essence, are good. This goodness may be covered under layers of behaviour we might despise, or consider to be unbecoming or at least very unpractical, such as aloofness, irritability, being overly pleasing, shyness, materialism, addiction, etc. But underneath those layers, a real gem is hidden. In therapeutic work, it is essential to support a person in finding that gem and cherishing it.
2. Our deepest convictions create the way we perceive life. They create the way we think and feel about the world and ourselves. Some of our convictions limit the flow of energy in our bodies and restrict our freedom of choice, others don't. If we become conscious of our convictions, we can actually create new ones, which will enhance the quality of our lives.
This second assumption helps us to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. It enables us to regain control of our lives and no longer act as a victim of circumstances, or as a bystander.
The basic purpose of therapy is to help us to recognise our thought patterns: to make it possible to feel our thoughts, to find a way back to our own vitality, our life force, to create a context within which it is safe enough to integrate thoughts and feelings, and thus to bring us into contact with our spirituality and with the meaning of life.
The Need to Express Ourselves
I have always been fascinated to see that we all have a deep longing to make some sort of impact on this world and the people around us. We have a yearning to fully express and realise ourselves, to become complete as human beings. Without this complete expression, we would miss out on the Essence of our lives. When the hidden parts of our personality come to the surface, and those that are already beautiful become visible, we grow to be more and more who we really are, and how we are meant to be.
In our three-year training programme, we regularly do 'sharing work'; one person sits in-between my colleague and myself and gets the opportunity to truly share, reveal, and express what he is feeling precisely in that moment.
If the truth - however difficult, shameful, or embarrassing it may seem - is shared within the safe environment of the group, it is as if a load is lifted from the shoulders. There is no longer a need to use energy to repress these former hidden feelings. The truth has been honoured and can therefore be integrated.
During such a sharing session, I am often profoundly touched, seeing those beautiful moments where people share their true feelings and open up to a deeper level. Sometimes an insight may have come up, and the person will be content. A victory over inner limitations may be shared, and will bring a smile. A long hidden and sometimes shameful truth may be told to the group, and embarrassment will drop away. Whatever is shared, a deep change can happen: eyes begin to shine, shoulders straighten, people stand tall, relief happens and a livelier person will be revealed.
People seem to rejoice when they get the opportunity to drop the façade and let 'the world' perceive them as who they really are, with all their human imperfections, by showing their truer self. It may be their strength or vulnerability, their anger or passion that was hidden and now becomes visible; whatever it was, the more completely they express themselves the more whole they feel as human beings.
We have all been exposed to immeasurable influences during the course of life that have left their mark. The most fundamental influence we will ever experience (apart from dying) is being born.
Imagine, a newborn child coming into this often-cold world; it is unique. It arrives with its soul captured in a very small body, helpless and depending upon other people's care. It is separated from its mother with whom it has been intimately connected for the last nine months. It is completely vulnerable in the physical world and has to survive in it. But how?
In order to become strong enough to survive, we have to develop the many parts of our personality that come into existence to protect our vulnerability. These different parts or 'voices'- as we call them in Voice Dialogue - may not be who we are deep inside, but we need them because our need to protect our vulnerability is immense. We cannot simply be our unique self as little children. We have to develop certain personality parts, 'Primary Selves', to make it possible for us to 'fit in'. We create a system of behaviour that allows us to belong. These Primary Selves give us some power to control our surroundings and to survive in this world. If we did not develop a certain power, we would be constant victims to everybody and to all circumstances in life.
After birth, parents, caretakers, teachers, siblings and many other people affect us. We have to adapt to numerous rules and regulations.
And so, over time, that beautiful, special being inside who is completely unique begins to disappear under layers of a well-behaved and well-adapted personality.
Our deep longing to rediscover that core, to regain access to what Hall & Sidra Stone call our 'Psychic Fingerprint', is the incentive that drives people onto the road of personal growth and development.
Therefore, when you get new clients, you do not have to work all that hard to inspire them to develop and explore themselves. The fact that they have come to see you means that they are, however wavering and frightened, already willing to take a closer look at themselves.
Your main task is to support clients to find ways to rediscover who they really are. You will help them peel away the many layers they have built around their Essence. A person's goodness may be covered under layers of all kinds of behaviour, but underneath a pearl is always hidden. That pearl has to be found and cherished. To support people to do exactly that is our task as - breathwork - therapists.
