By Kristen McGuiness How a Shaman Helped Me Deal With My Deepest Insecurities and Severe Addiction These methods are unconventional, but they’ve kept me sane and sober. April 4, 2014 The following article first appeared in The Fix. Also on TheFix.com: Brain Restoration: Too Good to be True for Addiction and Disease?; Howard Dean and the Politics of Recovery ; Tap Tap Tap: A Path to Healing and Recovery. Lidia leans over me and shakes her rattle, asking me to breathe in deep to the child I was. I feel the heavy stone as it sits on my belly, the scent of copal and green tea heavy in the room. I have done a lot of things to get sober, but in many ways, this hour with Lidia has kept me there. When I was barely a year sober, I had gotten a traffic ticket, had my wallet stolen, and was dumped by a guy all in the space of one week. My boss found me crying in my office one night, and offered to introduce me to someone. At first, I thought she meant a potential love interest, but she meant Lidia, her therapist. coque iphone 2019 As I quickly found out, Lidia was not only a licensed counselor, but also a Curandera, trained in the Shamanic energy work of the Peruvian and Huichol native peoples. The work that began that day in Chatsworth has carried me through my sobriety, and at the same time is deeply connected to it. Because what Lidia has taught me is that our souls are hardwired to our mental impulses. The belief systems which have been handed down from my Hungarian, Italian and Irish ancestors still live in my actions today and the lies that my forebears told themselves, and their children, in order to survive often echo in my own behaviors. And like the DNA that spirals through my chromosomal identity, those stories create the spine of my resentments, my fears, and how I have learned to love.On my first trip, she had me talk about where I was at in life—describing the frustration of my work life, my love life, and the childhood that had been so key in shaping the choices that led to both. Despite her loose white linen garments, and the hippie decorum of her home (nestled in the middle of suburban Chatsworth), it could have been any therapy session anywhere. But then she pulled down the shades, turned off the lights, pulled out her circle of sacred stones, and we began dipping into the shades of consciousness that pool around that desire to drink something or take something in order feel better. On that first day with Lidia when she had me choose a stone and then laid it on my body before pulling out a rattle and helping me channel the energy passed down by generations and solidified by my own beliefs and perspectives, I saw what I had yet to find anywhere else: the neurosis that lies beneath the addiction. And together Lidia and I began to heal it. At one time, I saw Lidia every month, but today, I only see her three to four times a year. The reason is simple, I have gotten better. But life still comes up. Through my time with Lidia, I left a job I did not love for one I did, I wrote and published my first book, I created a career as a writer, I fell in love and got married, I moved to Paris for a Masters degree, and came home to Los Angeles to new and exciting adventures in my career and in life. Now, as I prepare to embark on the next phase – getting pregnant and starting a family – I turn to Lidia again. We discuss my need for control as I have been trying to time my pregnancy with a Chinese gender predictor chart and the most desired astrological signs. That would be a control issue, I believe. Lidia again challenges me to find why this need for control still pervades my life. She explains to me what I had yet to realize myself, “It sounds like an addictive behavior. You’re compulsively trying to plan for life when you know that life doesn’t work that way.” Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yes, I know that tune. It doesn’t take me long to trace back this addiction. When I was growing up, my father was imprisoned for marijuana smuggling. Nearly every year, he would give me a date for his release – June 4, 1988, November 10, 1990, August 30, 1996. I know these dates like the back of my hand. I would plan for them, dream about them, illustrate them in perfect detail. The day my father would be free, the day my daddy would come home. But then that date would pass, and my father would remain incarcerated, as he had been since I was four. The habit is old. If there is something I want, I will immediately feel the need to design its acquisition. I will formulate dates, I will plan big events, I will want to control what was never, ever in my control in the first place. And l do this all with the mind of an addict: obsessively, compulsively, unable to stop even when I know it’s not good for me, let alone those around me (just ask my husband). Lidia has me get on the floor and choose a stone. It isn’t as strange as it used to be. The process is now comforting, like settling in before a massage. I choose a strangely molded one that looks like a purplish brain. Lidia places it on my belly and we begin to channel the energy that can either hold back or inspire my deepest potential. coque iphone I begin to talk, but its not really a deliberate dialogue, it’s born from that liquid consciousness – the one that speaks in scents and colors and not in language or reason. coque iphone