Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Don't Cry

How many times have you said this to someone or had someone say it to you? 

I have so many vivid memories of my mom telling me not to cry, or not to worry when I was a little one. Now that I am a psychotherapist, my heart skips a little beat each time I hear these words uttered. 

By telling someone not to cry, not to worry, not to stress, not to be mad, etc. we are telling them that their feelings aren’t real or are not valid. 

We often say these words out of the goodness of our hearts as it hurts us to see people we love in pain, but doing so only adds to the pain. Think of it this way– when do we ever say, “don’t be happy. don’t laugh.” Almost NEVER. We rarely stifle happiness and joy, so why should we stifle sadness, worry or other feelings? Yes, we want to help our friend or loved one and reduce their pain, but if there is one thing I have learned as a therapist, it’s that sitting with someone’s pain is helpful, it is cathartic, and it most definitely is pain relieving. 

By sitting with someone in their pain and suffering you are truly saying, “I’m here for you, we are in this together.” Allowing our friends, kids, partners, parents, siblings, neighbors to feel their pain, and acknowledging it we are indeed allowing them time to heal.

- Kathleen Hill, MS, NCC, LAPC 

Kathleen is a therapist with TRU Integrative Health and Wellness. Kathleen works with children, adolescents and adults around a variety of issues, and has both weekday and weekend hours available. Click here to see Kathleen's bio or to contact her directly.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Spiritual Experiences, Challenges and Resources for Support

By: Shaye Hudson MA, Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist 

We have talked about what is a Spiritually Transformative Experience in the previous blog and how it can affect the experiencer. We know that each person will be affected differently a particular spiritual experience but there will often be challenges that will show up in different areas of their lives. Also, integrating these experiences can be especially difficult for those living in cultures that are not as supportive of these often strange and difficult to understand experiences that often result in less than accepting responses from friends, family members and others. It is important that the experiencer, clinicians, and other professionals involved have a general understanding of these potential challenges and where they can go to get support.

Spiritual Experiences and Western Culture
Modern societies and those in Western culture generally have an impoverished understanding of such spiritual or religious matters. There is a tendency for Westerners to use a scientific or even a religious worldview to explain away such experiences as just neurons firing in the brain or stating that the experience violates some holy declaration. I have found that due to these cultural norms, the spiritual experiencer may often hesitate to tell friends, family members, coworkers, mental health, or medical professionals, due to fears of being invalidated or even labeled as psychotic.

Spiritual Experiences and Mental Health

There has however, been progress in the mental health community in the distinguishing between what is determined to be a pathology and what is a problem. Practitioners in the mental health field refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM V) and the code “V62.89 Religious or Spiritual Problem.” This is a very helpful code that mental health practitioners can use to acknowledge distressing spiritual experiences as non-pathological problems.
While some will not have any significant issues after their experience, common challenges may include:
· Processing a radical shift in their worldview
· Accepting their new perspective
· Experiencing “homesickness”
· Issues related to sharing the experience
· Integrating new spiritual values, and changing ones religious beliefs
· Problems dealing with psychic experiences
· A desire to find, and live one’s purpose.

The spiritual experiencer, depending on their life situation and other factors, may have difficulty with depression, anxiety, isolation, divorce, financial distress, or substance abuse. The above situations could potentially require a mental health professional with a transpersonal orientation or competency to assist individuals in the area of religious or spiritual issues.

Spiritual Experiences in Supportive Cultures

Eastern and tribal-centric cultures often have a history, lineage, and psychological framework accustomed to providing support and integrating the spiritual or mystical experience. The Tibetan Buddhists have the “Tibetan Book of the Dead” to help integrate their encounters. The Senoi, a Stone Age tribe in Malaysia, consider the dream world to be more real than the waking world and have daily practices of dream interpretation. Also, some Native American cultures are known to have more supportive communities that were generally more welcoming of such extraordinary experiences.

