Referred by colleagues in the healing arts, prospective clients often contact me without really knowing what an intuitive counselor can do for them. Struggling with health concerns, depression, anxiety, or detachment from their everyday lives, few of them realize that their symptoms may be a call for them to access the deep inner self. I have found that each individual is rich in symbolic language. Just as we collectively interpret a red light to mean, ‘Stop!’ any form of discomfort can be a sign from our spirit to cease regular activity. A headache or a panic attack may be an urgent message, just as important to one’s safety and wellbeing as a stop sign. What is the message? That’s to be determined.
Today, charismatic visionaries like Caroline Myss, Depok Chopra, Angeles Arrien, and Clarissa Pinkola Estes agree that much personal pain and unsettling emotions are actually directing a person to shake up his or her life; to break out of stagnation or misery. As an intuitive counselor, I support clients in developing the skills needed to use the energy data that their minds or bodies give them. After seeing an intuitive counselor, a client may discover that yes, her headache often means she’s gone too long between meals and her low-blood sugar has dropped, but it can also mean she’s gone too long without doing something sweet, like going out with her friends or hiking in the woods.
By validating the unseen and being open to the unexpected, intuitive counselors are able to assure clients that inner guidance is always available. The intuitive voice is the authentic one. Yet, why is it so hard for some of us to access it? Why does fear or resistance often rise up, preventing us from tapping into our psyche’s realm?
Suppose that when we are very young, our intuition is fully intact, but untried. What if a child playing in the park notices a man asking his mother for the time of day? What if the little boy feels a chill along his spine as he intuits, “That stranger is dangerous,” and runs to tug on her hand, pulling her away? If Mom reacts by saying, “Oh, no honey …you are wrong…he is a nice man,” the child could start to ignore his warning sensations and doubt the intuitive voice.
If Mom validates her son’s spontaneous response by later asking, “What made you feel like that?” she could help her child build a personal intuitive library; cultivating the self esteem that coincides with intuitive discernment. Sadly, by dismissing their children’s true feelings, many good parents help to erode the intuition their kids need to live authentic adult lives.
I remember entering an art museum with my eight year old daughter. She turned to me, saying, “This is a bad place, Mama.” I acknowledged her experience and we decided to continue in. The first pictures we saw were of blood and death. The energy was dark and depressing. We looked at each other, turned, and left. We have shared many similar intuitive experiences over the years. Now at age 27, she is one of the savviest women I know.
Many dismissive incidents throughout life contribute to shutting our intuition down. It’s not all Mom’s fault. So, what do intuitive counselors do to help people reconnect with their intuitive sensibilities? People who come to me are often having a difficult time, feeling lost or out-of-control, so I assist them in identifying what they are grateful for. Gratitude seems to open the door to intuitive development. Although my clients may be distrustful of the unknown, I help them relax into the mystery of their current experience. An attitude of curiosity rather than control facilitates the flow of intuitive data.
In my intuitive counseling practice I facilitate folks to listen to their bodies, minds, emotions and spirits. When they come to me struggling with chronic pain, for example, a common symbolic interpretation identifies that they have remained too long in an unfulfilling job or given to others to the exclusion of giving to themselves.
I work with energetic anatomy using the template proved by the chakras; energy centers located within and extending beyond the physical body. For example: persistent neck pain brings my curiosity to the fifth chakra which is associated with the throat area physically and, spiritually, with challenges related to communication, will, and choice. I ask, “What choices have you made?” or “Where have you controlled others through your will?” In my course Energetic Anatomy: The Chakra Template I’m always impressed by how my students are able to use chakras to further their personal growth.
I often use favorite fairy tales and dreams, relying on venues rich in archetypal knowledge. Archetypal data helps to further the integration of a person’s symbolic landscape into a concrete understanding of self in an everyday sort of way. Archetypes are energies animated through what Jung called “the collective unconscious.” One example of an archetype is that of the Child. When clients are feeling vulnerable, we might explore how the archetype of the Child might be present in the moment and that conversation may have some very useful information for the client to concretely use in their lives.
Other archetypal venues include Astrology and the Tarot. Rich with symbolic meaning and standing the test of time, these domains resonate in the psyche. The indigenous peoples’ symbolic honoring of animal totems also are archetypal influences which populate the above mentioned ‘collective unconscious’. These archetypal references are valuable tools to help us in how we choose to approach the world, our pain, our suffering, or our good fortune. Working with these tools honors the soul’s encouragement towards self-inquiry and its appetite for symbolic insight.
Working in person or over the phone, intuitive counselors can create and hold a space to help people move beyond challenges into a conscious life in which choices are based on their inner guidance.
Kim Illig is an Intuitive Counselor, distinguished with certification from both Caroline Myss and Norman Shealy. With over 30 years experience in the healing arts working with individuals, groups and organizations, Kim brings extensive knowledge and skills to her practice. She invites all to "integrate the intuitive everyday." Please visit her web site: www.kimillig.com