My journey with transpersonal psychology began when I was 19 and sought help in a deep crisis. I did not have money for weekly therapy sessions but, for some reason, a psychoanalyst was willing to charge me little and treat me. As you would expect from psychoanalysis, I would talk and he would listen and take notes in a notebook I could never read. From time to time he would make an observation, to make me reflect, mirror me, help me realize something or give some guidance. Actually, at first, I needed to talk, to feel heard and have my suffering, confusion and loneliness recognized. My ego was fragile, and I felt lost, frightened and empty. For some reason, at a critical point in therapy, my psychoanalyst decided to invite a psychologist who worked with alternative therapies like ReMap and EFT to help me. He suggested that I have some sessions with her, since he felt she could help me more quickly and with less suffering than he could. I accepted as long as he was present; his presence gave me security because, at that time, my sense of security and well-being still depended on others.
I had some sessions with this new therapist that changed my life in several ways. For the first time, I began to feel that I was able to overcome certain issues and emotions and that, somehow, I had the right to make decisions about my own life without being terrified of what might happen. I left the cascades of tears that had often caught me off guard and that I had come to believe were normal. I began to feel without becoming emotionally overwhelmed and, subtly, slowly, began to live in my body. I returned to my psychoanalyst for a little while and, a few years later, found a flier in College that advertised an energy therapy seminar, Advanced Integrative Therapy Basics. I realized that this must be similar to the techniques the psychologist had used to help me years ago and, with a friend, attended Basics.
In college, one of my biggest concerns about practicing as a psychotherapist arose because I felt that the therapies we learned in class didn’t help people with deep trauma– at least not completely. It seemed like the scope we had in helping our clients heal was very limited, and I it felt like I would be charging them money for an incomplete job. I thought about maybe doing research, or possibly graduating and doing something else. The AIT Basics Seminar came just in time; I was able to apply it in my supervised clinical practice and marvel at the results my clients enjoyed, compared to the far less helpful results the clients of colleagues had, clients with whom conventional therapies were used. From the beginning, I understood that, despite my passion to help others, I was not the cause of these excellent results: the method was. What was making the difference was the powerful miracle of being able to stimulate energy centers in the body and to release the traumatic energy at all levels—physical, psychological, and spiritual. Being able to ask the client’s body what was best for them without having to assume, interpret or guess made a great and positive difference, as did the power to follow a protocol step by step in my first clinical experiences when I was not yet sure what I was doing.
Having a curious mind, I have learned several other therapies, some of them energy techniques, others conventional therapies, and yet others formal therapeutic methods. My path always brings me back to AIT, for myself and my clients. The changes I can see in others and that I have experienced in myself, are profound and enduring at all levels; they allow my clients and myself to advance with fewer stumbles, and to treat the most painful issues without so much suffering. The structure and clarity of the method makes it possible to bring relief to the depths of the psyche, and for the spirit to heal completely. This I cannot say of any other therapy, even those that work with energy, since most psychological and energetic techniques lack structure and work with what the client brings into therapy, leaving loose ends and traumatic themes unfinished. By contrast, AIT’s structured protocols provide clarity and offer a way to heal traumatic issues profoundly and completely, removing the traumatic energy contained in the body, emotions, mind, and spirit so that clients heal at all levels.
AIT’s flexibility also allows us to incorporate other techniques in the treatment when, for example, a client is very fragile and cannot move too much energy at once. The versatility of the method allows us to integrate modalities and work styles, develop and follow a treatment plan designed for our client and his specific problem, and treat traumatic themes thoroughly as well as developing the client’s potential that was diminished by negative experiences before therapy began.
AIT offers specialized seminars on the treatment of psychological disorders, physical illness, dissociation, historical trauma, dream analysis, archetypal treatment, and more. These are excellent guides and sources of knowledge that allow practitioners to better understand their clients. Using AIT, I learned to work far better with others and on myself as well, and watched with joy as the AIT work gave to my clients the ability to succeed, and their understanding that they have the power in their own being to heal their deepest wounds, that they just need to learn how and have someone to accompany and guide them along the way. Because Asha was able to receive this great gift, now so many AIT teachers and therapists around the world have come to know how to use it. We bring to this world hope, healing, resolution, presence and a more peaceful future for us and for the next generations. As Asha writes in the Basic Seminar manual, we can bring peace to the world one person at a time.