In good psychotherapy, you support your clients to get an in-depth knowledge of all the different parts of their personality. This enables them to get access to the vulnerable and the strong parts, the dull and the exiting ones, the positive and the negative. Thus, they can develop an 'Aware Ego'- a decision maker - to make more realistic and better choices for their lives. The more we begin to unravel our life's history, the better we will get to know our true self, the self that is hidden beneath the surface of our personality. Remember, the dark or shadow side of the personality is just as vital and important as the well-established and respected side, and it needs to be acknowledged and respected as such, without judgement. Only then, we can embrace and honour all the different parts.
In good breathwork therapy, you do even more; by helping your clients to actually become the master of their breathing, they will gain a profound sense of physical safety while experiencing their emotions, both positive and negative. Through mastering the breath, they are able to regain consciousness of their emotions, carrying them instead of being drowned by them.
It is this sense of safety in the body-mind that makes breathwork therapy extremely effective.
Every good therapy, medical, spiritual, or psychological, is done with a deep longing to support healing in all its forms. I do not know any caretaker who is not genuinely concerned about his clients. Doctors may regularly be overwhelmed by their workload, causing them to seem aloof sometimes, but in their hearts they want their patients to get well. Priests and ministers are constantly counselling people to help them solve their problems. Psychotherapists are dedicatedly working and supporting people to lead a happier life. If a caretaker fails in his task and takes the time to experience how that makes him feel, he will probably have feelings ranging from a sense of professional inadequacy to pure sadness.
Conscious connected breathing has the tendency to form a bridge between thinking and feeling, between head and belly. It seems to span the gap between body and spirit, between heaven and earth. This gives breathwork a spiritual dimension, which is not only supportive for the client but for the therapist as well. Breathing connectedly brings us in contact with the sensation of an energy that is larger than we are; it brings us in contact with Essence.
Attitude & MentalityBasics
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The Need to be Supported
What do I recall looking back upon my own therapy and training? What is it that students or clients remember most when they look back?
It is not that one brilliant lecture or that very special and talented intervention. It is the personal attitude of the trainer or the therapist, the way he supported us and gave us true personal feedback. It is the genuine interest in - and acceptance of - who we really are. It is that special look of support in a difficult moment. It is a hand on the shoulder when we felt lost or hopeless. It is a remark on how well we did, how courageous we were in taking the next step in our development. It is the positive attitude we all have been longing for while growing up and in fact, are yearning for throughout our lives.
How often it has happened that a student, after he finished the training, told me that it had been a simple gesture, a smile in the first morning meeting or a sentence spoken during one of the meals that had been the turning point in his therapeutic process. It had not been that clever talk or that very special session in which I assisted him that made the difference. It had been a simple, personal interaction between two people, equally trying to find their way in the labyrinth of life.
What has been lacking for most people when they grew up is true supportive feedback from their caretakers, parents and teachers.
I had the luck to grow up in a family where I regularly witnessed the love between my parents, and experienced their love for us. Love and appreciation were openly expressed. But how many people grow up like that? How many people actually hear and experience, as children and later as adults, that they are lovable, attractive and a delight to be with?
Isn't that exactly what we are all yearning for; to be complimented when we accomplish something or when we do something especially kind towards another person? Don't we all crave to feel appreciated when we are honest, creative, inventive or courageous, or when we take the necessary steps towards our growth? Appreciation and compliments are like super gasoline for the car of development and inner growth.
We need, however, to be true and authentic when we compliment our clients. We cannot fake a compliment, just as we cannot fake the depth of the relationship between us. The more our clients trust us, the more their vulnerability will become visible. And it is this vulnerability that makes them extremely sensitive to us being honest and genuine. They will sense it very precisely if we are true to them or not.
Over the years, it has become very natural to me to share my general observations with my clients and especially my positive thoughts about them. It makes us both feel good and it makes it very clear how personal, special and satisfying the relationship is, that we share.
Attitude & MentalityBasics
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Trusting Divine Guidance
You Don't Have to Work Alone
It is a very soothing idea indeed, the thought that the Essence of the healing work is actually not done by the caretakers, but by the healing force that is inherent in a human being's core. We as therapists merely create the circumstances for healing to take place. It is our task to not 'be in the way' so that healing can happen. This means that we have to clear our mind and spirit so that the channel within is clean. Then, and only then, Spirit can do its work.
