#1 – A Paradigm Shift
Soul-Centered Healing (SCH) is a cross between hypnotherapy and shamanism. It’s an approach that recognizes other dimensions of a person besides the physical, emotional, and psychological. Using hypnosis, SCH can help a person identify and resolve sources of pain, conflict, or confusion that operate at these levels outside ordinary consciousness.
These are the levels that “talk therapy” often cannot get to because of the inner blocking and defenses. These blocks keep the conscious mind away and, in the process, protect the self from pain, fear, and hurt. These defenses operate so automatically, so seamlessly, we usually don’t catch it unless we’re looking for it.
Soul-Centered Healing recognizes these defenses. It recognizes that there are energetic, psychic, and spirit dimensions of the self. SCH also recognizes that there are phenomena, conditions, entities, and energies operating at these levels that can cause someone emotional and psychological distress. Soul-Centered Healing uses specific methods and protocols, then, to help a person access and work at these levels for healing.
Generally speaking, there are four primary categories of phenomena that Soul-Centered Healing usually deals with at these unconscious levels. They are 1) ego-states, also called sub-personalities, 2) intrusion or interference by spirits or other dimensional beings, 3) disruption within one or more of the chakras and energy bodies, and 4) past life conflicts or trauma negatively affecting one’s present life. For any specific individual, one or more of these levels may be involved in his or her difficulties.
Before I talk about these phenomena and healing methods, however, there is an important issue that needs to be addressed first. That is the issue of paradigms: one’s point of view. A paradigm is a culture’s worldview—a set of fundamental assumptions and common beliefs about reality that are shared in general by the members of a society.
In our present-day Western culture, we live in a paradigm dominated by empirical science. It has been labeled scientific materialism. It’s a paradigm that assumes that matter is the ground of all reality. If something cannot be reduced to its tiniest physical components, then it’s not real.
At the same time, many of the phenomena and realities dealt with in Soul-Centered Healing contradict what our Western paradigm says is real and what isn’t. Take for example the existence of spirits. SCH recognizes that beings exist who are conscious and aware, but who do not possess a physical body. It recognizes, too, that there are realms of spirits, and that there are certain conditions where spirits and humans can interact.
From within an empirical paradigm, however, the very thought that spirits exist is non-sensical. You cannot have something made of nothing. So, the logical position is, “let’s not waste time and money researching nonsense.”
Strict empirical science can be expected to adopt the same attitude toward Soul-Centered Healing as it has toward so many approaches to healing. It is an attitude that assumes these subtle realms are all nonsense. The same applies to so many of the phenomena that Soul-Centered Healing recognizes as energetic, psychic, and spiritual realities. They are phenomena and realities that cannot be fully understood or explained within a strictly empirical framework of thinking.
This contradiction between paradigms needs to be acknowledged up-front. The limitations of empirical science force us intellectually and logically into an all-or-none position regarding psychic and spirit realities. For empirical science, there is no in-between. Either spirits (and other paranormal phenomena) exist and empirical science is wrong in its basic assumptions, or empirical science is correct, and any claims about spirits, past lives, or psychic phenomena, etc. must necessarily be delusions, fantasy, or deception.
Soul-Centered Healing presumes a yes on this all-or-none question. There are other levels of consciousness and reality beyond the physical, and beyond ego-awareness. For those who already accept this, Soul-Centered Healing is an exploration into inner worlds of the self and soul and into some of these different realms of consciousness and spirit.
For those who do not believe, or are not sure, I’m asking that you temporarily set aside the empirical assumptions about what is real. Understanding Soul-Centered Healing, with all its implications, requires a shift in paradigms. If it’s going to make sense at all, the reader will need to treat these dimensions and phenomena “as if” they are real. Only in this suspension of disbelief can these realities be understood and evaluated on their own terms.
#2 – Ego-States: The Inner Selves
In Part 1, A Paradigm Shift, I talked about the energetic, psychic, and spirit dimensions of the self. They are levels not recognized yet by modern medicine and most of psychology. In Soul-Centered Healing, these are the levels where much of the healing work is focused.
