According to an old Turkish Sufi saying, ‘You can bandage a cut for yourself, but you can’t take out your own appendix.’ That is, we can learn and grow through our own efforts, but for profound spiritual transformation we need a guide. The guide inspires and teaches students to move closer to realizing their inner, divine nature. That teaching is in itself an expression of divine will. Rumi writes, ‘Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two-day journey.'”
Dr. Robert Frager
Founder and President Emeritus
Spiritual Guidance (also known as Spiritual Direction) explores the spiritual aspect of being human and specifically aims at deepening the the relationship one has with the Divine, by whatever name one understands that Presence. Traditionally, Spiritual Guidance was offered strictly in the context of a faith community, or by community Elders, and was an on-going, lifetime relationship that would help a seeker uncover and explore his or her relationship to a Higher Presence.
Some seekers identify with a religion, while others have created their own personal relationship and system of communication with the Divine. Today, Spiritual Guidance is still offered within the context of organized religions, but it also available in a non-denominational context.
Whether someone belongs to a faith community or not, Spiritual Guidance in this modern context encourages seekers to know their souls, know the Divine, and infuse their every day life experiences with the Sacred. Guidance sessions can be just a handful, or spread out over years as the seeker walks the hills and valleys of the spiritual journey. Spiritual guides are committed to be deeply attuned to those who come to them for guidance.
Dr. Saira has received in-depth, transformational, doctoral level training in Spiritual Guidance and has deeply studied various faith traditions and their mystical practices with some of the leading transpersonal professors and community elders in the world. She has practiced Spiritual Guidance with countless clients from a diversity of spiritual backgrounds for over a decade, and is an active member of Spiritual Directors International.
What is online counselling?
Online counselling occurs when the counsellor and client are not in the same physical space and they are using technology to assist them. In recent years, online counselling has gained popularity in giving clients greater choice in to who see, as well as giving them having access to the best practitioners in the field even if they are outside one’s geographic location.
Counsellors can use various online tools in their practice, including blogs, face-to-face sessions using real-time software, emailing, posting tidbits on social media sites, chat rooms, texting, and the list goes on. Some of these tools are backed by evidence and some are not. Some modalities are still being explored by researchers to determine effectiveness.
The closest online tool to in-person counselling is a face-to-face session through real-time software like Skype or FaceTime. These tools allow the client to see and hear the counsellor, and allows the counsellor to pick up body language cues. They also allow the client to have a session from the privacy and convenience of their own home.
However, there are certain limitations to consider when entering into a Skype-counseling agreement. For example, do you have a private space where you will not be overheard by others? Also, what is the plan should the technology freeze or fail? Lastly, the counsellor cannot see your entire body during the session, and so may miss some psychosomatic cues, she take more time to get attuned, or your camera quality may obscure subtle changes in facial expression.
Despite these limitations, Dr. Saira has successfully graduated dozens of clients using this online counselling modality, and we would recommend you try it out before you rule it out! Click here to read more about the pros and cons of online counselling.
What is a Somatic Psychology?
Somatic psychology is a transpersonal modality that pays attention to the deep and inter-woven relationship of the body and the mind. Unlike traditional psychology that often separates the the mind away from the physical spaces in which it resides, somatic psychology sees the body as an expression of the desires and pain of the mind and spirit. The body tells a story, and the body never lies. Somatic therapists have been trained to pay attention to the body for clues about how to restore wellness and balance in all areas of the client’s life.
A psychosomatic cue is a slight or subtle change in the body in response to something being experienced in the room. The gesture may be obvious, such as crossing one’s arms in anger, or very subtle, such as scratching one’s nose with a middle finger. Someone trained in somatic psychology will be able to bring the client’s awareness of these gestures and changes right in the counselling room, and help the client understand the story that their body is trying to tell.