Resources for Spiritual Experiencers

We in the West have the opportunity to create more of a conducive social, cultural and psychological framework to help others who have these transpersonal experiences. Where can people in the modern cultures and the West who have had such transcendent encounters find a supportive resource or community to help Integrate in a healthy, safe, supportive way?
I have personally found resources that were invaluable in helping not only myself but others process and integrate their experiences with a sense of community, acceptance and validation. You can find local support by contacting a professional or group affiliated with--or having received training from-- but not limited to, the following organizations:

American Center for the Integration of Spiritual Experiences (ACISTE)

International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS)

The Monroe Institute (TMI) TMI has an International Local Chapter Network and Outreach Facilitators that can provide local support in their groups.

Psychology Today: Online resource for Psychotherapists and Clinical Hypnotherapists with Transpersonal, Humanistic, and related orientations with specialties in spirituality.

We have come to understand that unlike many other cultures, the west may not have as supportive culture and container to help many people integrate have what they believe are spiritual experiences. Many are often hesitant to share their encounters due to ridicule or even condemnation. We also have seen how these experiences can be both positively transformational and at the same time challenging. In some cases, the person may require a Therapist, Coach or spiritual counselor who can assist them in a healthy adjustment to their transcendent or peak experiences.

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

What is a Spiritually Transformative Experience?

By: Shaye Hudson MA, Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

In the last blog, we covered some examples of reported spiritual experiences. We hear the amazing accounts from those who have had Near-death experiences, Out of body, After-death communications and more but in what ways can and do these encounters affect the experiencers? We will now be covering a standard definition or understanding of what is a spiritually transformative experience.   

According to the American Center for the Integration of Spiritual Experiences (ACISTE) an STE is “an experience that causes an individual to perceive themselves and the world profoundly differently: by expanding the individual’s identity, augmenting their sensitivities, and thereby altering their values, priorities and appreciation of the purpose of life. This may be triggered by surviving clinical death, or by otherwise sensing an enlarged reality.”

Expanding the Individuals Identity
Many of us go thought our everyday lives experiencing life as who we know ourselves to be. We grow up in certain geographic location inheriting the customs and expectations of that culture. We grow up listening to the influencing truths of our parents ranging from what’s acceptable from a religious, political, and even a the kind of relationships and vocations we choose. We receive these templates and make some minor or major adjustments along the way. Our mindsets are formed though the templates placed upon us and through life experience.  Imagine going through your daily life and this mindset being interrupted by some sort of transcendent experience. The truths we have been known and lived up to this point have been disrupted allowing a new worldview to emerge and thus making room for an expanded identity to take form.

I have personally gained some understanding of spiritual experiences after having my own transpersonal encounters and after listening to clients.  Many also report an expanded identity to include the spiritual. They no longer see themselves as just a physical human being, but one with an eternal spiritual essence or nature. A by-product of this new identity is the reduction of the fear of death, emotional healing and confirmation that the spiritual world is a reality for them.

Augmenting their Sensitivities
Many clients report that after their experience, they feel more emotionally and intuitively sensitive. Whether this is a spiritual, psychological, emotional or physical symptom it doesn't matter because all these aspects affect one another. What matters is that the person may need help with first coping with their new sensitivities. These new sensitivities can result in anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed from being around large crowd’s as well emotional sensitivity in relationships causing arguments or hurt feelings. In some cases the experiencer may require learning to create boundaries and not let the emotions of family, friends, coworkers and even strangers affect their moods by just by being around them.

Altering Values, Priorities, and Appreciation of the Purpose of Life
Imagine having a Near-Death experience or a spiritual encounter with a deceased loved one and receiving a message that life is about love. You have been climbing the corporate ladder with a Machiavellian “ends justify the means” attitude and now grandma give you a gentle and loving reminder to be nice.  This may be quite the adjustment and may redirect the experiencer to consider a different practice or path in life.

With some their experience may challenge their religious or lack of religious attitudes. Their typical programming has been challenged and often altered during the experience.  This new perspective can cause one to rethink their views on both life and the afterlife and open a “Pandora's box of questions, thus creating a thirst for answers and spiritual seeking.

