INTEGRAL PSYCHOTHERAPY: COUNSELING TIPS
The Healing Space
The healing space is a space whose consciousness and ambience automatically facilitates healing. It motivates the patient to ‘will’ for recovery, to recover one’s faith and trust, to overcome fear ,to have a sense of security and to make one receptive to the action of higher forces. It simultaneously inspires the therapist to perform from one’s highest poise and expertise, to act as a conscious channel for transmitting the healing energy in the cosmic consciousness and to invoke the savior Grace.
One would naturally think that such an ideal healing space would be best located in a spiritual retreat, in a hermitage or near a temple altar. Not
so. The spatial consciousness that facilitates the settling of peace and bliss in a highly motivated spiritual aspirant might not be necessarily conducive for a diseased body or a disorganized mind-set.
The architecture of ancient temples in India and Egypt had in-built provisions for healing. It is interesting that these temples had often special courtyards and corridors for healing that were usually outside the sanctum sanctorum. This is presumably because the concentration of energies inside the sanctum sanctorum would be too strong for the disharmony and disequilibrium in the outer being of diseased subjects. Healing per se needs a specific set-up in its own right.
How do we design a healing space? It cannot be constructed and offered as a consumer package in a corporate set-up. It grows gradually with the personal growth of the therapist, the refinement of the therapeutic expertise, the facilitation of receptivity in the clientele, the ambience of the therapeutic milieu. It manifests at an optimal time in the history of the therapeutic journey.
The healing space is not constructed by brick and mortar. It is constructed primarily by elements in consciousness. The bricks and mortars are only external props. Ideally, the externalities must be supported by what is natural to the geography and topography of the location. It may be brick and mortar, it may be the flora and fauna, or it may be rocks and fountains. It must be in consonance with
the natural habitat.
The healing space has to be sensitive to balance the ethical and aesthetic elements in culture. The ethical dimension is
honored by the value-systems prevailing in the healing space. There should be no feeling of being commercially exploited by the healing system. There should also be no feeling of being emotionally manipulated by the therapist. There should be no discrimination of patients based on their social or economic status. Equality must be perceived to be absolute in the healing space. The saint and the sinner , the scientist and the mystic, the professor and the businessman, the aged and the child, the male and the female must have equal
weightage, merit equal attention, deserve equal respect.
The aesthetic dimension depends upon the premise forwarded by The Mother that - Beauty has a natural and spontaneous affinity to the physical plane of consciousness. As all illnesses, even the psychosomatic and the psychiatric have to ultimately express through the physical substrate, and hence the aesthetic appeal to the physical plane of consciousness must be designed with special care.
This would range from aesthetically designed furniture, ergonomically designed sitting arrangements that do not disturb the body contours, choice of soft colours, the playing of healing music in the background, the appropriate placing of meaningful flowers, the placement of relevant pictures and objects of art. This is not all. Patients who are sensitive, creative and aesthetically tuned must be dealt in such a way that their creative repertoire, their finesse is not thwarted by the dulling effect of drugs.
The externalities of the healing space need personalized attention. Thus the waiting space and the therapeutic space in the same set-up may be designed differently with different objectives. For instance, the waiting space in a clinic catering to a larger population of psychological problems in Kolkata (West Bengal, India) had rustic flooring in a natural set-up. This was intentionally done as clients with psychological problems often tend to lose touch with reality. The natural and rustic feel imparted by designer tiles and artificial trees was a sort of balancing act before the entry to the actual healing chamber. In contrast, the healing space where therapeutic work was carried out had very different flooring with abstract tiles that had a glossy, impersonal and cool touch. The objective was that the patients should not become dependent on the therapist –a common problem with psychologically disturbed subjects. Each healing centre has its own specific objective and modus operandi and the healing space has to be innovatively designed to cater to its needs.
It would be ideal to design specific spaces that facilitate healing at different planes of consciousness. Thus, for instance, there could be a space conducive to the healing of disharmonies at the physical plane of consciousness. What would be the characteristics of such a
space? The physical plane is marked by mechanical repetitiveness and resistance to change. This is necessary to impart stability to the bodily frame. However, this stability comes at the cost of receptivity and flexibility. As a result, it is difficult to root out illness from this plane. A space that would facilitate healing at the physical plane must give a sense of solidity as well as a periodic cleavage of forms. The impression might be similar to the phenomenon of a fountain springing up from the bosom of a rock. Or else it might
represent the consciousness of the formidable Ganesha whose form can be broken a million times and yet retain its uniqueness.
A space designed to facilitate healing of the vital plane of consciousness that holds the emotional repertoire and the faculty of volition needs to balance the fluctuations of emotions, the variation of mood, the inconsistencies in goal-setting, the indecisiveness in life, the weakness of will-power, the loosening of morality, the usurpation of values by an architecture that gives the impression of stability emerging from a flux of turmoil and agitation. An incorporation of aesthetic sensitivity is needed to reinforce the therapeutic quality of the space. The consciousness and aura of goddess Durga smiting the Titan can be incorporated in the designing of this space.
The problem with the mind is its faculty of doubt and the inability to emerge from logical incompatibilities together with its egoistic bias. Its greatest asset is its acting as a medium for manifesting
creativity. A healing space for cognitive problems should stimulate creativity and at the same time induce a sense of humility. A sense of vastness should be imparted along with points symbolizing focused concentration. The consciousness of Shiva, the Lord of the universe who has no inhibition in begging or the consciousness of Buddha, acting out the impersonal in the personal sphere, can be sources of inspiration for designing this space.
There will be a small group of clients who need to undertake along with the healer a therapeutic journey to a fourth dimensional space representing the centre of the being. Such a space will manifest the bliss in creation, the joy in
life. This journey is primarily a journey in consciousness. Nevertheless, the healing space should facilitate this journey. The designing of this space is a challenge. It can be created in many ways. In the past, a spiral, labyrinthine passage was often used at some point of the journey. As one progressively traversed that passage, one grew up in consciousness. This
centre represents the soul-space in Integral Health. It is there where Mary holds in her bosom the Divine Child; it is there that Krishna is lost in rapturous ecstasy.
Dr. Soumitra Basu
Courtesy : Namah (www.namahjournal.com)
Date of Update: 3-Dec-11