Whole Life Magazine

June / July 2018

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A Crash Course in Choosing a Healing Practitioner 30 wholelifetimes.com backwords FINDING HOME FINDING HOME A s a teenager, my mother sent me to a psychologist with silken, white-blonde hair and a lilting French accent. I don't recall any session details, but the tears fl owed easily. Smiling and sounding like melted cara- mel, she said, "You're a wonderful actress. Those tears are very convincing." I never returned. More sessions were intended but one was plenty, thank you. I re-named her Floral Bloodletting. Which brings us to today's pep talk. When it comes to choosing practi- tioners, whether alternative or more conventional, it's vi- tal to tune in to our inner navigator (the heart's intuition) and our body's Intelli- gence — how we feel in someone's presence. Then act on it. Oh, also keep a sense of humor. Turns out, my mother had untreated bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Her mood swings contrib- uted to a tough, neglectful environment, and I experienced what we'd now call developmental trauma. I'd earned those tears. Of course, there are plenty of practitioners who listen ful- ly and are profoundly compassionate. Others unfortunately lack insight or are in pain. This might be an open secret in professional circles. Some therapists are wounded people who've bypassed the messy disruption of in-depth healing work, jumping in to become caregivers before they're fully fi t to do so. Will we listen to our intuition more often about who to work with? Now, for those of us in traditional talk therapy, it's revolu- tionary simply to be heard and believed. If you fi nd one of these angels, and they do exist, hang on. My fi rst real therapist, Joan, was a Jungian who appreci- ated Native American spirituality. I was determined to be treated holistically by someone with an open heart. Merci- fully, with Joan, I felt deeply understood. However, that traditional model can sneakily anchor us in the past, saturating our attention in 'problem conscious- ness.' It's easy to come away with blazing clarity about what went wrong… but little sustainable relief. Always, it's a matter of discernment. Here in SoCal, we're fortunate that there's an abundance of experimental heal- ers. Working from an inspiring palette, they focus us on our strengths. But our judgment must stay just as vibrant when choosing someone who's more holistic than conventional. I worked privately for several months with an alternative practitioner whom I personally liked, although I felt vaguely distressed about her brand of pillow hitting. I checked out their playful group therapy sessions. There must have been 80 people in that room ready to engage — but something felt possibly re-traumatizing. This provided a crucial moment of decision. Do I listen to an inner gnawing to ignore the exercis- es and leave? Or do I assume that 80 enthusiastic peo- ple were somehow more correct than my intuition? I left. My heart won that round. I stayed too long with my practitioner though. That's how it works. We learn discernment after making what might be called a mistake. With an open heart and a quiet mind, we unpack what's happened beat by beat, telling ourselves the truth. We can make a better decision next time. Ramp up the meditation practice, dial in the magical breathing, and listen for the heart's delicate impressions. Then act on them. I later learned from a psychologist that those group prac- titioners weren't trained to titrate properly. In therapeutic settings, titration means pacing, or shepherding clients through profound emotional releases – without overwhelm. Here's the thing about listening to our hearts; our family and friends may disagree. But if we choose to transform, we'll need the courage to pursue our inner wisdom. My best friend in high school not only witnessed my moth- er's manic behavior, she hustled me out of the apartment af- ter one of those rages. Years later when it was healthier not to speak with my mom, that friend became critical. "But she's your mother." What? As Oprah might say, I knew like I knew like I knew I need- ed to stand my ground. I unapologetically cut those ties whether my friend understood or not. Mom and I recon- nected later from a better place. With some practice, we can all discern our inner wisdom. Act bravely on those insights. Pounce, babe. Jacqueline Eve Delibes is a speaker, HeartMath®Coach, and writer. Visit www.jdelibes.com By Jacqueline Eve Delibes 30 wholelifetimes.com TRUST YOUR HEART

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