The Intuitive Therapist: Accelerate and Empower Your Clinical Practice with the Wisdom of Your Intuition

The Intuitive Therapist: Accelerate and Empower Your Clinical Practice with the Wisdom of Your Intuition

by LCSW Janis R. Cohen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504367523
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 10/07/2016
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)

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The Intuitive Therapist

Accelerate and Empower Your Clinical Practice with the Wisdom of Your Intuition


By Janis R. Cohen

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Janis R. Cohen, LCSW
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-6752-3



CHAPTER 1

Six Rungs Down on the Ladder Up


I've experienced a number of significant struggles in my life, many of which have thrown me flat on my back and knocked the wind completely out of me for long periods of time. It seemed as though each challenge I faced increased in intensity and the gradient of the learning curve kept escalating.

In the meantime, I've been told that the most painful challenges are issued to those souls who are meant to do great things on earth. We are given these experiences to push us to our limits and to break us free from our perceived limitations, just like a drill sergeant pushes new recruits beyond their comfort zone during basic training. The commanding officer demands respect and compliance from those new recruits. They must abandon their ego, become one with the pack and respect their higher-ranking officers.

I have been the new recruit more times than I can count. I have been broken by life many times and was pushed to get back up and fight for myself. I learned to respect my higher ranking officer, Spirit, and ultimately, myself. You see, we are meant to be a little broken by our challenges so that we can put ourselves back together again, only differently.

Most people get stuck focusing on how badly they feel rather than fixating on understanding the positive intention of the negative experience. It is through these harrowing learning processes of being repeatedly struck down, dusting off and starting over again that you climb up your life ladder and get closer to who you are meant to be spiritually.

I now believe that everything in life is an opportunity to achieve personal growth.

Pain has been my teacher and will continue to be that. It's how I learn. I wouldn't be able to appreciate the good things in my life without having experienced pain. That said, I humbly share the following stories with you in the hope that you will have some 'a-ha' moments of your own. As you read the following narratives of several of my life experiences, I will reveal not only the lessons that I have learned but also the insights I have taught others as a result of my hard-earned knowledge.

Here are the six rungs down on my ladder up.


Rung 1: The Scapegoat

One of the most pivotal times in a child's life is around the age of twelve. It is a time of life that has its own unique set of rewards and consequences. On the one hand, each child begins to connect with a more mature world: romantic crushes arise, physical appearance becomes an obsession and friendships become the outward source of internal validation. Yet, children can still enjoy being children by staying connected to and being cared for by their parents.

My own life was quite typical in these respects, with one exception. I was the scapegoat of my seventh grade class.


It All Begins Somewhere

Just like most of the other girls I went to school with in seventh grade, I wanted to fit in. I actually thought that I had a pretty secure spot in the gravitational pull of the popular girls. I was friendly with the Queen Bee and her wing-girl, as well as the outliers of her queendom. We all played together, shopped together and spent time on the weekends doing all sorts of girly things that bonded us. I never expected it to change. But it did. Turns out, my seemingly secure spot in the social order was little more than a temporary permission slip.

One innocent day in school, I turned to my friend Sarah and passed on some gossip about our friend Hannah. Now, this juicy news came from the Queen Bee herself, named Mary, and her friend Abby. The two of them had warned me never tell anyone else otherwise they'd be really, really mad. But Sarah was one of the girls, so I spilled the beans and she promised not to let anyone know what I'd said.

That's all it took. That one misstep liberated itself from my mouth in the girl's bathroom stall and POOF! Everything changed. I was in for a rude awakening. Sarah went back to the girls and told them what I had told her and my life became a living hell.


Social Contagion

For the next six months, I experienced repeated humiliation and public persecution on a daily basis by my seventh grade peers. Making matters worse, not only did the girls in my grade gang up against me, but the boys-joined in, too. Before long, I was the leper and criminal, all because I had innocently done what every girl at that age did: I gossiped. Still, I became the poster girl for what not to do if you want to keep your friends and survive the seventh grade.

Many times a day, kids would shame me publicly, taunting, laughing, avoiding, and snickering at me as I entered a room, a hallway or any other place that my classmates were in school. In anxious anticipation of the day ahead, I rode to school with vomit bubbling in my stomach. I often pleaded with my mother to let me stay home. I was so distraught and anxious to go to school that I would often be late, finally entering the classroom just after the bell rang. There was no good way to walk into class during that period of my life. Whether late or on time, I was glared at with seething rays of disgust, disapproval, and rejection.

Back in the 1980s, there were very few effective interventions for bullying in school. This was 1981 and I had no clue about how I was going to make it through the trauma. I didn't think I had any allies and I accepted that it was up to me to defend myself. Fortunately for me, the principal, Mr. James Harbuck, was a wonderful man who intervened in the best way that he knew how. Honestly, he saved my life. Period. End of story. He became my safe haven, my lunchtime confidante and my ally. If he hadn't been in my life at that time, I am certain I would have attempted some sort of self-harm.

Yet as alone and as vulnerable as I felt, I didn't give up. Amidst their daily practice of publicly humiliating me, I tried out for lead in the school play, Tom Sawyer, that year. As it happens, Queen Bee tried out for the lead, too, but thankfully, I got the part.