I also listed four main categories of phenomena that are most frequently involved in a person’s healing process. They are not physical phenomena, but their effects can manifest at emotional, psychological, and physical levels.
The first category of phenomena is ego-states.
An ego-state, or sub-personality, is a part of the self created by the mind to take over when the self can no longer consciously tolerate what is happening in his or her experience. This split in consciousness is what psychologists call dissociation. The conscious self dissociates from experience. In the extreme, it’s as though for the person, it just didn’t happen. Dissociation is considered one of the major psychological defenses.
“Nature abhors a vacuum.” When the conscious self splits away, it’s as though the mind creates a clone of the self, a temporary stand-in, whose function is to be the self in those moments and do whatever is necessary to survive and/or protect the self from pain.
The problem is that once an ego-state is created, it does not just dissolve or disappear when the trauma or crisis is past. Once the self resumes consciousness, the ego-state moves to an unconscious level where, depending on several factors, they can still affect the conscious personality, even years later.
There are a number of schools of psychology that recognize and deal with ego-states as a valid phenomenon. They go by different names—ego-states, sub-personalities, or alter-personalities—and there are many different therapeutic approaches to working with these parts of the self.
There is not always agreement, however, on how to understand or view these parts of the self. That too can be strongly influenced by one’s paradigm of reality.
Soul-Centered Healing recognizes that ego-states are real and, under certain conditions, can significantly affect the conscious personality. This is one of those places, though, where the shift in paradigms happens. SCH goes a step further than traditional psychology is willing to go. It views ego-states not just as psychological states, but as conscious beings. It is a limited consciousness to be sure, usually limited to the world of experience in which the ego-state was created.
Ego-states exist in a psychic realm. (It’s the best term I have for it right now.) It’s a place outside time and space. It’s a reality sustained by the ego-state’s own energy and consciousness. We would see it as a slice in time. Yet to the ego-state, it is its whole world. They live in their own eternal present.
It’s a realm governed by the laws of consciousness, not matter. In these realms, a ten year-old can fly, and a child can hide in a thimble. It’s a realm more akin to the dreamworld, where consciousness lives unfettered from the flesh. In fact, our ego-states often present in our dreams and give us glimpses into this psychic world. Like Peter Pan and his band of boys, most ego-states do not grow up unless, or until, they are awakened to a different consciousness. Most of these inner beings are not even aware of the conscious personality or current reality.
Ego-states are created especially in childhood and adolescence when the ego-self is most vulnerable and a child’s ego-identity and defenses are still developing. Ego-states are also created in adulthood, but not as frequently, unless a person is subjected to ongoing trauma such as war or domestic abuse. An adult’s ego-defenses and coping mechanisms are usually more developed than a child’s and enable a person to deal with the outside world without being overwhelmed.
Not surprisingly, ego-states often appear as a “copy” of the conscious personality at the moment of its creation. It may be wearing the same clothes, be the same age, or be an exact duplicate, for example. However, ego-states can take any form the mind calls for in its attempt to meet the needs of the situation. An ego-state can be as tiny as Tom Thumb (all the better to hide) or they can be built like the Hulk (waiting to explode).
Most ego-states perceive themselves as having a body. Given the opportunity, it can communicate to you about itself: whether it is in human form or not, what it is wearing, how old it is, whether it is male or female, and where it is. Often, they have names. They feel; and they react to pain and pleasure.
Every ego-state, though, is a unique creation of the person it is part of. We might find similar ego-states among different people because they serve the same function or were created in similar situations, but every ego-state is a unique being. They can range anywhere from dormant to very active in one’s life. They can be strongly involved in particular areas of a person’s functioning, or they might be triggered periodically by events in the person’s conscious reality.
