Ascension Therapy (Excerpt)

Ascension Therapy (Excerpt)

The Framework

There exists a quote by Mark Twain that says, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I think this statement is partly true. I believe that we already know our purpose on Earth, the moment we are born. We come into this existence with an inherent purposefulness. We are divine, eternal energy within a shell – the body – and are having a human experience. We innately know love, but are born into environments/ecological systems that are, primitively, out of our control, and have been structured in a way that maintains human suffering and intense fear. Each individual has collective, as well as their own unique experiences, both good and bad, that can disconnect us from the power and possibility within us. Ultimately, the common goal is to heal the traumas (whether personal or intergenerational), rediscover or uncover our most authentic selves, live in that truth, and become active in helping to create a more just, empathetic and loving social environment.  

Oftentimes, unhealthy behaviors are learned coping mechanisms (habits) that individuals employ – consciously and unconsciously –  in order to navigate their true or perceived environment. As humans, it is imperative that we establish healthy connections – meaning, relationships that reciprocate unconditional love, nurturing, trust, respect and support. A unique relation that we all share is emotions, because whether we attempt to suppress them, or feel them deeply, we have natural emotional reactions to the stimulants around us.  It is our objective to understand and learn how to master our emotions and, thus, our energy. 

I believe that everything is impermanent and we are imperfect beings that are, hopefully, learning lessons along our journey towards fulfillment and self-actualization. A lot of the soul work has to be done individually, but community collaboration and protection of our safe/brave spaces is imperative to make drastic and lasting positive impacts. Healing takes an intimate level of honesty, accountability and genuine affirmation, amongst both internal and external relationships. A mind state of survival does not allow us the peace (physically and mentally) to thrive. To me, therapy is assistance and guidance in transforming the internalized persona we felt we had to be, or allowed ourselves to become in order to endure the world; changing the patterns and reactions that no longer serve our highest good. There is an interconnectedness of all natural sources of energy and life, such as the environment (i.e. plants, animals, water, the sun and moon, soil) and humans/spirits. In addition, we must tune into and manage the feminine and masculine energies within us; Neither can dominate or exist wholly without the other. It is necessary to note that both of these energies coexist in males and females, alike; thus, the notion that non-attachment and true fulfillment involves the act of not possessing another individual in order to fill the void of, or compensate for repressed or unexplored drives.

In full context, a healthy person is someone who is resilient, adaptable to change, open-minded, releases expectation and regrets, emotionally intelligent, can find comfort in aloneness[1], develops and works towards accomplishing goals, socially engaged (i.e. global citizen), curious, creative, develops a healthy physical body, asks for help when needed, willing to take risks; someone who safely explores their sexuality and sensuality, has deep connections/relationships with two or more people, gratitude, knowledge of Self, faith (even if it is only faith in their self), remains mindful in the present moment, and experiences joy. 

Inversely, an unhealthy person or behaviors include, but are not limited to: a lack of clarity in an altruistic purpose, happiness, motivation, positive and uplifting relationships, self-awareness, denial or suppression of sexual energy, self-assuredness/confidence, grounded-ness, emotional regulation and self-accountability; in addition to a lack of a sense of fulfillment, security, hope/optimism or belonging; a person who is guided by fears and ego[2]and/or engages in unhealthy coping mechanisms (i.e. alcohol or substance misuse, taking extreme measures to control appearance, physical and verbal aggression, disengagement from social interactions, promiscuity). 

Integrative Ascension Therapy is composed of three influences. First, I utilize Liberation Psychology to decolonize the mind. This framework address the inescapable politicization of our complex identities and seeks to understand oppressed communities’ mind-frame by focusing attention on the sociopolitical structures in which the client exists. Whereas multicultural theories suggest an inclusive philosophy, liberation psych is the action. It also explores the idea that psychical dysfunction is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation (i.e. a world of suffering and exploitation), rather than the traditional logic that, oftentimes, individuals under mental distress are abnormally reacting within a normal environment.  Yet, it is detrimental to exist within an alienating and dehumanizing social structure. It is key to heal self-imposed internal oppression and change a fatalistic mindset to one of empowerment and freedom. Liberation psychology supports understanding historical context, engaging in critical reflection, making sense of how to navigate an unjust society, and analyzing the collective experience – shaped by power structures –  of marginalized communities. This basis requires the client to break from an over-reliance on (imaginary) saviors and to actively engage in the resistance of intellectual and economic dependence on the dominant group(s). Due to its connectedness with Black Consciousness, Liberation psychology most notably values two fundamental principles of the African-American celebration, Kwanzaa. These ethics are self-determination, and collective works and responsibility. 