With these changes jobs, relationships and friendships may fall away and along with this comes the stresses of change. This transformative encounter can be the just beginning of the potential challenges the person may experience.

In the next blog in this series, we will cover some common challenges for the spiritual experiencer and resources for support and integration.

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology. Shaye facilitates weekly spiritual groups at Tru Integrative Health & Wellness.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Four Common Types of Spiritual Experiences

By: Shaye Hudson MA, Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist 

In this blog, we will be discussing some of the type’s experiences and encounters that clients have shared with me in the previous blog. Many of us have read in bestselling books of those who have died and came back to life in the near death experiences, others having out of body experiences gaining an expanded sense of identity, after-death encounters with loved ones who have crossed over and other peak experiences. There are a multitude of other variations of transpersonal experiences but in this continuation of we will cover some of the more commonly reported experiences.

Near-death experiences (NDEs)

According to the The International Association For Near Death Studies (IANDS),“An NDE may begin with an out-of-body experience—a very clear perception of being somehow separate from one’s physical body, possibly even hovering nearby and watching events going on around the body. An NDE typically includes a sense of moving, often at great speed and usually through a dark space, into a fantastic landscape and encountering beings that may be perceived as sacred figures, deceased family members or friends, or unknown entities. A pinpoint of indescribable light may grow to surround the person in brilliant but not painful radiance; unlike physical light, it is not merely visual but is sensed as being an all-loving presence that many people define as the Supreme Being of their religious faith. “

Clients have reported the positive effects from their Near Death experience to include an expanded spiritual perspective, a reduced fear of death and a sense of deep meaning in their lives. Many report a certainty of life after death and how our loved ones are more than okay, and the lesson is to learn to be more loving.

On the other hand, I have heard stories of interpersonal, relationship, and intrapsychic problems. I have found that my response as the therapist can have a critical influence for those with the NDE experience. If their experience is validated it can lessen negative emotional resistance and is generally more easily integrated in a healthy way.

A counselor, coach or spiritual director with training in spiritual and religious problems can help in situations with family members that have that they have a difficult time adjusting to the new beliefs and attitudes. There are times where marriages are strained and even divorce can occur. The NDE-experiencer can also undergo anger, depression, withdrawl from the experience and other attitudes that can affect their psychosocial functioning. In situations like this, it may be necessary that the experiencer receive outside help to adjust to their new way of being and the ripple effects it may cause in some or the majority of areas in their life.

Out-of-body experiences (OBEs)

The Monroe Institute (TMI) is a nonprofit education and research organization which focuses on the exploration of human consciousness. This organization has residential and outreach programs as well as an International Local Chapter Network(ILCN) where participants experience altered states of consciousness through a patented sound technology called “Hemi Sync”. Many have reported having the Out of Body” (OBE) and other transcendent experiences. Both TMI researchers and participants report that the “OBE” is an experience that usually involves a subjective sensation or experience of being outside one's body.

In my therapy practice, I have listened to clients share having experiences where they experiencing a paralysis, a buzzing sensation, lifting out and even seeing their own physical body. Some have reported that the “OBE” experience had a profound impact on reducing their fear of death as well as changes in their identity since they have come to experience themselves as more than the physical body.

Past-life experiences

As a part of my Hypnotherapy practice, I facilitate both - individual and group Past Life Regression sessions. I have had clients report amazing stories of how they lived in places and times that they did not expect. Some clients report having an experience of remembering during waking states or having a direct experience of a past life through hypnosis, dreams or other non-ordinary states. Past lives are associated with the idea of reincarnation, which is the religious or philosophical concept that the consciousness or spirit can (after physical death) return to another life in a new body. This doctrine is an integral part of various ancient and modern religions.

On occasion, clients report being the opposite gender, which is very amusing and even sometimes unsettling. Some shared that they were with people who they knew were people in their present day lives. In many cases the client can gain insight on their present day issues and relationships and use the experience to empower themselves for positive change.