en ligne And in that stream of thought, I recognize the games I play with finance, with my relationship, in my career. My unending need to plan vacations and track dates and calculate numbers and premeditate fantasies and goals and babies in ways that are not necessarily healthy. The time passes quickly. The tears have come and gone and I am breathing deeply on Lidia’s floor when suddenly I feel a ripple of energy run up along the left side of my shoulder and around my neck. It’s a strange experience, one I have never had before while meditating. Lidia shakes the final spell of her rattle, and closes the ceremony. I open my eyes to see her sitting above me, looking down. “The weirdest thing just happened,” she tells me. “As you were laying there at the end, I saw this image of a swan wrap itself around your neck. coque iphone xs max It was so clear, I could see it move up your shoulder and then your two necks intertwined.” She laughs, “I wondered what it was going to do with its little webbed claws.” I gasp. This is why I come here. This is why I continue to come here. Because beneath the addiction, beneath the twelve steps, beneath the recovery and the sobriety, is the magic of being alive. And Lidia and I dance together in that. coque iphone I tell her how I felt the same thing, and I realize what the feeling was, “It was feathers. I could feel feathers moving alongside my body.” Fuck yeah, magic. After we get up, and close with a final prayer, turning the room back into one that could double as any therapist’s office anywhere, she pulls out a book on medicine animals. In it, we read about the swan, “Swan… The power of woman entering Sacred Space, touching future, yet to come, bringing eternal grace.” Kristen McGuiness is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Fix who wrote previously about old timers in AA and sober travel, among other topics. She is the author of 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life.
Cynthia Richmond is a board-certified behavioral therapist, author, educator, television host, radio host, voice-over artist, columnist and speaker. Cynthia has written a weekly column for the Arizona Republic. coque iphone x “In Your Dreams,” which first ran weekly in the Los Angeles Times for more than three years. coque iphone soldes In addition her column interpreting the dreams of school children ran for over a year and solicited invitations to speak at schools throughout Southern California. For two years Ms. Richmond was the popular host of the daily, live, national television program, State of Mind on the NBC cable television network from New York. coque iphone She has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, The View with Barbara Walters, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Beyond with James Van Praagh, Donny & Marie, Leeza, EntertainmentTonight, The Today Show, Men Are From Mars, Montel, Gordon Elliot, Maury, Ricki Lake, Soap Talk, Inside Edition, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News Network and on many other local and national television programs. Cynthia was the 2010 Visionary Award recipient from NAWBO, the National Association of Women Business Owners. Entertainment Tonight called her “One of the country’s foremost authorities on dreams and their meanings. coque iphone x Cynthia was the dream expert on Infinite Quest, an online university created by psychic medium John Edward throughout its existence. She speaks to groups around the country and does private sessions via electronic media. coque iphone x “Our nightly dreams are our connection to Source, they offer us guidance, encouragement, inspiration and connection to departed loved ones. coque iphone en ligne Writing our dreams down when we wake preserves them for interpretation and continued benefits.
Stephanie Jourdan, Ph.D. has a private practice as an astrologer, tarot reader, archetypal therapist, and Inner Guide Initiator. She is also the President of The National League of Medical Hypnotherapists and the Editor of Brainwave. Her private practice encompasses mythology, archetypal psychology, astrology, Ericksonian hypnosis, and tarot. She is also trained in homeopathy, sound therapy, aromatherapy, NLP, and Neuro-Emotional Technique. A paid astrologer from the age of 16, she grew up with the advantage of four generations of homeopathic physicians on her father’s side and a mother that encouraged hypnosis as a household modality. coque iphone en ligne Stephanie pioneered billing hypnotherapy as a medical procedure after proving the ability to regenerate her left index fingertip following a work-related accident in a medical environment. The accident spurred her to take up hypnotherapy as a full-time profession in 1988. coque iphone 2019 She has an unusual professional background in advertising, health care, astrology, hypnotherapy, and teaching. She personally trained with the late Edwin Steinbrecher (Inner Guide Meditation) and Don Campbell (The Mozart Theory.) Dr. coque iphone xr Jourdan is recognized in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. Personal “As a child, my mother regularly encouraged hypnosis and imagery. She recommended that I straighten my teeth with self-hypnosis and I did. My father was the son, nephew and grandson of three outstanding American homeopath physicians, so the practice of homeopathy was an