Spirituality and me
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a relationship with the divine. Although I was raised Catholic, by the age of 12 or so I knew that Catholicism wouldn’t be my path. I found what would be the seed to my belief system at seventeen, when I read a powerful book. I remember absorbing that book whole, reaching the end of it, and knowing, as I closed it, that my life had changed. Later that same day, I started reading it again. I read it over and over through the next few years, highlighting it, finding new meanings each time. It’s been almost twenty years since I first read that book, and I still think of it fondly. I don’t remember many details, but I do believe some of the core new experiences I had while reading it have had a great impact in who I am today. I had been right: it changed my life.
Spirituality and my work
When I practiced psychology in Chile, I did so from a humanistic and transpersonal approach. I had spent the previous ten years working on becoming a psychologist and on my spirituality; it made total sense to me to combine the two. I incorporated a lot of what I had been doing in my spiritual practice on my psychology work: meditation, intentionality, and intuition.
Then I began my Masters degree here in Edmonton. The idea of evidence-based practice was drilled into me. Of course, I do very much adhere to it. I see the importance of being able to argue why I do the things that I do in my practice. How else would I hold people’s trust? At the same time, I recognize how much that scared me. I had “lost” the permission to be a psychologist when I moved here, and there is no hard evidence on spirituality. What if I couldn’t explain it? Would I lose my credibility and, therefore, have my work threatened again?
While transpersonal psychology took a back seat in my practice, I believe I had the opportunity to expand on my human side. I’ve deepened my understanding of the human experience, expanding to include social justice and new aspects of feminism, emotions and general neuropsychology to my work. This has allowed me to have new languages in the way I work with people. Thanks to this, I can adapt my work to fit my clients’ view of the world, whether they have a spiritual practice or not. To me, this is a way of living spiritually that holds the human experience as sacred, and not something meant to be left behind.
How I incorporate spirituality to my work today
During the past couple of years, I’ve worked with people who have followed a similar spiritual path to mine. These have been powerful experiences, for I was able to create a strong working relationship thanks to the fact I could speak their own spiritual language. We could talk about energy, about meditation, and include that in our work. At the most human level, practicing this way makes my work culturally sensitive and makes me a good fit for people of similar beliefs. At the spiritual level, it makes me a willing channel for transformative work.
If spirituality is an important part of your life, I invite you to let me know. I’ll be glad to incorporate it to our work as appropriate, to multiply the ways in which working together may improve your life.