If you’ve ever been surprised by an intense emotional reaction to someone or some situation, or if you’ve ever said later, “I don’t know what came over me,” chances are you’ve experienced the triggering of an ego-state. The conscious person is usually aware when an ego-state has been triggered, though they wouldn’t necessarily think about it in those terms. A panic attack, a fit of rage, or a sudden feeling of rejection could all be examples. A person knows when these feelings and thoughts have been triggered, but usually does not understand why, or why they are so intense. A person may give little thought to the episode afterward, unless it gets them into trouble in some way, or they begin to recognize it as a pattern and an interference in their life.
The Price of Protection
Ego-states are created for protection, but it comes with a price. Most ego-states live in a state of pain or distress. They are not created in the fun, happy times. They are created in times of trauma and pain, hurt and confusion, and this is the reality they take with them into the unconscious. This in itself can be a problem for a person. Deep pain or hurt, even though encapsulated at an unconscious level, can still affect the self. Like nuclear waste, the toxic energy continues to emit its deadly emanations.
Problems arise also when events in one’s conscious reality trigger an ego-state. Usually, it’s because what’s happening in current reality matches the ego-state’s own situation, feelings, or perceptions. An experience of rejection in the present, for example, can trigger a four year-old ego-state who was created in an experience of rejection by a parent. The ego-state responds to the threat, not from the conscious self’s point of view in the present, but from within its own experience and perception. It will respond in the same way it did in the original trauma.
This is where ego-states can become a problem for the conscious self. Their reaction and defense is based on old information, but they don’t know that. And unless the conscious self is aware that an ego-state has been triggered, he or she may be caught up in the reaction or left confused by the aftermath of feelings and thoughts.
The Healing Process
In Soul-Centered Healing, ego-states are frequently a central focus in the healing process because they are so often a source of a person’s pain, fear, or confusion. Within the context of healing, the question is whether an ego-state(s) is significantly involved in the client’s presenting problem or complaint? If so, then the aim of healing is to identify it and help it move through a process of sharing and release. This is basic Freudian psychology: bringing the repressed experience to consciousness leads to abreaction and release. In the process, the ego-state is released from its too narrow reality into an expanded consciousness that can integrate with the self in the present.
#3 – Psychic Intrusion by Spirits or other Dimensional Beings
In Soul-Centered Healing, the second category of phenomena frequently involved in healing is the intrusion or interference by spirits or other dimensional beings whose presence or activities are causing problems for my client.
I cannot tell you all the kinds of beings that exist at different levels of consciousness and reality. I do know in working with some clients that there are outside entities involved (or were) and who are negatively impacting my client in significant ways. In the healing process, these beings are able to communicate directly, through the client, using an hypnotic technique called ideomotor signaling. Some are souls, some are not. They are involved with humans, it seems, for different reasons. In my experience, some are after energy, and others seek knowledge. Some try to lay claim to my client’s soul dating back lifetimes. Some are just earthbounds that attached to a client after their own body died. There are abductions, and it’s not always clear whether it was a physical or psychic abduction. Finally, for this list, there are also evil spirits who very intently seek power and control over other souls.
From a clinical point of view, these beings or entities generally fall into one of three categories: 1) those who are present and engaged with a client in order to assist them; 2) those spirits or entities who are present with a client out of confusion, affection, or ignorance, and 3) those spirits or entities that are present for the purpose of exploiting the client in some way that is detrimental to his or her well-being. The first we don’t have to worry about. They are the spirit guides, teachers, and loved ones. They do not intrude and will not violate a soul’s free choice. The second type of spirit can usually be dealt with easily. Once they understand their situation and are directed to see the Light, they will usually leave without a problem. It’s the third category, those that have been exploiting the client, that do the greatest harm and present the greater challenge in removing. They are also the ones who usually wish to remain hidden and keep their activities a secret.
