by Marc Felix, Ph.D.
As a therapist who has been sitting across from people for more than three decades, I was skeptical about online therapy. Wouldn’t I miss the subtleties of body language and the countless non-verbal expressions that make up the majority of human communication? Could the technology transmit those nuances? Despite the research that has shown that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy, I needed to find out from my own experience. I was happily surprised to discover how much is gained with online therapy.
Life is unpredictable. Always has been. But the current pandemic has added a new and stressful dimension to life’s unpredictability. “When will it be safe to go back to normal?” is a question that has no definitive answer. Psychotherapy, among its many benefits, gives people a way of coping with stress. We need this now more than ever.
Having the time for inner work on ourselves or our relationship is a golden opportunity provided by quarantine. Yet many people don’t have the tools to do this and need the guidance of a skilled therapist. But sitting in a therapist’s office doesn’t mesh with social distancing.
How can people get the benefits of therapy without the risk of contracting this highly contagious virus?
Online therapy to the rescue. Phone, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and many other video platforms provide a means of doing therapy remotely.
It turns out that there are many advantages for clients being at home. There is a comfort to being in your own home. Often the formality of entering the therapist’s office creates a sense of being a guest who must have good manners in someone else’s home. Doing therapy from your own home allows a client to feel casual, and be more themselves.
What about the possible interruptions? At first I thought this would be a disadvantage. Children or pets suddenly coming into the session seemed like it would hurt the continuity. But on the contrary these interruptions actually give me additional insight into the nature of my client’s home life. I can get a look at some of the important beings that they deal with on a daily basis. I’m able to observe interactions that never would have happened in the well-protected space of my office. Indeed I gain very useful additional information from these “interruptions.”
And of course geography is no longer an issue. Clients who relocate or who travel throughout the U.S. or even other countries for their jobs can still have consistent regular therapy. In addition, hazardous driving weather is no longer an obstacle to getting to your therapy appointment. And obviously there’s the time you save by not having to travel at all.
I now enthusiastically offer online therapy knowing from experience that this way of working adds a welcome new dimension to counseling that allows me to learn more about my clients and more effectively guide them through their healing work
The Awareness of Spirit
by Marc Felix, Ph.D.
This afternoon I was sitting on my deck looking at the sky, engrossed in the white clouds that were defying gravity, levitating in the blue sky. Looking at the sky is for me a portal to Spirit. My consciousness spreads out through the sky, my sense of separateness evaporates, and I feel the omnipresence of Spirit. The starry night sky works equally well.
As Marshall McLuhan said, “We don’t know who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t the fish.”
I don’t know the context in which Marshall McLuhan made that statement, but I think it applies beautifully to Spirit. Like fish in water, we are filled and surrounded by Spirit. And like fish in water, people aren’t aware of Spirit. And as fish need water, people need Spirit.
When it comes to Spirit, we have to confess our ignorance and acknowledge the limitations of our minds and our language. We will never understand the Mystery of Spirit any more than we will understand the mystery of the night sky. The invitation isn’t to solve the Mystery, but rather to enter into the Mystery of Spirit. This requires an open mind. And, even more, this requires an open heart. The saying isn’t “God is intellect”; the saying is “God is Love”.
Spirit is the essence of who we are and the Ground of Being. Spirit is who is reading these words. Spirit is seeing through all eyes, hearing through all ears, and touching through all hands.
Certain things can prepare us to feel our oneness with Spirit. It’s helpful to do our psychological work, integrate our dark side, resolve our personality conflicts. Eat a healthy diet. How can you light up a luminous consciousness on junk food? It’s also helpful to exercise, relax, play, and breathe. Otherwise all our constrictions on different levels can dull our perception.
Honor spirit by maintaining a spiritual practice through meditation, reading sacred texts, yoga, inner work, music, gardening, or sacred relationship. This deepening of awareness allows us to access our true nature, which is happy, loving, and full of wonder,
I believe that part of everyone’s purpose on this planet is to wake up and celebrate the Spirit, that which is infinite and eternal.
This present moment is a spiritual moment. Right now, can’t you sense something shimmering, larger and deeper than the dramas of our lives?
I don’t know if fish will ever be aware of water and celebrate it’s wetness. I do know that we can be refresh and re-enchant our lives with the awareness of the the Great Mystery, which is all the play of Spirit.