Alternate title: Why I Believe in the Power of Unconventional Therapy for Mental Health. A guest post by Vasundhra Gupta.
My first encounter with a psychotherapist was through a book called Many Lives, Many Masters. Dr Brian’s work in clinical hypnosis became a pioneer in the field of past life regression. Walking on a spiritual journey of sorts, I was so fascinated with the idea of exploring my own past lives, that in a couple months, I went for a session too. Ever since, I’ve explored a number of unconventional therapy techniques and experienced tremendous inner transformation.
Given how much stigma there is around mental health and therapy, it seemed like a good idea to spread some awareness on what happens behind the scenes in various spiritual and alternate healing modalities as well.
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3 Unconventional Therapy Techniques That Are Worth Exploring
Today, let’s look at three techniques that have worked for me and countless others when we gave these a try – past life regression, inner child healing and yoga. I’ll be talking about these in an attempt to make them seem less woo-woo and bring a more practical analysis of how things take place.
Past Life Regression
Hypnotherapy is the underlying technique used to undergo past life regression (PLR). Right off the bat, hypnosis can seem like a scary thing. All thanks to the dramatic stage shows we’ve seen!
Very few people understand that hypnosis is nothing more than agreeing to take on someone’s suggestion. For instance, if someone asked you to sit down, and you did, you took their suggestion. If you didn’t sit down, you didn’t take their suggestion. Really, it’s that simple.
During a hypnotherapy session, when you agree to follow a series of relaxation suggestions, you go into a state of deep hypnosis. This is scientifically represented as alpha waves in the brain. You don’t need a hypnotist to reach that state of mind. Any effective guided meditation on Youtube can do that for you!
And you are always in control during hypnotherapy – you get to decide whether you want to do something or not. Infact you are able to talk and remember everything, except more easily than usual. You simply bypass the overprotective conscious mind when it’s in its normal waking state of consciousness.
Why would you need a hypnotherapist then? When you’re in a deep state of relaxation, it’s easy to direct your mind to access certain memories that you otherwise don’t consciously recollect. However, you may not know what to do about these memories. A trained person can help you look at things from the bigger picture and finally release your blocked emotions around them.
And why step into past lives, you ask? Well, maybe reading my first-hand PLR experiences might convince you better than me simply saying “it works”.
The only reason you may want to explore past life regression with a trained healer and not a therapist is because not many therapists believe in past life work. You may not either. But after trying it for myself, my conclusion is that if seeing certain things can help me change my outlook about my relationships, and even transform my behavior, then why not?!
It shouldn’t matter if a past life is real or not, it should only matter that it helps you heal your present life.
Inner Child Healing
Inner child healing is about going back into childhood memories and discovering those aspects of our younger years where our needs may not have been fully met. This can be done through a process called reparenting, wherein we step up to become our own caretakers as adults, to fulfill those needs and bridge the gap.
It is transformative because it not only allows you to finally acknowledge unfulfilled needs and teach you how to validate and self-soothe, it also lets you grieve your past to get closure, and rebuild a healthier relationship with your inner child going forward.
Inner child work can be done in many ways, starting from something as simple as watching cartoons, journaling or sitting down with your childhood photographs, to more intensive spiritual coaching.
It is sometimes seen as an unconventional therapy modality because the tools and techniques used in spiritual coaching aren’t necessarily a part of the recommended ‘therapy’ approaches, but the results are definitive. I’ve seen myself and my clients becoming happier, shedding limiting beliefs, and healing tremendous amounts of guilt, fear, anger, shame and resentment, amongst other things.
You’ll probably notice a theme in my approach by now. I like talking about going into the past, to heal the present. That may sound counterintuitive, but the truth is that we are simply a sum of everything that ever happened to us. So if we’re planning on changing that for the better, we might as well know the root cause of why we are this way in the first place. Right?!
The biggest myth around yoga is that it’s religious, and could take you away from your belief system. This is far from the truth. Yoga, or yog, means union. Though ancient scriptures from India write about the four paths of inner union, the world has lately been viewing yoga as a series of stretches and asanas. The correct term is called Hatha yoga for aligning our body through various asanas, but there is so much more to yog!
Broadly speaking, the four paths to enlightenment or inner union can be defined as Bhakti Yog or prayer, Jyana Yog or Knowledge, Karam Yog or clearing your karmic debts with conscious living, and Raja Yog, which in itself entails 8-fold steps, including asanas and meditation amongst others, as explained in the works of Patanjali.
When you walk on any one or even multiple paths, you begin to shed layers of past conditioning which had caused the mental suffering. You thus open yourself up to exploring the meaning of life through many other dimensions. You are no longer limited to your old ways, and the flood of new energy that enters your life through practicing yog can be life-changing within very short periods of time. These paths aren’t typically talked about in the mental health area, and therapists are only recently beginning to acknowledge the essence of meditation, asanas and mindfulness.
Concluding Thoughts on Unconventional Therapy
I always wonder why we are so picky about how we want to receive help, when the very mind that is troubling us, is also the one dictating these terms and conditions to us.
There’s always a good chance that something great can come out of trying something new, and yet we hold ourselves back. But what we cling on to is not necessarily working for us, and it is thus an invitation for us to step out of the comfort zone and give something unconventional a shot.
It is thus, my endeavor to encourage the world to embrace healing and therapy as indispensable necessities to the ways of life, and not see them as a luxury or ‘good to have’.
About the Author:
Vasundhra Gupta is a spiritual writer, speaker & coach. Through her blog, My Spiritual Shenanigans, she works to simplify metaphysics and make spirituality a more practical, daily experience.