Fortunately, we do not have to know all about each of these spirits and entities in order to remove them or sever their connections with a client. The primary aim in SCH is not to try to understand them and classify them. This is important, but it’s secondary. When spirits or entities are interfering with a client, the primary aim is to identify their point of access and close it off. This access point is a type of “permission” and most often occurs at unconscious levels and unwittingly. These entities cannot just waltz into a person’s life and psyche. There are rules. They must have an “okay,” a “yes”, at some level of the person in order to carry out their activities. The rule is that if the permission is withdrawn, the outside spirit or entity must disengage. And they do. The aim in SCH is to find that yes access and switch it to a no. To use a metaphor from my book, we’re not trying to get all the keys back, we’re just changing the locks.
The effect on a person by the intrusion of these outside entities can range from negligible to profound. One may have no conscious awareness of them, others can be hounded by them. It depends on the kind of spirits or entities involved, what their intentions are, what they’re after, and how extensive their access is to the soul/person. This really can only be determined on a case by case basis.
#4 – Energy Blockage and Healing
The third phenomenon most often encountered in Soul-Centered Healing is the most difficult to talk about. I’ll call it energetics. It’s so difficult to talk about because at one level, it takes in everything. The famous formula: E=mc2. Everything is energy. We are, in essence, energy bodies. We know if we looked deeply enough into the heart muscle, we would find cells, and then atoms, and then sub-atomic particles. This is where modern science is today.
If we kept going, we would find even more subtle levels of energy that make up who we are. Eastern traditions and indigenous cultures have recognized for thousands of years that there are other levels and states of energy extending beyond the physical body, to the subtle, to psychic and spirit. They recognize that each level has its own center, called a chakra. These levels co-exist and are integrally bound together in what we call the self. The illustration on the right offers a good schematic image of this expanded view of the person as an energy being.
It’s far beyond the scope of this essay to go into this whole body of knowledge, except to say that it is not new. This knowledge is centuries older than our modern empirical science, and specifically modern medicine. Here in the west, we are just beginning to open the door to this knowledge, or we are at least peeking through the keyhole. Acupuncture, for example, is one of those healing modalities that works with subtle energy, and it is just now being recognized by some health insurance companies as a legitimate healing method. It’s a start, but barely. For those interested in reading more, Vibrational Medicineby Richard Gerber and the The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM) are excellent places to start.
Soul-Centered Healing recognizes these different levels of energy. It wouldn’t be unusual, for example, to find that the flow of energy in a particular chakra has become blocked for a person as the result of some trauma and needs to be opened back up. It wouldn’t be unusual to find a discrete pain energy being held in a certain area of the body.
SCH also recognizes that energy takes different forms and operates differently from one level to the next. At the psychic and spirit levels, the picture becomes even more complicated because ego-states, spirits, and other conscious entities can create energy blocks, devices, thought-forms, and programmed energies that interfere with a person at unconscious levels.
In the healing process, when an energy, in whatever form, is identified as a problem, the basic aim is to infuse it with the soul’s Light and reintegrate it, bringing it back into harmony within the self. The other possibility is that it may need to be dissipated and expelled if it has become too toxic or calcified, or had intruded from the outside to begin with.
#5 – Past Life Personalities and Present Life Repercussions
The fourth category of phenomena that most frequently presents in a person’s healing process are the memories and experiences that appear to come from a past or different lifetime. For some people, these memory/experiences, held within the soul, can break through into one’s present life and exert a powerful influence and effect on a person. It might involve one specific experience from one particular lifetime, or it might involve a string of lifetimes in which a profound issue is being worked through. It’s also not unusual to find unresolved past life issues causing problems in present-day relationships.
In my work with Gerod, I came to recognize that these past-life memories were being shared to the conscious mind by ego-states, only they were not ones created in the client’s present life, but in a different lifetime of the soul. It wasn’t that the whole past-life personality was coming forward in these sessions with clients, but rather parts of that self created in a prior lifetime and left unresolved. Like with present life ego-states, these also are conscious beings, each still living in the world in which it was created. Most of them are not aware of the present reality or the conscious personality, my client. Like with present-life ego-states, though, they can be triggered by events in a person’s present life that hit on, resemble, or resonate with their own experience.
