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Q & A

Q & A - Lisa Avnet in Pittsfield, MA

These are some common definitions that relate to how I work:

What is the meaning of the "deep self" or "soul" in this context?

Our deep self is who we are as spiritual beings.  This self lies beneath our masks, persona, and our egoic self, beneath our social and familial conditioning.  The deep self is synonymous with the concept of soul. 

Donald Kalsched, a Jungian analyst and expert on trauma, articulates his ideas about the soul quite beautifully. He says, "The soul seems to represent an animating essence or true self at the center of every person." He also describes it as “a sacred something at the core of our potential wholeness as human beings." And finally, he writes that soul is a "seemingly essential and sacred core of the personality that continually appears in the dream material."

What is the "intelligent field", "the wider field of consciousness" and the "imaginal realm?"

We have a much wider bandwidth of consciousness available to us that is unseen.  Our energy systems, and our physical nervous systems are wired for it, and yet the demands of daily life often limit what we can perceive.  We see what we expect to see, and thus much remains hidden and inaccessible. When triggered by outer circumstances, we are taken out of presence into the past, to old patterns of feeling from childhood.  A key to accessing wider consciousness is to develop our somatic, body based, felt sense; a springboard to expanded perceptions.  

The term “imaginal realm” was coined by Henry Corbin, a theologian and Sufi mystic famous for his writings on Islamic spirituality. Note, imaginal is not imaginary!  Episcopal priest and mystic Cynthia Bourgeault says "Put more simply, it separates the visible world from realms invisible but still perceivable through the eye of the heart. In fact, this is what the word “imagination” specifically implies to in its original Islamic context: direct perception through this inner eye, not mental reflection or fantasy.  .... The imaginal realm is a meeting ground, a place of active exchange between two bandwidths of reality. That is ...the way in which it can be most fruitfully understood. The imaginal penetrates this denser world in much the same way as the fragrance of perfume penetrates an entire room, subtly enlivening and harmonizing."

What is "deep feminine wisdom and knowing?"  Intrinsic non-linear wisdom that is located in area of the right brain, but also in the physical body and heart: qualities of intuition, feeling senses, creativity, and imagination.  Because Western culture prioritizes the linear, logical thought processes of our left brain, men and women both are often disconnected from the wellspring of the right brain.  Deep feminine wisdom is a visionary, fertile and vibrant source of being and information.

What is "Imaginal Medicine"? Imaginal medicine is the evidence based mind/body practice of using imagery, metaphor and symbols for a desired outcome. It's been around for many decades and is well studied.  It's widely used in therapeutic settings, including medical, hypnotherapy, coaching and psychotherapy settings.  My lifelong affinity with images and the energy of metaphor has fostered in me a highly developed ability to see and sense images and symbols in my client's biofields, which assists me in guiding a session.  In the energy realm, thoughts, emotions and patterns coalesce into symbolic form and thus, working with the images as energy can create energetic shifts in both the energy bio-field.  Activating imagery can create positive change in the unconscious mind as well as in neural pathways.

Guided imagery, visualization, and abstract of  "Imaginal Medicine, a Literature Review" by David Labuschagne offers a clear picture:

"The use of imagery in an interactive, guided fashion is an empowering approach to medical self-care, enabling individuals to draw on their own inner resources, thereby imagery has broad implications for, and application to the health and wellbeing of the individual. From a medical perspective, purposeful and directed use of the imagination can be a powerful therapeutic tool for guiding and stimulating the healing process. In addition to its remedial aspects, mental imagery provides client and clinician alike with a window of insight into the state of both mind and body. In the physical realm, such insights may be pertinent not only to clinical diagnosis, but also for monitoring changes in health status and evaluating outcomes of therapeutic interventions encouraging their direct involvement in the healing process. The benefits of learning to better mobilize this phenomenon in a purposeful, conscious way are inarguable."

What makes Lisa's guiding work different from other modalities such as coaching?

It differs in the scope and direction of the work. Coaching works primarily with the conscious mind, while Lisa specializes in working with the unconscious mind and the wider field of intelligence using evidence based techniques.  In each session you'll be guided into a liminal, lightly expanded state of awareness and experience a journey into the deeper mind.

Lisa's guiding and healing work is an opportunity for you to receive deep listening and inquiry that can offer a wider perspective and understanding of the day to day or big picture in your life, an opportunity to experience yourself in a different way, apart from the roles you may hold at work and at home. 

Lisa brings to her work intuitive and energetic skills honed over multiple decades of client sessions in her private practice and her work at Canyon Ranch. Her work is informed by Jungian, Archetypal, Transpersonal and Depth Psychologies as well as by her extensive training in hypnotherapy.

What are "depth methods"?

Jungian, Depth, Transpersonal, and Archetypal psychologies have developed many methods for working with the wider human consciousness and unconscious mind.  These include active imagination, dreamwork, and work with the energies of symbols, archetypes, and myths as well as looking at the presence of synchronicity and stories in your life.  Somatic methods used include the body/mind process of Eugene Gendlin's Focusing work and the felt sense skill (see below), a cellular awareness process, and a mindfulness based somatic body scan.  Shamanic methods include guided shamanic journey processes, while symbolic methods include engaging the images and symbols accessed in your experiential work as well as with creative expression (drawing, painting, movement). You may choose to explore what the pioneering psychoanalyst Carl Jung called "complexes", and how they are working in your life, or engage in shadow work (the way you feel and act that you're not consciously aware of).  Grounded methods of working with fear, anxiety, grief and resistance are all part of the "depth method" toolbox.

What is  the Felt Sense and Focusing?

Focusing is an amazing mind body method - a somatic method- developed by psychologist and researcher Eugene Gendlin in the 1970's, that's grown into a world wide organization today. The International Focusing Institute website says: "With Focusing, we invite ourselves into a certain kind of awareness.  In our everyday lives, most of us spend a great deal of our time with our attention on tasks or issues (our "thinking" function). Many of us ignore or even try to silence our inner, bodily-felt experiencing of all that is happening in our lives. In contrast, the Focusing attitude is an invitation we offer ourselves to be open and centered on the whole of what is happening in the present -- most especially the usually-ignored body’s inner sensations. When doing Focusing, you silently ask, “How is the whole of me experiencing all of this?”  Focusing practice attunes you to that wider field of wisdom, your intuition, and brings the awareness and information forward for use in navigating your life with a balanced consciousness that includes mind, body, energy, and emotions.

What is Depth Psychology? 

Depth Psychology is an interdisciplinary endeavor, drawing on literature, philosophy, mythology, the arts, and critical studies. Through the study of dreams, images, symptoms, slips of the tongue, spontaneous humor, meaningful coincidences as well as interpersonal engagements, depth psychologists attempt to understand the language and the dynamics of the unconscious as it manifests in clients and in the world.

What is Transpersonal Psychology?

"Transpersonal Psychology is concerned with the study of humanity's highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness”  Lajoia, D. H. & Shapiro, S. I., 1992

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In person sessions in my lovely Pittsfield, MA office or on-line via Zoom.