People come for therapy or personal development out of either desperation or inspiration. Therapy is usually triggered by desperation. A personal development programme is more usually started by inspiration. In the UK, having therapy is still rather un-British, although a trend that is growing rapidly. Mainstream thought still seems to think it's weak to need help, or admit something is going wrong with your life. In my opinion, it takes courage to search for the right help and take that first step of turning up for an initial appointment. Many people now realise the NHS doesn't have all the solutions when it comes to finding root causes of illness and developing a healthy way of life.
While the NHS continues to spiral into bankruptcy, under a system of free treatments, the British public takes a step back at the prospect of paying a fee to a professional Healthcare Practitioner. Then there's the medical model of Germ Theory disease, where illness is viewed as a mechanical or biological random event with an external cause. Asking someone to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, by perhaps giving up smoking, not getting drunk, to stop abusing drugs or to have sexual self-control, is almost considered taboo. With all these obstacles in the way, it's no wonder someone has to be pretty desperate to start having therapy of any sort - let alone consider a course of personal development.
Medical Treatment or Holistic Therapy?
Well the first big advantage of seeking medical treatment in the UK is that it's free - other than maybe a prescription charge if you're an adult in some form of employment. The NHS is also a familiar and established system, even if it's breaking under the strain of it's own design. People put a lot of faith in what they consider to be scientifically proven methods of treatment, even if the reality doesn't always support that belief. However, increasing numbers are questioning the safety of vaccinations, dislike taking tablets or consider that some forms of medical treatment are worse than the illness itself. Medical practitioners do an amazing job of dealing with the worst case scenarios and life threatening conditions. Modern medicine offers vital antibiotics and antidepressants that save lives in drastic situations. Many operations produce simply amazing, life changing results. We are blessed indeed to have these options available and without the burden of hospital bills at the end of it - for now anyway.
So if modern medicine can be such a blessing, what does holistic therapy have to offer? The biggest difference is time. The sheer volume of demand on medical staff, in a free of charge system, means they haven't a moment to spare - not even for their own wellbeing at times. One thing a holistic practitioner can offer you is time - time to listen to you, time to work with you in a session, time to be alongside you over a medium or long-term course of treatment. Another aspect to the holistic option is emotional empathy or heart connection. A medical doctor or nurse can be faced with a life or death condition, under highly distressing circumstances, and must make a quick decision and take accurate action to the best of their ability. This could involve delivering very bad news, carrying out a painful medical procedure or doing an examination that the rest of us would find disgusting. While care and sensitivity are required, being deeply emotional and empathic could actually hamper the professional effectiveness of a medical practitioner.
By contrast, a really good holistic practitioner will be highly alert to changes in the emotional atmosphere, sharply observant of the details in a client's story and able to connect the dots that make up a subtle, but powerful, pattern of dysfunction. Medical and holistic practitioners work at opposite ends of the health and illness spectrum. They may not be equally alike but they are equally valuable. Cultivating a blessed life may involve medical procedures and pharmaceutical medication in certain situations but will also be deepened and enriched by all that holistic therapy and personal development can offer.
Desperation or Inspiration?
To some extent, therapy and personal development are also at opposite ends of the holistic spectrum. People usually enter therapy out of a desperate need for help and the relief of symptoms and distress. Personal development is more often a choice born out of inspiration or discovery. Maybe a book, T.V programme, website article or social media post sparks an interest that then becomes a search for more. I'm particularly inspired by people who came from a difficult background, or went through a traumatic experience, and not only survived but triumphed into an amazing and admirable life.
Another way into personal development is through discovery while having therapy. I see this shift happening with clients at Pathway Balancing. A person may come for help with a problem, such as a frozen shoulder, bad back, migraine, insomnia or anxiety, and then discover a whole world of self-help methods, understanding of anatomy and psychology, or begin to find meaning in their experiences. Once it dawns on someone that there are reasons for their conditions, and a process for going through transformation, they will quickly decide which way they want to go. Some people will stop coming and go back to looking for a quick fix to mask their feelings, or will just put up with life as it is. Others will decide to do the work of cultivating a better life where their initial pain turns out to be a route to blessings.
So a client might start at Pathway Balancing with some gentle but effective craniosacral therapy, to release muscle tension and discharge shock from the nervous system. The hands-on treatment will probably be accompanied by verbal dialogue, so that the person begins to understand what caused the tension and restlessness in the first place. As the initial symptoms start to unwind and dissipate, there comes a turning point. Now there's the choice to pursue a path of treatment but now it's for positive reasons. This time it's about cultivating a life that's seen as a blessing, where the original problems have now become a means to overcome oppressive forces or overwhelming inner feelings.
The Pathway Balancing Kinesiology Journey is a powerfully effective system of personal development. The written manuals map out a journey, with descriptions that give a client inspiration to see things differently. For example, Gateway 54 is called 'Rising Above Oppressive Forces'. Behind this Gateway, is a description of a Clearing that's about Stripping away the ties of the oppressive system. Hitting up against the obstacles of the Earth-cursed system. Hearing this, each client will be inspired to see their own meaning as to what needs Clearing from their lives. For one person it could be a career choice to leave the bankrupt and stressful pressures of the NHS medical system and train as a self-employed holistic practitioner. For another client it could be about cutting back on spending, stopping any further borrowing and beginning a lengthy debt repayment plan. The anxiety, insomnia, back ache or migraine that resulted from a dissatisfying way of living has now been cleared and transformed into a key for cultivating a blessed life.
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I read this book in March 2007 and it's excellent reading for therapists or those on a journey of personal development and healing.
'The Body Remembers' - The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. by Babette Rothschild.
View it on Amazon here.
(Note; In the interests of transparency - I am an Amazon Affiliate, so they pay me a commission for purchases made through this link, at no cost to you.)