This is where everyone’s inner world and soul story are absolutely unique. Again, like with spirits, the aim of Soul-Centered Healing is not to learn a client’s soul history. None of us can know that about another. The aim in healing is to identify when a part from a previous lifetime is causing the person conflict, confusion, or distress in the present. When a person seeks healing, and it turns out that a past life (or lives) is involved in the problem, there’s no predicting where it will lead and what stories you’ll hear. Quite frequently, you will also see past-lfe and present-life ego-states form groups together because they share a particular issue, conflict, or experience that bridges lifetimes.
From a clinical point of view, these parts from other lifetimes are worked with in the same way as the present-life ego-states. The aim is to have that inner being share what it needs to about its experience and so be able to release its pain, fear, or distress. This resolution, then, also releases the client from the effects of the conflict, confusion, or pain.
In Soul-Centered Healing, hypnosis is the primary method for working with the different phenomena I’ve been discussing. Through hypnosis, the conscious self steps aside and allows the healer to access these unconscious realms directly. This includes the psychic realms where the ego-states exist, and where a great deal of psychic activity goes on between and among people. It includes contact with spirits, some of whom are offering assistance, while others seek to exploit a person at these levels. These realms also include the soul realms where the soul’s history is alive and evolving.
The primary tool in SCH for working with these phenomena is a hypnotic technique called ideomotor response (IMR). It’s a technique for establishing communication with the unconscious mind through the use of nonverbal signals (usually finger or head movements) instead of relying on the client to report verbally. Verbal behavior is so much a part of our conscious life that the demand to verbalize often acts against the client’s ability to step aside and allow deeper levels of trance. Ideomotor signaling is an effective means for bypassing this conscious involvement and the kinds of defenses and confusion it can trigger.
Using IMR, the therapist can communicate directly to different parts of the self, especially the person’s higher self and the ego-states (past and present). Ideomotor signaling also allows direct communication with spirits or other intelligent entities that are interfering or causing problems for a client. (You can read a very good description of ideomotor signaling here and here.
This direct communication plays a central role in the healing process. The real trick though is in knowing who to talk to and what questions to ask or directions to give. With communication based on “yes,” “no,” and “I’m not sure” responses, asking the wrong questions or not knowing who you’re talking to, can quickly lead to confusion and blocking. We have to ask different questions to an ego-state, for example, than we ask of a spirit. Energy blockage at an etheric level has to be dealt with differently than at the physical level.
In Soul-Centered Healing, there are certain protocols for identifying and dealing with the different phenomena encountered in the healing process. Almost all of the protocols involve direct communication with these unconscious levels and so are designed to be used with ideomotor signaling. There are clients who are good or excellent trance subjects where the conscious mind can step away and allow verbal communication with the ego-states, spirits, or other entities. The same protocols apply, but verbal communication, like switching from the telegraph to the telephone, does make the communication easier and richer. For most people, though, I’ve found ideomotor signaling to be the most effective way of communicating and working with the unconscious.
Before addressing any of these phenomena, however, one of the first steps in the healing process is to establish communication with a person’s higher self. This part of the self, which I’ll talk about in the next essay, is able to communicate directly and it will play a major role in each person’s healing.
#7 – Higher Self – Conduit between Self and Soul
The higher self is not a new concept or idea. Many cultures, spiritual traditions, and religions recognize a higher consciousness within the self. It goes by many names—the Inner Self, the True Self, Atman, the Christ Self—and its description can vary from one culture or religion to another, but there seems to be essential agreement that this part of the self is a connection to the Divine.
There are many schools and practices whose aim is to help a person access this level of themselves. Unless it is being blocked, connecting with one’s higher self is not hard to do. It is always saying yes to the self’s deeper connection to Source. Most people already have this open connection to the higher self, some more strongly than others. It is the part of ourselves that knows it is the Light, sees the Light in others, and knows the truth. It’s a deeper knowing that does not lend itself to words.