In the New Testament Jesus says, - For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. -  I have always understood this sentence as a promise of God supporting us when people come together for the purpose of healing.
About 29 years ago, in the time that I began working as a therapist, I was still lacking experience. In the middle of a session, I began to feel very helpless. All of a sudden, I remembered the above-mentioned promise. It was as if I spoke to God, wanting him to keep his word: "You made that vow, now please be here, I need you!"
Within seconds, my inner wisdom started to stream back into me. I knew how to proceed. Since that day, I have got used to the fact that I can always ask for help and I feel confident that there is divine guidance, an inner source of support and knowledge that I can tap into.
This brings me to the spiritual aspect of breathwork. One of the goals we are aiming at in this work, is assisting a person to clear himself in such a way that the spiritual world becomes more accessible to him, that he becomes capable of making his own inner connection with Essence, Source, or God, in a tangible way, so that this connection becomes a physical experience.
Breathwork supports this process in a very effective manner. Breathwork has the power to be the carrier of Spirit into the body. It has the power to open the entrance to a deep spiritual experience. People become capable of accessing a dimension of spirituality they haven't been in contact with before. At the end of a session, the breath often seems to be breathed by itself. It becomes completely free and liberated. The body remembers how to breathe naturally. All effort is gone. The boundaries of the body seem to expand and 'the Self' is experienced as bathed in light and vastness. There is a tangible connection between our physical and our spiritual self. There is light. It is an experience of spirituality on a physical level.
Many people perceive spirituality as something 'holy' associated with praying; it has to do with being 'whole' as well as 'holy'. Apart from expressing our spirituality through prayer and meditation, spirituality deserves to be grounded inside our physical bodies, indeed in every part of it, even in the lowest chakra, simply because we are human beings living inside a body. The lowest chakra is situated in the sacrum, the 'sacred' bone. That is where spirituality should settle. Spirituality needs a stable, grounded foundation, so that 'holiness' becomes 'wholeness'. Then we can manifest our spirituality in daily life. Then we can reveal our true human nature, walking upright as a symbol of being the connection between heaven and earth.
About 23 years ago, a psychologist called me to get one single session. I told him that I was not very interested in giving someone no more than just one session, as it would not allow him to really get acquainted with the beautiful method of connected breathing, nor allowing me to learn in the process.
He had taken a rebirthing workshop and was very enthusiastic about the effect of the breath. His experience had been so good that he had tried out the connected breathing on his own three times, each time breathing for about an hour and a half. He told me that his experience had brought him into a deep inner conflict. I asked him why. He explained that he had been an atheist his whole adult life, but after the breathing experience he could not keep up his belief any longer. He had experienced his Essence and a deep sense of love that had been amazing. He had felt a presence, so impressive and overwhelming that he had to call it God, although every cell in his brain resisted this conclusion. I became very curious and decided to make an appointment with him.
In all the sessions I did with him, miracles seemed to happen naturally. In one he began to see auras, something he remembered being able to do in his childhood. In another session, he decided he had to stop his heavy smoking, which he had done since puberty. In yet another session, he saw - with great sadness - how his atheistic attitude had stopped him from being open to some of his clients. He began to change his way of working and reported that he felt happier in his personal life as well as professionally.
The physical experience, that a connection between heaven and earth is truly present, also opens up the pathway to experiencing that intuition is a genuine possibility in each of us.
Attitude & MentalityBasics
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Intuition is a very special and often a very vague topic. The dictionary defines it as 'the quick perception of truth without conscious attention or reasoning'.
Judee Gee has written a marvellous book about intuition, a book that is not vague at all, but very real and practical. She states, - Intuition is a function that springs from a deeper source than the linear, rational mind. With our intuition, we can perceive the truth; we can perceive the real nature, the true state, of a person, a situation, or ourselves. This perception, this understanding, is something that comes from within us; it is something akin to instinct and feeling. - 
Creating a safe environment and using our knowledge, our experience and this very special instinctual, intuitive feeling is one of the most important things we can offer our clients. If we trust our intuition, we should use it. If we are in doubt, we should refrain from action.