After-death communications (ADCs)

These are experiences where a person has communication with a physically deceased person. This can generally happen during waking states, meditative, and dream states. ADC's often include sensing a presence, hearing voice, feeling a touch and other physical phenomena, smelling a fragrance, and visual encounters.

I have shared my personal experience ADC experience in my earlier blog and have also listened to a multitude of clients share their stories of contact with deceased loved ones with numerous combinations of the states of consciousness well as the sensory types. I have found that these ADC type experiences can be very healing to those who are experiencing grief and loss.

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology. Shaye hosts spiritual groups at Tru Integrative Health & Wellness.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Therapist Supports Client Encounters with Loved Ones Who have Passed

BY: Shaye Hudson, MA, Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist

There can be nothing more devastating in our lives as human beings than losing family members and loved ones. As a Psychotherapist and Hypnotherapist with a Holistic and Transpersonal (Spiritual) orientation, I often support clients who have experienced losing someone closest to them.

I had often wondered how a spiritual encounter with a deceased loved one would affect the grieving process. I wondered “What would you say or ask if you got one last chance to see and talk with them?” The day came when I would learn first-hand, the answer to my question  and then come to listen to the answers of those with similar stories.

People experience and cope with grief in their own unique ways and time. While some can cope with their loss and recover with the support of those around them, others experience deep and profound grief that can be debilitating. It can have a profound effect on their psychosocial functioning in multiple areas of their lives such as mental and physical health, personal relationships, work, and can even challenge or reaffirm their personal religious faith.

Some of the clients that I have worked with reported connecting with loved ones who have passed on from this life and possibly existing in the next. The term After Death Communication was coined by Bill and Judy Guggenheim, authors and researchers on this subject of communication with those who have died.  Some of the typical reports from their research have included dream visitations, sensing loved ones at the foot of the bed, hearing a voice, feeling a touch, smelling fragrances, and seeing signs that were meaningful and significant.

I have listened to family members, friends, therapy clients, and others share some profound stories of emotional healing. I will share two stories, one helping a woman coming to terms with the end of her life and another where the experience has served one in healing grief.

Janet's Dream Visitations in Hospice
I was providing care for a hospice patient named Janet. She was a mentally sharp woman in her late 80s, but her body was slowing succumbing to cancer. On one of my visits, Janet shared that she had been sleeping quite a bit due to the cancer.

This was my opportunity to ask her about her dreams. She said “I would tell you but you may think I am crazy”. I reassured her that I have a very open mind. Janet shared, “Well my deceased daughter and parents are visiting me in numerous dreams and preparing me to cross over to the other side.” I then asked, “Do you think this is just your brain processing emotion or is this a real spiritual experience?” She replied, “A real spiritual experience.” 

As a clinician working in hospice, one of my primary goals in end of life care was to ensure that she was comfortable both mentally and emotionally, so I asked did this affect your fears around death. Janet replied “absolutely, I have no fear of death now.” Imagine if her Clinician did not share such an open mind and chose not to validate her feelings. I am thankful to have been there and able to support her through a very difficult stage of her life.

Kayla's Agreement with Grandmaw
I was supporting a client by the name of Kayla who had been making trips back and forth from Atlanta to her family’s hometown a few states away.  She was visiting her dying grandmother who she affectionately called her “Grandmaw”, (Kayla would pronounce it long and drawn out with a thick country accent. She shared that her Grandmaw would say it would sound similar to an ambulance if I was wining enough). Kayla had been sharing over a course of our sessions that she had anxiety around the loss of her grandmother and felt guilty for living so far away from family.

Kayla was home one weekend visiting her Grandmaw in home hospice. While there her Grandmaw shared that she had a near death experience, where she went through a tunnel and went to a place of love, met other family members on the other side, and was told it was not quite her time. 

During their time together Kayla and her grandmother made an agreement that when she passed she would visit her somehow to let her know she was okay. 

Kayla is generally a skeptical person when it comes to things outside of the logical realm and she and her Grandmaw were often at odds about this topic, with Kayla often joking about her grandmother’s persistence in the existence of the afterlife.

