Often my clients come in therapy asking this question: Why do we suffer in life?
Years back I was convinced that mental illness is caused by genetic inheritance or chemical unbalance. My clinical experience has showed me over the years that that is not the case at all.
Today I value the biopsychosocial model and I recognize that our suffering is caused by the interaction between our minds, bodies, and socio-environmental factors combined with our spiritual disconnection.
LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT THE ROLE OF THE MIND.
What we know by now is that human mental activity flows naturally between different levels of consciousness and runs automatically a large number of mental processes like perception, imagination, motivation, volition, memory, reasoning, speech, problem solving, creativity, etc.
Our mind’s main preoccupation is however thinking.
We mostly think about the past and the future and very often we miss the experience of the present moment. Research shows that 95% of our thoughts are recycled and an average of 80% of them are negative, self-sabotaging and disempowering.
In that environment human mind can become a prison and create terrible distress.
A stressful mind is changing the chemistry in the body and subsequently is suppressing the immune system which opens the door to illness. To prevent that we need to intentionally stimulate our minds with new ideas, emotions and experiences. Numerous researches in neuroplasticity have shown that the brain is able to expand and create new brain pathways and circuits and through this rewiring process we can reprogram our minds the way we want.
WHAT ABOUT THE BODY?
This is taking us into the most fascinating story.
Imagine your brilliantly designed body starting from one very intelligent cell that multiplied in a community of 50 trillion cells on its own. Yes, this is what you are made of and I am not any different, nor the other close to 8 billion people on the plannet.
We each started life in one cell that multiplied by itself and then differentiated in numerous organs that regenerate all the time with the help of the immune system.
However, we are no longer subject to the DNA inside our cells.
The science of epigenetics is telling us that our DNA is indeed loaded with some inherited predispositions, but it is not necessarily leading to a disease unless the social or psychological factors trigger the illness.
The findings of the modern science of epigenetics is mindblowing.
We know now that our inner and outer enviornment have a direct impact on how our genes express themselves. That means that we can intentionally change the chemistry in our bodies and control our health through therapy, new habits and life style changes.
The human body is definitely capable of healing itself.
THEN WE NEED TO CONSIDER THE SOCIAL FACTORS
If the internal and external environment impact our functioning down to the celular level they are responsible for our health and illness too. Social factors like housing, income, equality and inclusion are closely correlated with stress and control the genetic expression of your cells and our overall health.
Can we control the external environment?
Very little. Death of a significant other, abuse or neglect, poor living conditions, financial problems, inequality, prejudice and discrimination can happen to any of us. They lead to trauma that takes very long time to heal.
What about our inner world?
A negative image of self, a disorganised life, a job change or unemployment, divorce or betrayal can influence our emotions, thinking and behaviour and lead to suffering and a range of mental conditions.
We need to take responsibility for our wellbeing.
When we intentionally manage stress well our neurological system sends messages to the endocrine system to release good hormones in the body which are further helping our immune system to create health promoting rather than disease producing cells.
As we’ve seen it already the mind, body and environment are interwined.
THE KEY TO WELLBEING IS SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Think of someone who takes care of the body and manages stress quite well in both their inner and outer enviornments.
Yet, they feel the emptiness inside.
They struggle to connect with their sense of meaning and purpose in life and cannot find their place in the world nor connect with their real self beyond their conditioning and the labels placed on them.
That person is going through a spiritual disconnection.
Life is difficult when the spirit is not acknowledged. I met many people that had a lot on a material level as well as a good number of personal and professional achievements, but they were not happy.
Happiness is a feeling defined by a set of positive emotions.
Like all emotions and feelings happiness happens in the soul or the spirit, whatever you want to call it. Happiness does not take place in the mind. It is true that the mind and the body help us make sense of our experiences, but emotions belong to the soul.
The mind makes us aware of our emotions and feelings.
And then the body receives the information of that experience in the form of physiological sensations. Because we are whole beings. We are not our minds. We are not our bodies. We are complex beings made of body, mind and spirit and fully anchored into our social world.
This is why my work is a 4-dimension approch.
I learned in time that whatever the cause of our suffering all parts of us are affected by the hurt and in order to heal we need to come back into our wholeness. The origin of the word “healing” is exactely this: to make whole again.
As such, I integrate in my expansive therapy work the theory and practice from the main three schools of though in psychology (psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and humanistic) with transpersonal psychology and spirituality.
This makes my practice a 4-dimension holistic and integrative approach that considers the mind-body-spirit-environment factors equally as both the source of human suffering and its healing.
An expansive therapy package helps you restore your life to its entirety:
- allows you to explore your life in your wholeness and depth.
- offers you a platform to adjust your mindset.
- helps you understand and embrace your biology and human nature.
- enables you to spiritually reconnect with your real self.
- teach you how to develop and maintain happy and fulfilling relationships.
And when you are whole again you feel at peace, and you open to joy and happiness.