By Kimberly Anne Christensen, D.Div, 4/14/2015
Intuitive Therapy as a psychotherapeutic practice is not one found in the directory of traditional psychotherapists. Although the use of intuition can be a skill that therapists, counselors and other healers use to connect empathically to clients (Edwards, 2013; Hart, 2000; Jeffrey & Fish, 2011), using intuition as the primary mode for diagnosis and healing may not. While some readers may balk at the use of the term “therapy” to define a practice not sanctioned by the governing board for licensed clinicians, and can be practiced by anyone with intuitive abilities, Dictionary.com defined therapy as “the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process or as any program or act that relieves tension.”
Digging further, Merriam-Webster defined the term therapist as “a person trained in the methods of treating illnesses, especially without the use of drugs or surgery; a person who helps people deal with mental or emotional problems by talking about those problems.” Conventional dictionary definitions do not restrict the title of therapist to those with licenses. In fact, a therapist can simply be identified as someone who uses conversation to help others deal with their problems…
Having defined therapy and therapist, Google searches for intuitive therapy practitioners resulted in few matches, with practitioners scattered across the U.S and U.K. Of the four websites used as source material for this paper, three of the therapists identified themselves as psychotherapists, while one identified herself as a social worker and psychic. The two (of four) Intuitive Therapy practitioners that defined intuitive therapy used different definitions, and two offered no definition at all. One Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Rachel Greene, identified intuitive therapy in this way.
Intuitive Therapy is a form of integrative psychotherapy that utilizes intuition to uncover what the client senses but may not be consciously aware of. Rachel uses her intuition in order to access this unconscious information and bring it to conscious awareness. She works from an energetic; mind, body, spirit (holistic mental health) approach that assists the client to uncover, articulate, and release the source of the presenting problem.
Model of the Psyche
Intuitive therapy has no official model of the psyche. However, both Jung and Assagioli serve as excellent models. According to Salman (1997), Jung’s postmodern vision found matter and psyche as integrated and connected. The relationship, described as a self-regulating system that connected conscious and unconscious processes, offered imaginative and creative interactions between subject and object and psyche and matter. These seemingly disparate parts of the Self that were separated as part of an adaptive strategy of social and cultural survival, must be reunited in order to bring the subject to health as a whole being. This process toward wholeness was considered a synthesis of what had been divided – ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious – and was part of the psyche’s development toward individuation.
The presence of the soul is central to the Jungian model of the psyche (Salman, 1997). Jung believed, according to Salman (1997) that psychological phenomena were as real as physical objects, and that they functioned autonomously, something recent studies in dissociative disorders have found to be true. In essence, Jung’s model of the psyche states that unconscious material can never entirely be repressed, exhausted or emptied. Instead, this material should be analyzed through a process of loosening the boundaries between conscious and unconscious content, releasing psychic energy that activates psychological and transcendent growth. This analysis is conducted through two types of perceptive activity – introversion, which examines the interior world of the psyche through reflection, and extraversion that searches the exterior world for meaning. The examination is conducted with four types of psychological functions – sensing and intuiting, feeling, thinking, and bodily/kinesthetic physical sensations. The intuitive function, as described by Fadiman and Frager (2002), allows those who have this as a superior function, to rapidly process and integrate information quickly, as intuitive thinking often utilizes unconscious materials.
Ideal Client and Setting
In the world of Intuitive Therapy, where autosymbolic imagery and collective archetypes are primary resources for decoding the shadow aspects of self that arise, the ideal client should share several important qualities. Benor (2014) states that the primary motivation of a client should be willingness to change and release or let go of the problems that have erupted into crises. Puhakka (2000) suggested that being open to alternate ways of connecting to deep level consciousness, perhaps through the practice of meditation as she did, so that one could enter into an altered state, would be important. Brown (1997) offered that any techniques, such as mental, affective or transpersonal imagery, regularly practiced or available to the client would be critical in order to delve into and explore the unconscious. Brown suggested that no special training was needed to undertake mental imagery work and that the effectiveness of using imagery has had documented success with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
For those practitioners engaging in Intuitive Therapy, because of their ability to connect to the energetic field with an empathic or intuitive connection, clients can be worked with over the phone, through Skype or in person. According to therapists in the study by Jeffrey and Fish (2011), the keys for most practitioners to implement work from a distance are ensuring their readiness to engage with the intuitive faculties and getting clear enough to tune in with oneself. Therapists in the study believed that having personal preparation time before meeting with the client in order to access the intuitive faculties was important. Additionally, they reported that the therapist also needed time to clear away personal issues so that one could engage with an open and centered field. Hart (2000) speaks of this as maintenance of a separate self before one opens to the client.