Weeks later Kayla got another phone call asking her to come and see her Grandmaw and was told “It was getting close to that time.” Kayla went as soon as she could but she missed her grandmothers passing by just a few hours. She felt immensely guilty about the fact that she wasn’t able to see her grandmother again, especially since her logical mind told her Grandmaw’s fire, that spirit had ceased to exist.  Kayla’s very existence was broken by it.

She went to bed the night after her grandmother had passed and she couldn’t sleep well. She tossed and turned until finally she fell asleep from exhaustion. Then she started dreaming. In the dream, Kayla saw her grandmother with bright red hair. She knew how upset her grandmother was when her hair had been shaved due to the chemo so when she saw the bright red hair she knew something wasn’t quite right. Kayla has had lucid dreaming experiences before and noticed that this was a dream. However, this dream was different than the others.

She reported that it was very vivid and full of clarity and mindfulness. Her grandmother didn’t speak but did relay messages to her telepathically. She smiled with her bright read hair, red lipstick, and a rose in her hair. The whole time Grandma was relaying her messages she never stopped smiling. Kayla grabbed her tightly and looked her right in the eyes, knowing that this experience was the one they had discussed previous to her passing. Kayla mentally sent a message to the effect of “Are you okay? Are you in heaven? Someplace after death? Somewhere happy that you are happy?” Then a wave of confirmation hit Kayla and she knew the answer was yes. Kayla then asked something like “Do you still love me? Can you still actively participate/see my living my life? Are you still going to be around?” And another wave of confirmation hit her and this time it was filled with the overwhelming sense of unconditional love. Kayla let go of her grandmother’s shoulders and took her wondrous glare away from her grandmother’s eyes to hug and kiss her. 

That hug and kiss felt like an everlasting impression of emotional comfort that Kayla shared she can still feel every day and knows that she will have for the rest of her life. Kayla found a deep healing in knowing her “Grandmaw” was okay and at the same time creating a new spiritual opening and curiosity about life.

I have listened to these and other stories of those who had one last chance to see their loved ones, asked final questions, and got tell them that they love them. In many cases the one who passed on were coming to let them know that they were okay. 

Their experiences and their stories can have a profound healing effect on those who are grieving the loss of family, friends and loved ones. Experiencers also report that their fear related to death has diminished and I have personally seen how it helped those who may be in the end stages of life to accept their time of transition with more peace. 

It is my hope that regardless of what perspective that we both individually and collectively we take on these experiences, we can find the compassion and healing value in validating these very significant encounters for those who are grieving.

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Therapist's Personal Spiritual Experience

BY: Shaye Hudson, MA, Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist

Many people often have experiences that we, in the psychology community call ‘transpersonal’, 'spiritual' or ‘exceptional experiences of consciousness.’ Exceptional psychology is a field that studies these experiences and phenomena which are traditionally related to parapsychology. Some examples of these type of experiences may include extra sensory perception, survival after death, out of body experiences, and after death communications.  Depending on the nature of the experience and the individual, one can find it to be very healing and positively transformative.

Unfortunately, some refrain from sharing with friends, family members, and “professionals” (such as clergy and mental health professionals,) due to ridicule, invalidation, judgement or even been labeled as a “brick short of a full load.” There is a prevalent lack of openness and understanding in regards to these exceptional experiences. I am a little different than many of my peers in the field of Mental Health. I approach my clients and others with a different perspective--one of a fellow experiencer, and one educated in transpersonal or “spiritual” psychology, as well as a Psychotherapist.

I have been present for many peers and clients while they have shared their accounts in transcendent realms, communications with deceased loved ones, and more. These accounts can be very powerful, but there are few words to fully describe the impact when you personally have one of these experiences. I listen, empathize, understand, and validate these extraordinary subjective experiences, because I too have had similar exceptional experiences and life changing encounters with loved ones who have passed.