Next, to address the Body portion of MindBodySoul, I utilize a specific framework that incorporates and reclaims the racialized and sexualized position of “la Bruja” into womanist theory.  This basis empowers and elevates the feminine (energy and identity) within a patriarchal society – something that I believe both men and women can benefit from. For men, it can teach him/them to tune into his/their feminine energy and value women for their way of life, sexuality, spirituality and leadership, reducing the effects of toxic masculinity. For women, it enhances a powerful personal knowledge for Self and community healing; it is remembering pre-colonial intelligence and ritual by listening to the soul/intuition in order to gain a greater understanding of life (Lara, 2005). Both sexes/genders develop skills to create joy, protect their energy, utilize appropriate self-care techniques, work through personal growth, and manifest change and a better sense of control of their life by employing aspects of Kemetic and/or Yoruba-based spirituality and womanist theory.            

 Lastly, the soul/spirit part is addressed through Existentialism. This allows the client to discover and explore the depth of the human existence, to uncover meaning and pursue happiness amidst pain and suffering. It creates a pathway for aspirations to emerge and manifest, while understanding how we engage in all dimensions of the world – physical, social, psychological and spiritual. Existential techniques challenge the individual to continuously recreate their Self in order to transcend adversity, while remaining aware, accepting, and in awe of life. 

I believe having a reason to experience life is what keeps us progressing; yet, for many oppressed groups and communities of color, there is oftentimes a sense of hopelessness or lack of self-esteem. Existentialism asks essential questions that guide us towards understanding and creating purpose, but as it is currently applied through Western-based psychology, it does not necessarily take into account the internalized and external barriers that exist for marginalized groups. “Humanizing the Racialized Self” by Lemberger-Truelove explores how humanistic approaches focus on individual meaning-making, but that self-actualization is typically limited to those who can progress beyond the basic physiological and safety stage (food, water, warmth, rest, security). Historically, people of color have been excluded from partaking in the privilege of being able to explore their divine purpose; so, for groups that lack social power and positionality, existential techniques must be culturally adapted to account for the systemic environment. As counselors, we must help the client find the balance between the social self and the authentic self because the two aspects are interlocked. For everyone, total human agency is compromised by the capitalist, imperialist society; eluding the potential to truly experience a humanizing love and authenticity. “The persuasiveness of the contemporary love ideology affects what we should love, how we should love, who is acceptable to love…” (Lemberger-Truelove, 2016, p.63) However, this article suggests that humanistic love is a state of mind that is empathetic and values interconnectedness – it is a mind-state that can be applied in the transcendental development of the Self as an additional tool to enact real social change. Empathy for the Self is a greater act of self-love than assimilation; it is a practice of creating and protecting a loving energy, against persistent pressure of dominant ideology. “In such a process, love is not naïve, nor is it color-blind, as one must be able to fully perceive the present, historical and past reflection of those they are in a relationship with” (Lemberger-Truelove, 2016, p.68). We cannot become complacent or passive to the degradation of our spirit and bodies. It is necessary to be able to experience harm, without succumbing to a condition of self-victimization. We have to unchain ourselves from the communal circumstances that have constrained our inherent capabilities. 

[1]Aloneness is defined as the capacity to have a sense of being and having enough without relying on an external source to fulfill a feeling of love, security, wholeness and happiness.

[2]Ego is defined as the false sense of self that is motivated by, but not limited to the following: self-preservation, blame, hostility, jealousy, anger, unbalanced power, materialism, coldness, intolerance, comparison, seeking outward recognition, resentment, lust, greed, insecurity

Lara, I. (2005). Bruja Positionalities: Toward a Chicana/Latina Spiritual Activism. Chicana/Latina Studies,4(2), 1-36.

Lemberger-Truelove, T. L. (2016). Humanizing the Racialized Self. Journal of Humanistic Psychology56(1), 53-68.

-The Intimate Truth-

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