It is time to do something radically different in the area of substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, mental health treatment and holistic wellness. The question I continually ask myself is, “are we human beings having a spiritual experience or are we spiritual beings having a human experience?” I am referring to Spirit, Mind and Body or SMB. When I say spirit, I do mean spirituality but more specifically, the engaging of the spiritual part of each person which is known as the spirit or the soul.
This is not just as a technique to help people heal from different problems, but a model to teach them that it can also be a way of life. Our approach is like a hybrid between coaching and therapy. We can identify the sickness, we can identify the negative behaviors, but at the same time and perhaps more importantly, we are still going to focus on the love in the person’s heart.
If we lose the love that is the part of God that lives in everyone’s heart; then what’s the point? It’s not a surface thing; it goes much deeper. What we are talking about is somebody who got away from the love that we are all born with.
SMB is essentially a technique of not only meeting the client where they are, while being client focused and client centered; but it is also about being able to focus on anything that is a negative behavior or negative outcome that brings them back to the undesired behavior which is or can be: substance use, mental health relapse, mismanagement of medication, excessive sex, gambling, workaholism, etc. All of which take us out of our self, and takes us away from our authentic self or inner child which is where we get lost.
We separate the person’s authentic self from the behavior. Our goal is to strengthen the ego by encouraging the person from a positive perspective. Our intention is never to lose the person’s trust, the person’s faith or the belief that they are going to be well.
The spirituality: the twelve steps, the mosque, the shrine, the church, the synagogue or that place where you worship. That part of God that lives in all of us; in our intuition; in our soul. In Judaism, we call it the “ne’shama”; in Christianity, we call it the spirit.
We are all born with a soul. Some people believe in reincarnation, some people don’t, but the bottom line is that there is a spiritual piece that lives in all of us. Even in the most misbehaving or sick person in the world, to the best behaved or the person with the best life in the world. When we talk to those two types of people we can’t deny that we are all connected to something greater. Not in our belief system; but within our bodies. In the essence of spirit; this is what we are referring to.
In the mind there is the psychiatric, the psychological, left brain/ right brain; the right brain being more creative; the left brain being more analytical. This is the part of the person that is going to make decisions. One of the most significant premises of helping people is, “if we change the way we see the world then the world we see will change.” (Dyer) When we focus on the mind, we realize that it is about getting the client to change the way they see the world but even bigger is getting them to see that change is ever-present and change is ever-possible. We can’t stress that enough. When someone comes to us for change they have to be ready for it, it Spirit , Mind, and Body (SMB) is not served on a silver platter. The desire has to be within that person. We have better outcomes with people that are ready to change, whether information is presented through psycho-education or therapeutic techniques. Are they sick and tired of being sick and tired? Metaphorically speaking they are standing on a bridge; are they going to jump off the bridge or are they going to walk over to the other side and start a new beginning? That’s where the mind has to be trained or taught to make those life altering decisions.
It is important that the body be in alignment with the spirit and the mind being that the body is the container that houses them. Therefore the next logical step is to look at holistic ways to help the physical body heal such as exercise, nutrition, relaxation techniques, meditation and prayer, yoga, hobbies/interests and returning to activities from our childhood which is a pathway to reconnecting to our inner child and authentic self. A healthy adult knows how to play like a child. We are not only dealing with the person’s decision about their body; we are dealing with the body in a physical manner.
Through this holistic process if we get you better and you believe you are better but everything around you is not going well; you set yourself up for failure. Number one; we take a look at the love and the God within the person; number two we see where they are with respect to their willingness to change and we help shape the way they see the world; and number three we help them heal their bodies through nutrition; proper decision making; managing their finances, creating a healthy living environment and more. The bottom line is that we focus on healing the entire person.
Substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, cancer and financial issues or any negative issue we come across; these are not psychiatric problems, these are not mental health problems, these are not substance abuse or addiction problems, these are all human problems. Simply put spirit, mind and body is treating the whole human being.
When people ask, “what is your specialty?” I answer, my specialty is healing human beings. We don’t do the healing, but we facilitate it through the spirit which lives in each and every one of us. Gustav Shakefoot states in his book how, “very few people have a clear understanding of themselves and how their triune nature: spirit, mind and body function in harmony as one.” We aim at working with the inner child and authentic self to make these three meet and become harmonious.
It is our sincerest hope that through this belief of working with the spirit, mind and body you see that it is really about love. As a person heals it is helpful to teach them to go inward toward self-love and upward to a higher power or God. Always remember the most powerful force in the universe is LOVE 🙂
By: Dan Schimmel with Jacqueline Sosa
For questions about outpatient therapy, co-occurring disorders consulting, training/workshops for professionals and students, supervision for MSW’s, mentoring, Life Coaching, or Sober Coaching and Wellness Seminars for businesses, institutions, and organizations, please call Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP at 954-547-0788 or go to www.anewdaytherapeutic.com.