Attending the Soul: Psychotherapy & Spirituality

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Attending the Soul: Psychotherapy & Spirituality
2424 Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
United States
(510) 843-2424
(510) 843-2423
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Attending the Soul: Psychotherapy & Spirituality

Jim Moyers, MA, MFT is a psychotherapist practicing in the East San Francisco Bay Area where I work with adult individuals and couples. He also supervise interns in clinical training at The Psychotherapy Institute and the Berkeley Creative Living Center, a unique day program for mentally ill adults where he is the clinical coordinator.

The Greek word, psyche, translates as "breath, life, or soul" in English. "Therapy" is derived from therapeia, the attendant who served both gods and humanity in the temples of ancient Greece. Psychotherapy can thus be said to be the sacred work of attending the soul, carefully nurturing the most essential aspects of who and what one is. This is the idea at the heart of my work as a psychotherapist, an "attendant of the soul."

According to the great Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, modern culture has lost contact with soul along with traditional means of honoring it through myth, ritual, and spiritual practice. But, as reluctant as they may be to acknowledge it, their secular society continues to suffer affections of the soul. As Jung put it, the gods who shaped the lives of the ancients have become the dis-eases that afflict them. Psychotherapy as practiced by Jung and those who follow in his footsteps is, at its best, a means for reconnecting with a mysterious Something deep within their being that gives life purpose and meaning. It springs from much the same place as does religious experience. However, psychotherapy differs from institutionalized religious practice in not imposing a dogmatic structure on human experience. Rather than trying to shape the client to fit some preconceived notion of what one should be, depth psychotherapy honors the unique quality of each individual experience of self and the world.

Soul focused psychotherapy is rare in these days of quick fixes, measurable outcomes, and cost effectiveness. It takes time and effort to connect with soul. The goal of depth psychotherapy is not not so much symptom relief as it is the discovery of meaning in symptoms which, as Jung repeatedly pointed out, are the soul's means for getting our attention. Something special happens when two people regularly meet over a period of time to explore the life of one of them. There is something almost magical about the process of telling one's story to a carefully attuned and caring listener. Change comes not so much through learning new ways of being, connecting past experience to the present, gaining insight, etc. although these things and more do occur. Rather, healing comes through the experience of having one's soul carefully attended to and understood.

In his practice he use a variety of techniques such as dreamwork, sandtray, artwork, and attention to bodily felt experience, but more than anything else hevery carefully listen to the particular story each person has to tell. He make suggestions from time to time, ask questions, and share my thoughts as they go along. But always my primary goal is to help each client discover the particular meaning of her or his unique journey. It is an honor and a privilege to be asked to attend someone for a little part of their journey through life. It is a work unlike any other.

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