'Quick perception of truth without conscious attention or reasoning' means to me that intuition is 90% good calibration and attentive perception. Being brought up in a society that is more driven by instinct than intuition, it does not seem strange that most of us have forgotten how to rely on and use our precise and intuitive perception. For example, as children many of us have been scolded for perceiving the truth about conflicts between our parents, or the fact that Daddy smiled at someone, although we had just heard him make a nasty remark about that very same person. This taught us not to trust our perception and intuition and we grew up believing that we did not have a so-called sixth sense, something that we are all born with.
Intuition will come to us as if it is poured into an inner channel, a channel that is clean enough to connect us to our original true perception as well as to our Essence. It is our responsibility to open and clear that channel in order to feel safe and at ease with our intuition. At the same time, we have to be lucid about it because we are often not as pure and clear inside as we think we are, as we would like to be, and as we have to be if we want to use our intuition wisely.
Intuition can and will happen safely and healthily when it is supported by a great deal of knowledge and experience with the work as well as by our life experience. To have both types of experience available is vital for a therapist.
It is imperative that we understand the limits to intuition’s reliability. We must truly comprehend that intuition is always transmitted and expressed through our own personality and is therefore always coloured by it.
A female therapist might get an intuitive hunch that her client needs to be touched. If she is not clear about her needy Inner Child who craves attention and touching, this so-called intuition might be quite rewarding for the therapist herself, but not necessarily for her client.
If intuition is expressed through our ego, without us realising that we are identified with a certain part of that ego, we may be in serious trouble. For example, the part in us that is identified with power can easily be misused and become very dangerous. Remember the communal suicide in a sect in the USA. The leader, Jones, claimed that he was 'called' and that through his 'inner guidance' he knew that everyone should kill themselves. Jones most probably channelled his intuition through powerful father energy, which, coming from a charismatic leader, often feels very caring and loving and at the same time, irresistible.
From this extreme example, it may be clear that therapists have to be very precise when using their intuition. However, if intuition is channelled through a part in us that is cleared from old personal clutter, it can be used in a pure way.
To use our intuition well, we have to work on ourselves first. We have to clear and 'purify' our personality and the different parts - sub-personalities - in it, so that our 'working channel' is as open and clean as possible. Then, our intuition can come through effortlessly and in a reliable way, serving us when we need it.
Attitude & MentalityBasics
- 5 -
Have an Attitude of Lightness
You Don't Have to Save Your Client
Many people in the caring professions have been drawn to do the work out of a deep longing to try to 'save' others. This may cause a lot of expectations towards clients. If we expect a client to change and get 'better', we can hardly be accepting and appreciative of whom he is now. In his book about family constellations, Indra Torsten Preiss  says very clearly: - The wish, the need, or the compulsion to help others is an 'outward projected' inner need of the therapist to work on his own development. Therefore, you need to transform and let go of the inner attitude of wanting to 'help' in order to be able to work professionally, because behind this attitude often lies an imbalance between giving and receiving, which stems from the relationship between parents and children. -
During my Avatar Master Training, Avra Palmer said something similar: - being too serious in a therapeutic approach would slow down the process, because seriousness is a resistance to experience. - This made a lot of sense to me.
I used to have a habit of bending very slightly forward in my chair in moments that I had an almost compulsive need to 'help' my clients. This caused quite some tension in my upper back. As I became more conscious of my own seriousness and my attitude of needing to help, I was able to let go of the tension in between my shoulder blades that I often suffered from. It was a relief to let go of my seriousness as well as of the physical tension.
If our own inner attitude is too serious, we might be hooked onto the thought: "It is difficult" whatever 'It' may mean at that moment. 'It' may be our client, his problems, some preoccupation of our own that we happen to feel at the moment, or just life itself, etc. In such moments, our client will unconsciously sense that something is going on inside us, which might reinforce his old beliefs that life is difficult and that he will never be able to change his limiting thoughts and behaviours.
Life in itself is neither easy nor difficult. It is what it is. How we think about it is directly connected to the quality of our thoughts. Life is there to be experienced and lived, both the good and the hard parts. In that respect, a therapeutic situation doesn't differ from daily life.
So, when you notice that your client seems to be resisting his experience, it is often a sign that you have to change your own attitude, your inner mentality, your therapeutic approach as well as your physical posture.
