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The Future of Psychiatric and Psychological Training: Approaches to Treatment of Mental and Emotional Distress in the New Era by Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S., Mh.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D., Mh.D.
Many psychotherapists have watched patients struggling with their symptoms for months to years and felt the frustration of being unable to change the outcomes through traditional psychotherapy. Historically, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and counselors have been taught to evaluate patients in the following manner. First, the patient is interviewed to obtain a thorough history of presenting symptoms of distress (anxiety, depression, psychosis, trauma, etc), medical history, past psychiatric history, family history, and early childhood/social history to include evaluation for abuse, family of origin dynamics, substance abuse, education, work history, and current relationship dynamics. It is of note that very few psychotherapists take a spiritual history. Then a mental status exam is performed to evaluate for attention, concentration, speech, psychomotor activity, memory, mood, affect, thought processes, logic, insight, judgment, thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, and auditory or visual hallucinations. Then the mental health professional decides upon a treatment plan that would most often be a form of either cognitive-behavioral therapy (an intellectualized approach of dissecting the thoughts behind behavior patterns, challenging the distressing thoughts, and creating new non-distressing thoughts to substitute for the old ones to create new behavior patterns) or insight-oriented psychotherapy (an intellectual delving into the emotional story behind the presenting issue) and possibly medication (if warranted) to remove the acute distress. In this traditional evaluation and approach there is much emphasis on the patient being a victim of both circumstances (childhood and current) and genetics; and treatment is focused on treating presenting symptoms without addressing the core issue(s) underlying the stress, depression or anxiety.
With the advent of some of the ‘newer’ psychotherapeutic approaches utilized in the fields of mind-body medicine, energy psychology and energy medicine such as mindfulness, guided imagery, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and EFT (emotional freedom technique), psychotherapists have begun to approach an awareness that a non-ordinary or supra-mental state of consciousness underlies much ‘illness’ and holds the key to experiencing a sense of wellness. Such is the holistic approach of the transpersonal psychologist and the metaphysician who draws upon the sciences of cognition, consciousness, philosophy (Egyptian/Hermetic, Indian and Chinese), energy medicine, social and cultural theory, and the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions.
When utilizing the Hermetic approaches of the transpersonal psychologist, the patient is no longer viewed by the therapist as a victim but rather as a powerful co-creator in their own life and circumstance. Even more critically, the patient becomes aware of how powerfully they create in their own lives. What each of us do to self-sabotage or get in our own way (with anger, resentment, guilt, shame, self-definition, lack of self-love, heartbreak, sense of inadequacy/powerlessness, feeling unlovable, sense of abandonment, fear of the unknown, and lack of self-discipline) has a bigger impact on our inner peace and experience of joy than any obstacle anyone else might attempt to put in our path.
In order to help non-metaphysically trained people understand how we create in BOTH positive and negative ways in our life, body and relationships, we teach in our books, classes and seminars the Bow and Arrow Theory of creation. The Bow and Arrow Theory as to how we manifest is as follows: The bow represents our emotional intention (i.e., anger, resentment, fear, love, compassion). The strength of the emotional intention determines how powerfully we draw back our bow to send our thoughts out into the world to manifest. For instance, if there is not much power behind the emotion, then the arrow will scarcely fly. If, on the other hand, there is great power behind the emotion (such as rage), then the arrow will fly quickly and can create rapidly and profoundly in our lives. The arrow represents our thought, which directs the intention. The thought will direct how the intention (or great emotion) will actually manifest in our life. It is important to note that we cannot create for anyone else. We can only draw back our own bow to create in our own life. If we draw our bow back with the intention of harming others, we will only draw similar negative energy into our own lives. If you have conflicting intentions (such as “I want to lose 10 pounds” but then see a plate of chocolate brownies and think “I REALLY want one of those brownies”), the most powerful intention will win out to create in your life.
The holistic, transpersonal psychotherapist sees the whole patient: mind, body and spirit. Thus far we have addressed only the mind and body aspect and tend to leave the spirit piece to the pastoral counselors. An understanding of esoteric or energetic anatomy assists in understanding how flawed any approach is that leaves out any one of the triad of mind (thought/emotion), body (physical) and spirit. We are multidimensional, transcendent spiritual beings expressing through physical matter; however, the layering of expression energetically is as follows: (A) the higher vibration of the spiritual energy of our soul must express through (B) the filter of the lower vibration of thought and emotion that we hold around us (created by ego and our perceptions of our experiences) to then energize or give life to (C) our physical body to create a sense of either wellness or disease. Therefore, an approach that acknowledges and encourages a connectedness to something bigger than us is helpful whether that be God, Source, Spirit, Universe or Nature.
Science is coming to understand what mystics have known throughout history. Future psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists must be trained and initiated into such an understanding to address a psychotherapeutic model that goes beyond the range of human experience and behavior and that encompasses our connection with our divine nature and the transcendent aspects of our being. We need to train therapists to assist the patient to ‘get out of their head’ and ‘into their heart’ to access their own intuition and transform the faulty thought patterns that can cause emotional trauma, depression and illness. The ancient mystery schools trained their initiates to understand this and to implement such healing for others. It is time to teach these philosophies, tools and techniques once again to our psychotherapists who can in turn teach it to their patients that are willing to take such an approach and accept some personal responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Here’s to the Future, and all that it brings… 🙂
Tracy & Marion (The Shift Doctors)
Copyright © Tracy Latz, MD, Marion Ross, PhD & Shift Your Life; 2010 All Rights Reserved
Tracy Latz, M.D. (practicing board-certified Integrative Psychiatrist) & Marion Ross, Ph.D. (Transpersonal Psychologist) are known as “The Shift Doctors” and are metaphysicians, keynote speakers, holistic healers, co-authors of 2 meditation CDs and the books “Shift: 12 Keys to Shift Your Life” & “Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation”; and they can be found at www.shiftyourlife.com
*Check out The Shift Doctors’ books at the Amazon link by clicking here and the Meditation CDs at the digstation link by clicking here **The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about them at www.shiftyourlife.com .