Here is my story: I was raised in the south in a small college town called Milledgeville, GA. Almost every Sunday, my parents would take me and my brother to go see our Granny, Annie Dean Garner, after church. She had a quaint little house, with pictures of all the family members on the walls, and a turquoise blue couch that I often played on in her living room. She was a very sweet woman with long, brown and gray hair that she kept braided on top of her head. She always wore her glasses, and was warm and loving. I would spend the day hanging out with her playing and helping around the house.

Later on, during my early college years, we discovered that Granny had been diagnosed with colon cancer. This was devastating to our family. I remember my mom calling me and telling me “you’d better go visit your Granny.” I went to the local hospital to visit her, and I remember seeing her in the hospital bed. Although she was sick, she was smiling and very appreciative that I came to see her. That would be the last time I would see my Granny alive.

A few days later, my mom and dad were notified by the hospital that Granny was in a coma. I received a call and rushed to the hospital. I ran into my father in the parking lot. He had a very concerned look on his face, and, without saying a word to me, kept walking towards his car. I quickly went inside, up the elevator and to the floor where my Granny's room was located. I found my mother sitting there crying. My mom explained that she was holding Granny's hand when she took her last breath. My Dad could not stand to be there to watch her pass.

Years later, I had an experience that transformed my life in a deep and profound way. One Sunday afternoon I was feeling tired, so I chose to sit and meditate on my couch. I started to move into a deeper state of meditation and began to feel my body less and less as I rested with my eyes closed. I observed my thoughts, watching them subside. As I was meditating deeper and deeper, I felt my head nod. The third time I nodded, my head jerked. I opened my eyes and just happened to look down at my couch. Something strange was happening. My couch was normally beige, but now it was turquoise blue! When I looked around, my vision seemed cloudy, but I could sense someone sitting across from me. 

I heard a familiar voice in my head say "focus.” I decided to focus and my vision cleared and I saw someone sitting across from me in the room. It was my deceased Granny sitting in her chair and smiling at me! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

I thought to myself, “I am making this up.” My vision became cloudy again and I heard the voice say “It’s your own fear and doubt getting in the way. You need to focus.”

I focused on the figure in front of me and my vision instantly cleared. I saw my Granny sitting only a few feet away from me—she smiled and stared at me. Her brown and gray hair was still neatly braided and she wore her beautiful white gown.

I decided to go along with the experience and told her "I miss you Granny, and I love you."

She replied, “I love you too.”

I asked, "How am I doing spiritually?"

Granny replied, "You are doing well, but you should stay away from the theological debates." (At the time, I had been having a rather strong religious debate with a friend of mine.)

I acknowledged Granny “I understand it is not my place to tell anyone their beliefs are wrong.”

She said "I love you. Take care of your father if he ever gets sick.”

I acknowledged Granny “I understand it is not my place to tell anyone their beliefs are wrong.”

She said "I love you. Take care of your father if he ever gets sick.”

I said "Granny, I need you to give me validation that this experience is real and true.”

She said, “Okay,” and led me into the kitchen where she showed me squash and onions cooking on the stove.

She said, "Ask your mother about the squash and onions she cooked today."

I said “I will Granny and I love you." I then felt myself coming out of my deep meditation and back to my waking awareness.

When I opened my eyes, the first thing I thought was that I needed to call my parents to see if what my Granny told me was true. My heart was beating fast with excitement as my dad answered the phone.

I asked "Dad, did you eat squash with onions today?”

He said "Yes. What are you doing, some kind of mind reading?”

I replied "No, but you wouldn't believe me if I told you." Dad put my mother on the phone and I asked her the same thing.

She said: "Yes, I cooked squash and onions today and your aunt did too." She asked me, “how did you know?”

I told her, "I saw Granny and she told me what you did today. Granny also told me to take care of dad if he ever gets sick."

I am thankful to have seen my Granny again after her passing, in a non-ordinary or altered state of consciousness and having what I believe was a face-to-face encounter. This experience had a powerful transformative effect on my life--I no longer feared death. For me, I now have certainty that there is an afterlife, and our loved ones are continuing their lives in another way. The knowing she gave me in this encounter is what parapsychologists and other researchers call “vertical evidence.” My Granny shared corroborating information that I could then check, by telling me what my mom cooked that day.