Ruth Córdova, Clinical Psychologist
AIT Therapist, Teacher and Supervisor
Sarah was 90 years old when she came for therapy for the first time. She had spent a full and rich life as a sculptor, wife, and mother of five sons. On that misty morning when we first began, I asked her why she had come in. She told me that she had always had a yearning for spiritual development, but had always felt blocked. She said, “I’m ninety now, and don’t have much time left. I would like to leave this life connected with my Maker.”
I learned that Sarah came from a wealthy New England family for which going to church was a weekly but meaningless expedition whose purpose was primarily social. Sarah recounted how she had often heard her father laughing at various aspects of their religion while her mother, a woman of deep faith, looked on miserably and helplessly since her husband dominated her. When I asked Sarah how her parents’ ideas and feelings about church had struck her, she teared up. “I began to associate church with my father’s sarcasm and skepticism, even though that makes no sense, and being religious with my mother’s passivity, helplessness, and lack of power.”
Once I had explained to Sarah how we work with AIT, she was eager to begin. We treated a number of traumas, among them the following:
• All the times and ways that Dad put religion down with his sarcasm and skepticism.
• All the times and ways that Mom, whom Dad dominated, made me think of religion as worthless because she could never stand up to Dad about it or anything else.
• Because Dad put religion down with his sarcasm and skepticism, I’ve been unable to connect or develop spiritually because I believe what he used to say about it.
• Because Mom made me think of religion as worthless because she couldn’t stand up to Dad and defend her faith, I’m blocked from connecting to my own spirituality because her inability to defend her faith meant to me that it wasn’t worth defending.
Once we had treated these and some other phrases, I asked Sarah if she wanted to begin attending a local church of the same denomination as her family had attended, or if she wanted to try something else. She said that she wanted me to teach her how to meditate; she said she had tried unsuccessfully to do so for years, and had always wanted to learn. After I had shown her single pointed meditation, in which the meditator focuses on a single thing such as the breath or a lit candle, she decided she would begin with ten minutes the first day and increase the time by a minute each day until she reached an hour.
Meanwhile, in order to make the process easier for her, I suggested that, in session, we do Active Imagination, a method of light trance that Carl Jung had developed and that had been incorporated into AIT. I felt it might help her to open spiritually. She had heard about Active Imagination and happily agreed to try it at our next session the following week.
A week later at her session, we tried Active Imagination. I asked Sarah to close her eyes and relax deeply, and guided her into a light trance. I suggested that she have her experience, whatever it might be, and then tell me about it once it was over. When she emerged her eyes were filled with light and tears. She said:
“I found myself in a very large cavern. It was as long as a football field and maybe sixty feet high. There was very little light, just enough for me to see my way. I felt terribly drawn towards the other end of the cavern and started walking towards it though I could not yet see what might be there. The closer I got, the more light there seemed to be there. When I got close enough, I could see a very large figure—almost sixty feet high. She was golden—a living statue of great beauty and power. When I got to her I kneeled and prostrated myself as if I had done this all my life. I felt her warmth and her love—it was as if she was embracing me with them. Even better, I felt deeply and permanently connected with her. I knew she was the Goddess I had been yearning to connect with all my long life; finally I had found her.”
Sarah often returned to visit the Goddess. She ended therapy soon afterward because she had accomplished her intention: to connect spiritually. I saw her once more before she passed three years later. She invited me to visit her since leaving her house had become physically difficult for her. When I arrived I was struck by her apearance. Though her body had become quite frail, her head and face seemed filled with and surrounded by light. The skeptical look of the past, which she had probably inherited from her father, had been replaced by gentleness and love. She told me that she was leaving to join the Goddess soon and that, despite how we usually think of such things, she had begun, little by little, to become the Goddess. I asked her what that was like. “It is like dissolving into the universe,” she said.