Your approach has to be open, allowing for whatever needs to happen to run its natural course. Although you will have a certain goal in mind, you should not try to force the session into a certain direction. Don't force, don't push, just coax.
An attitude of effortlessness, appreciation and awe for your client as the 'creator' of his life and his emotions, an inner smile on your face and encouragement radiating out from you, will work perfectly well. Be confident and trust the process. Lean back and wait for the session to unfold. Then the reality of this very moment can and will reveal itself in the here and now.
The here and now is the only moment where transformation or healing can happen. Transformation won't happen if we resist the experience that needs to be transformed, and transformation won't happen yesterday or tomorrow. The only moment is now.
When we are very serious about some emotion, we will be immersed in it and identified with it and most probably, we won't be willing to let it go. The moment we shift out of the identification, the seriousness will lessen and we are able to step aside, take a look, and move out of the emotion. This will reassure us that we are not the victim of our thoughts and feelings any longer. In truth, we are the only source of our thoughts and feelings.
Consciousness expands when we are willing to experience what is. Consciousness decreases when we resist the experience of what is.
In order to allow an open, accepting and appreciative approach, you have to know yourself intimately. If you don't accept your own vulnerability, you won't allow the vulnerable side of your client to emerge. If you are not conscious of your own inner devil, your client will never dare to show his devilish side to you. This works exactly the same with your destructiveness, your anger, your sexuality, your sadness, your joy, and your pleasure, etc.
When you intimately know, love and accept yourself, then you can make that supportive or appreciative little comment or that accepting smile that will appease an intense situation for your client.
In the seventies, Jeanie Carr accompanied me during one of my very first sessions. I was in a state of terrible fear and terror. She asked me to open my eyes and look at her. She just gave me little friendly instructions to keep my breathing connected and made soft comments to me like: "Now you are getting there. Well done, that's better." However, the most encouraging thing in the situation was that she kept smiling at me in a friendly and loving way. I could feel love radiating from her. She did not seem to judge me or expect something special from me. I felt accepted and acknowledged for what I was going through. Her attitude supported me to shift from a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness to an understanding and a deep knowing that even profound and intense emotions may be overcome.
Only if you have let go of your own judgements about exuberant joy and happiness, only if you have let go of your own judgements about the darker side of the human nature, only then will you be able to really and truthfully support your clients, enabling them to access their own deeper self.
This does not mean, however, that you will never get upset or feel sadness when you listen to a horrible story of a client's abuse or the tale of an unhappy relationship. Your own Inner Child may very well feel confused or sad listening to such incomprehensible and disturbing stories. But, as long as your emotions are carried in awareness and you intimately know the child within you, there is no danger; you will already have developed other parts in you, like an Inner parent, that will take care of your Inner Child.
You may have clients that have been abusive towards their wife or children. You may feel sorrow about that or judgemental but, if you are consciously and truly acquainted with yourself, you will know that there is a part in you as well that might be capable of manifesting the same behaviour as that which you now see in your client. You have to be able to feel acceptance for those parts, which will normally be considered as bad; you should be able to accept them in yourself as well as in your clients.
Frank, a man in his fifties, had difficulties in the relationship with his sons. After some sessions, he trusted me enough to share how he had often abused his sons, hitting them with his belt or a stick. Because he was very judgemental about himself, he was totally surprised when he noticed that I had not judged him.
As I told him that I actually empathised with him, and respected the fact that he was willing to look into his shadow side and wanted to clear the relationship with his sons, he felt grateful.
What doesn't work in therapy, is having an attitude of being overly sympathetic, pitying the client, explaining or trying to solve his problem, judging him or judging the perpetrator if the client has suffered abuse in some form. These attitudes may be signs of your own insecurity.
Excessively pitying an abused client, or
Verlag: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Texte: Design Pavoni Verlag
Bildmaterialien: Design Pavoni Verlag
Lektorat/Korrektorat: Clare Gabriel
Übersetzung: Judee Gee
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 12.06.2014
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To my parents, who taught me - by their living example – how to love and live. To my children Barbara and Rijn, for the intense privilege of being their mother, and for trusting me so deeply. To all my students and clients, for their trust and courage to seek the path to more consciousness and for allowing me to develop my skills.