My Granny did not come back to give me the secrets of the universe or share the “right” religious beliefs. If anything, she urged me to stay away from religious debates, and instead, guided me in another spiritual direction. She came back to give me the simple message of taking care of her son --my dad. It was a simple message of love.

This profound experience helped me reconcile my emotions with not only the loss of my Granny, but also with the passing of other family members and friends. While the encounter has never taken away the initial grief of saying goodbye, it has had the lasting effect of creating a stronger ability within myself to understand and better cope with the eventual passing of others close to me.

This experience served as a significant catalyst for my evolution, both personally and professionally. My biggest concern was no longer whether or not I was going to ‘continue existing’ at the end of my life, but now, how can I live to my fullest potential? If I were to live to my fullest potential, I knew that my inner spiritual life needed to be congruent with my outer life. My previous corporate positions were not a good match for my newly-evolving spiritual life. I realized that I had to follow my heart now, and move into a healing profession.

My values shifted. No longer was I concerned primarily with achievement and financial success. I was now more focused on serving and helping others heal, grow, and transform in a deeper, more heart-centered way. This life changing experience awakened a deep spiritual need inside of me to become a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, with a specialty in religious, spiritual, and transpersonal issues and experiences. I am now gratefully providing individual and group mental, emotional and spiritual support for those with similar exceptional experiences.

I send a very special thank you and I love you to my Granny, Annie Dean Garner. 

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Patient’s Pen - Au Naturale: Adding Holistic Medicine to My Health Care Routine

**This blog has been posted to GrowHealChange, the blog of TRU Integrative Health & Wellness, on behalf of one of their patients.  This patient wishes to remain anonymous.

Taking the first step into holistic medicine was a large leap for me.  I was not raised in the stereotypical “natural” households where we shunned deodorant or ate only what we grew.  My youth was a traditional one -- we went to the doctor, his word was law and the medicines we took were mandatory.  But as an adult, I was continually hearing about natural healing and wondered, do I need to go this route?  What are the benefits?  Why isn’t traditional medicine helping me completely with my medical issues?  What kind of reaction will I get from friends and family?

But, my medical issues are my own.  And when, several months ago, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, I knew the medicine my MD prescribed was not enough.  I knew that I needed to be doing more to restore my body to whole.  And I learned that “natural” and “holistic” do not mean the “crunchy,” “granola” way of life I believed in my youth.

I started with research - what is natural medicine and how would it benefit me?  I borrowed books from my friend including I’m Too Young for This, a great foundation for those seeking information on hormone and thyroid issues, written by Suzanne Somers, and Grain Brain by David Permutter, MD.  These books gave me the confidence to walk the line between traditional medicine and natural medicine, and showed me how food plays an integral part in healing for many.

From there, I took the recommendation from this same (helpful, lovely) friend and found a local integrative care group.  They took a myriad of tests and provided me with answers… my hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s, an underlying autoimmune disease.  They prescribed a protocol which included prescription medicine as well as supplements to treat the deficiencies in my body that went along with Hashimoto’s.  

For various reasons, things did not work out with my integrative healthcare group.  I needed to change to a practitioner who would spend time with me, answer my questions and provide me the help I need as I need it.  So I took my labs, my research and my desire to get better to Dr. Robert Truax at TRU Integrative Health & Wellness.  Going forward, I am going to blog about my path to wellness.  From what I have learned and accepted as I have become proactive about my health,  there is no quick fix to Hashimoto’s - not via mainstream medicine or holistic medicine.  Hard work takes time and I need to resolve to be patient and intentional if this is going to work.  The blog will be anonymous, for confidentiality reasons, but it will be a nonetheless truthful account of me taking my health into my own hands.  I encourage you to do the same.

**This blog has been posted to GrowHealChange, the blog of TRU Integrative Health & Wellness, on behalf of one of their patients.  This patient wishes to remain anonymous.