Psyche comes from the Greek psykhe, meaning soul, spirit, breath, mind, life.
It was translated into Latin as anima, giving us the word animate.
To have soul, then, is to be animated - to be alive.
If you can't see it, it doesn't exist.
In an understandable drive to be taken seriously in the world of science, psychology had to sever ties to the supernatural - and, by extension, to the soul. Using a word like soul too often invites ridicule in the hard sciences. We all know that if you want to run with the hard sciences, you can't mention a word like that.
Consequently, psychology became known as the study of the mind and behavior. Then the mind became too elusive, and psychology moved into the study of the brain.
In essence, psychology lost its soul.
Trust the process.
The study of the brain has advanced science into finally catching up with what wisdom traditions have known for thousands of years. Fascinating new research in the field of neuropsychology and physics are allowing us to have a better understanding of important healing techniques, once under the umbrella of the mystical.
Science is evolving and expanding its boundaries into the world of intention, meditation, mindfulness, prayer, the energy field around the body, sound, movement, and matter as vibration in all its various forms. The study of the brain has led to being able to see what happens in the brain when, for instance, we practice mindfulness.
Let's redefine spirituality - not as a bizarre and magical experience, but as the unfolding of wisdom and maturity, naturally revealed as we peel away layers of the unhealthy ego or false persona.
Psychotherapy and spirituality are intimately connected, both offering important and necessary tools for deep healing and awakening. As you travel down one pathway, you inevitably encounter the other. We move from false persona to healthy ego - healthy self - and into the ultimate true self.
The word therapy (therapeia in Greek) means to serve, to care for.
Psychotherapy could, therefore, be translated to mean care of the soul.
Psychotherapy helps polish and widen the lens we see the world through, and with that focused vision, clarify patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It offers us shadow work and tools for change and understanding.
Spirituality offers the ability to cultivate intimacy and loving kindness with all we are. It teaches us to nurture and develop the inner observer, present-moment awareness, non-judgment, and heart-centered thinking.
Psychology and Spirituality are both geared towards returning body, mind and spirit to their natural functioning, steering us to become fully functioning human beings, running on all cylinders. They are two parts in an essential process in creating wholeness of being - a process of integration, deep healing, and awakening.
The mind, body, and spirit are connected - when out of balance, the whole system is affected. Let's not only shed layers of the ego one coat at a time, let's also take the straightjacket off of the study of psychology.
Let's put the soul back into psyche.
Amberlea Shelton, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, Texas, blending principles of spirituality with high professional standards of psychotherapy.
To learn more or to book an appointment: www.PsycheSpiritSoul.com