everyday skill in our home. Homeopathy and my mother’s open-minded approach to life engendered a belief that through faith anything is possible.” Chronology “Thanks to the influence of students at UCSD, where my mother worked, I began astrological and tarot studies at the age of nine.” First exposed to hypnosis through Roy Masters at the age of ten. Wrote an astrological column for my high school newspaper and began offering readings professionally for fellow students and teachers. coque iphone en ligne “I was rejected by the American Culinary Institute because I was not a man, so I followed my mother’s advice and went into banking. Learned to spread financial statements, along with many other practical skills. “Worked in Marketing for the largest third-party insurance administrator in the nation. Learned more than I needed to know about billing and claims management for medical, dental, drug, and workers’ comp insurance. This later served me well when I introduced medical billing to the hypnotherapeutic community. coque iphone 6 Decided I needed a creative outlet and took a job in advertising. Through a series of bizarre opportunities, I quickly moved up through the ranks and was named executive vice president of business development at the end of two years. A conflict of interest prompted me to leave and start my own ad agency: Jourdan, Winkler and Tate Advertising.” 1983: Studied astrology and archetypal therapy with renowned astrologer Edwin Steinbrecher, author of The Inner Guide Meditation. 1988: Gave up advertising and began practice as an astrologer, motivational speaker and hypnotherapist. 1988 – 1989: Feature columnist for the Conscious Living Guide magazine. Most of the articles focused on replacing fear with positive thought. 1988 – 1989: Studied sound therapy with leading musicologist, Don Campbell (author of numerous books, most notably The Mozart Effect.) 1989: Joined forces with a high-profile acupuncturist in Beverly Hills, in a new treatment approach for AIDS, using the latest theories in psychoneuroimmunobiology. Later recognized by Who’s Who. 1990: Began working under the supervision of two dentists rendering hypnotherapy. coque iphone 1991- 1994: Worked under the supervision of a psychologist rendering hypnotherapy. Specialized in the treatment of anorexia nervosa with a new mythological paradigm, which was later recognized by Who’s Who. 1992 – 2000: Worked under the supervision of an osteopath and a sports medicine doctor rendering medical hypnotherapy. Utilized information from my professional background in writing medical and dental insurance proposals to establish protocols for billing hypnotherapy. 1994: Regular guest and authority on hypnosis on NBC’s morning show, The Other Side. 1998: Joined faculty and launched new course in aromatherapy at the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB) in West Los Angeles. 1999: Listed in Who’s Who in America, West, 27th Edition. 2000 – 2004: Joined American Institute of Hypnotherapy as a faculty member. 2000 – 2008: Listed in Who’s Who of American Women, 22nd Edition. Formal Education Diploma – Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 1989. Bachelor of Arts degree, 1996. Certification – Brief Therapy, 1997. coque iphone 7 Masters/Doctorate degree in Philosophy, American Pacific University, 2001. Books, CDs and Tapes Written for New Focus Institute and HSC, Inc.
Stephanie has had a private practice as an astrologer and archetypal therapist since 1987. She was prompted to change careers by a pivotal reading from a trance channel in 1981. She sold her advertising agency and went back to school to study clinical hypnotherapy, Jungian psychology and astrology. She is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide Astrology Dictionary published by Penguin, 2010, which received rave reviews. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications for more than 20 years. She was a regular guest on The Other Side, an NBC Daytime show about the paranormal that aired in 1994 through 1995. She has additional certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Inner Guide Initiation, Medical Hypnotherapy, Aromatherapy, and Gem Elixir Therapy. She is currently writing a comprehensive book about the archetypal natures of gemstones and minerals.”
Dr. Nicki J. Monti is not your typical therapist. Dr. Nicki instantly gets to the core of presented issues, and immediately provides a clear path for genuine change. Her no-nonsense approach combines with extraordinary compassion and good humor to offer a clear, authoritative voice free of judgment and full of possibility. She quickly brings forward what others have somehow missed and then offers practical tools for truly productive resolution. She uses wit and her own experiences to reveal what’s undermining you, and to get you beyond being ‘stuck in your own story.’
Dr. Nicki conducts individual, group and corporate sessions. Her successful book series about being Stuck In The Story No More, her Television appearances, her articles, and podcasts have made her into a household name. Dr. Nicki has been seen on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Millionaire Matchmaker, Love Handles and many other Reality Television shows where her compassion, honesty and genuine expertise shine an instant light on circumstances and offer actual change.