In Soul-Centered Healing, once the unconscious signals have been established, the next step is to communicate directly to this part of the self. SCH views the higher self as a soul consciousness, separate from the conscious self, that possesses intelligence and is able to communicate. This is not an idea that easily fits with our Western culture. A person’s higher self, besides being a conduit to the soul’s light, also is able to play a very active role in his or her healing process. With its knowledge of the inner world and other realms, and its ability to communicate, the higher self will play a central role in the healing process.
Once again, though, you have to know what to ask. There are a great many things the higher self can do to assist in the healing process, but there are also things it can’t do, or won’t. It will not turn against the soul. That would be turning against itself. Unlike the conscious personality, when the soul incarnates, the higher self doesn’t forget. It knows it is part of the soul’s light.
In one of our early dialogues about the higher self, Gerod said the “the higher self is not a chooser.” If we ask the higher self to choose for us—should I take this job? Should I break off this relationship?—it won’t do it. That’s not its function. He said the conscious self is the chooser. If the higher self tells you what to choose, then you know you’re not talking to the higher self or you have asked the wrong question. The higher self will not violate the soul’s free choice. It also will not violate another soul’s free choice. We can ask it to intrude or force something on another person at a psychic level, for example, but it won’t do that.
What the higher self can do is bring Light/Love energy to those parts of the self, and into those areas of the self/soul, that have become cut off from the Light. This can include the conscious self as well. Sometimes, even the conscious person has become cut off from his or her own inner light.
Once valid communication is established with the higher self, it is asked to review the presenting complaints or symptoms. Unless it is being blocked, the higher self can usually identify whether there is an ego-state(s) involved, or an outside intrusion, an energy blockage, or whether what is happening is at a strictly physical level. The higher self is able to work in direct communication with the therapist to address these different phenomena and situations. The higher self, for example, can communicate directly with ego-states and bring them Light; it can enforce a soul boundary against intruding spirits when the self is in agreement; or it can retrieve information from the soul that may be relevant to a person’s present problems.
In Soul-Centered Healing, there is no predicting what is going to present for a person in his or her healing process. What the higher self identifies as the source of a problem, or what presents on its own during the session, is going to be unique for each person. This is always the unpredictable part. No two souls have the same story. In each person’s healing, though, the higher self will be an inner guide and active agent to help in each step of the way.
Most people know about the healing power of a mother’s touch. “Come here, mommy will kiss it and make it all better”—and she does! What makes the child better, of course, is being loved, feeling cared for and safe. We have no empirical measure for this love. We can’t see it. We see its effects, but we can’t reduce it to photons and neutrinos.
This is the same difficulty in talking about the Divine Light. It is mother’s love taken to an infinite degree. Call it God, Creator, All That Is, or the Unnameable. Soul-Centered Healing holds that this Light created all souls from its own Essence, Light creating Light, each soul possessing the Light’s full potential. Reincarnation appears to be a primary means for a soul, through a journey of lifetimes, to awaken to its full potential.
In Soul-Centered Healing, this Light is the source of healing. When an ego-state, living in pain, is touched by the inner Light, it reacts like to a mother’s love. Dissociation turns to relief and reunion. When you get through the smoke and mirrors and confront intruding spirits directly with the Light, they will leave. When you ask for assistance from spirit guides who exist in the spirit realm of Light, they will respond, though it may be outside conscious awareness.
In the healing process, it is the higher self that brings Light to the ego-states, confronts intruding spirits, interacts with high level guides, and can help bring body, mind, and soul into accord with the Greater Light. In one of our early dialogues, Gerod said the soul was the repository of its experience, and the higher self “the active part of the soul.” In the healing process, I think of the higher self as a the workhorse of the soul. Light is the healing energy, higher self is the lens that can focus it where needed.
This concludes the introduction to Soul-Centered Healing. If you would like to know more about this approach to healing and what it reveals about the inner world, then I recommend that you read the book. It will give you a deeper and richer understanding of who we are, not only as physical, emotional, and mental beings, but as psychic and spirit beings as well. You can find more information about the book here.
Photo: Courtesy of GP Berlin at