Psychotherapist & Author
Dr. Nicki changes lives. But that’s not what she’d say. She would tell you that she’s the catalyst, that her clients change their own lives. That her clients accept the difficult challenge of examining their belief systems and exposing change. It’s no wonder that Dr. Nicki is known as “The Thinking Person’s Doctor.”
Throughout her work, Dr. Nicki uses her extraordinary compassion, sense of fun and humor, and years of experience to bring light to the basis of her work: that everything we do from start to finish is about relationships – the relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have to others. How we play out those relationships decides how our life feels from moment to moment, from day to day, and from decade to decade.
Dr. Nicki learned through her own experiences that none of us need feel defeated by the experiences of our lives. Everything that happens gives to us more than it takes from us, if we know how to take what is given.
Whether working with her one-on-one, using her new book and workbook, or attending one of her ground breaking workshops, Dr. Nicki provides people with the tools they need to identify their defenses – solutions for coping with, or neutralizing, defensiveness and alternative ways to deal with specific defensive reactions.
Dr. Nicki’s credentials are impressive. But more impressive than her credentials is the woman herself. Dr. Nicki does not walk into a room unnoticed. Her life-altering work has impacted the lives of many people. She has been described as an in-your-face therapist, a description that makes her proud.
“Directness and truth-telling are two of my basic professional tools” says Dr. Nicki.
Dr. Nicki was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of traveling sales people. When she was seven she went away to boarding schools for 11 years, first to Ojai, then on to the East Coast. After finishing school, she spent a year in Europe before coming back to America.
At age 37, after working at many different jobs, and on the good advice of her goddaughter, Nicki went back to school to get her psychology credentials. She was sitting in an intake session and in a flash of truth realized: “This is it.” She knew that she had found her calling.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin (B.A. in Communications), Sierra University (M.A. in Psychology), and Pacific Western University (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology), Dr. Nicki received additional training at the highly esteemed Southern California Counseling Clinic and at the Sojourn Shelter for Abused Women and Children. She also has studied with such innovators as Hal Stone, creator of voice dialogue, and internationally recognized author and teacher of self-realization, W. Brugh Joy, M.D.
In 1987, Dr. Nicki began her private clinical practice, which includes lectures, workshops, and courses on a wide range of topics. She works with individuals, couples, and groups, specializing in interpersonal relationships and addictions (to drugs, food, money, people, sex, work).
In late 2002, Dr. Nicki released her long awaited book, “Stuck In The Story No More,” and companion workbook, “Stuck No More.” A unique, breakthrough approach to the examination of the devastating impact unconscious psychological defenses can have on individuals, “Stuck in the Story No More” shows how the crippling patterns of those defenses can be identified and broken. Her book includes a set of simple tools to help people understand and interrupt the defenses that hold them back from having the life they want. The book’s forward is by Margaret Cho, who attributes Dr. Nicki with saving her life.
Dr. Nicki, a CEU approved presenter, offers a variety of workshops, addressing a wide range of topics and issues, that help people improve their lives, emotionally, spiritually and logically.
Her current workshop series includes:
Genesis – focused on childhood developmental experiences
Metamorphosis – a six-month Psycho-Spiritual Integration Process
Revelations – a spiritually-based six month course that includes Shame Scene work, Dream work, Defense work, Shadow work and Ritual work
My approach is the culmination of many years of figuring out what really works – and what doesn’t. I learned on my own healing adventure, there is much more to deep and complete healing than symptom relief. I look at what’s going on with the energy system, how unprocessed emotions might be affecting that, and help you become rebalanced. I have a knack for seeing things from a different angle and finding all the reasons you might not be letting go of that which you are desperately trying to recover from. I will be there for you every step of the way but I will always put you in charge of your own healing.
Dr. Gail Gross – Expert on Relationships, Family Development, Education and Behavior
Dr. Gail Gross is a nationally recognized family and child development expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems.
Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times and USA Today. ABC, CBS and KHOU,Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.”
Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, yearlong study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning.
Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, Trailblazer Award, and Woman of Influence Award.
Dr. Gross’ soon-to-be second book, Smart for Life, teaches parents how to enhance a child’s learning potential through various developmental stages. Two additionalbooks are slated to follow, including The Only Way Out Is Through, a Jungian approach to navigating life’s transitions including grieving,and Defining Moments, which recounts the defining moments of celebrity guests as shared with Dr. Gross during interviews on PBS’ “Let’s Talk.”
Dr. Gross received a BS in Education from the University of Houston. She earned her master’s degree in secondary education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.