We gave two performances, one for the students and one for the parents. I prepared well: I had memorized the script; the songs floated around in my head, ready to be sung to the crowds. Once on stage, no one in the audience could have known what I was dealing with, or what was going on behind the curtain. I sang and acted and exited the stage with a big smile on my face.

But once I turned the corner and stepped behind the curtain, I noticed that all of my castmates had moved to the other side of the stage. Scene after scene, I was left to stand backstage in virtual solitary confinement. Back on stage, the audience stood up and clapped for me as I took my bows. It felt like a victory for me. The audience's applause gave me the companionship that I so desperately craved.


In a New York Minute

"Janis," the voice said.

I stopped short in the school hallway and tried to turn my eyes all the way around in my head to see what was going on. After all, no one was speaking to me in any positive sort of way at this point.

"Janis, wait for us."

In shock, and thinking that my mind was playing tricks on me, I decided to turn around to see if perhaps I was hallucinating. As I turned, I saw Mary and Abby standing in front of me. I was shaking down to my toes and had no idea what to expect. Were they going to try to hurt me? Were they going to drive the stake in just a little deeper?

"We want to be friends again," Mary said.

Abby stood glaring at me and made it obvious that she did not agree with Mary's gesture of extending an olive branch.

For a split second, I was dumfounded. Seriously, a split second. And then I was so relieved that my prison term was over that I nodded my head enthusiastically and accepted her invitation. I could now re-enter the domain as a worker bee. In one moment, as quickly as my life had turned hellish, my life returned to the way it had been. I was freed and cleared of all charges. My record was expunged and I could walk among the visible again.

All of the pieces seemed to fall back into place as if nothing ever happened. I was back "in" with the cool kids' group and everyone spoke to me again. There was no talk of what happened, either. And there was no ownership of how brutally they had treated me. Only an invitation to reconnect.

But something had happened — and it had traumatized me. Yet at the time, I was so desperate to be accepted back into my tribe that I asked no questions and challenged no one. But in my heart, I was forever changed. I had no idea how pivotal that experience would be in my life.


Redemption

Twenty-seven years later, I sat in a local nail salon in Dunwoody, Georgia, getting a pedicure. My toenails had just been painted and I relaxed in the massage chair, waiting for them to air dry, captivated with something on my cellphone. As the door to the salon opened, I glanced up and saw my old schoolmate, Mary, walk in with her two beautiful daughters.

A wave of panic and nausea begin to crash over me. I felt like I was time warping back to 1981. My heart began to beat hard, as if I was, once again, that anxious and helpless little girl who wanted only to run away from the pain and torment. And fast! But, because divine experiences are created in such a way that you must face your demons and not run from them, my situation was no different. Here I was, sitting in the chair, my toes too wet to make a run for it without ruining the fresh polish I had just paid for.

I clearly needed to face my past. I had to face her.

My mind raced. What would she say? What would she do? Would she treat me with the same disgust and distain that she had almost thirty years ago? Would she try to publically humiliate me all over again? Would she be the same elitist who used me to further her agenda?

My thoughts were falling all over themselves until she walked in and took a seat directly across the room from me. I began to text my mother on my phone to tell her what was happening.

Then I heard, "Hey, Janis."

It was the same "Hey, Janis" that I had heard in the hall that fateful day, twenty-seven years ago. I looked up and saw her, the girl who had played the lead role in ruining my year in seventh grade.

I slowly pulled my eyes from my phone and looked up. With all of the acting skills I could muster, I pretended to be unaware of what is going on around me. But there she was, looking at me right in the eyes, telling me hello!

"Oh, Hey. How are you?"

Not that I really cared about how she was, but I was trying to be the bigger person. She replied with some generic answer and then inquired further.

"What line of work are you in these days?"

"I am a therapist," I said.

She smiled and asked, "Did you go into that because of how cruel I was to you?"

OMG! Twenty-seven years later and she was finally acknowledging that she bullied me. Unbelievable! I looked at her curiously. Did she really think that she was solely responsible for my career choice?

"Um, no!" I said to her.

"Well, I'm sorry about the way that I treated you back in school. You know, I am a really good person," she said as we held a gaze.

To which I responded, "Thank you for that. I am too, and have always been."

Whether my toenails were dry or not, I decided that they were ready enough and it was time for me to make my escape. We had reminisced enough at this point and I was ready to go. I slipped on my flip-flops and gathered my things. As I left, I looked back at her.

"Take care. It was good to see you."

On my way out, I passed her daughter sitting at the table drying her nails under a fan. I paused. As I pretended to fumble for my car keys in my purse, I said a silent prayer for this sweet and pretty girl, daughter of the Queen Bee Bully. I prayed that this young girl never know the likes of a childhood bully that her mother was to me. I prayed for this young girl's well-being, and her mother never knew it.

The troubled, vulnerable and intimidated twelve-year-old in me accompanied me, the adult woman, out of the salon. Then my younger, suffering self turned to me and said Goodbye. I knew then that she was gone forever. I didn't need her and she didn't need me anymore. In this pivotal moment, I realized just how intact I had always been. We all know that apologies don't erase pain from the past, but they can help us let go of it a bit easier. Mary's apology helped. I continued on my way with grace, strength and kindness, a sure sign of courage, confidence and certainty.

I share this story with you for several reasons. First, it shows you that I am just like you and your clients. I struggled, was in pain and needed help from someone who could empathize and strategize with me. I stepped up and became that person for myself. Second, it reflects that resilience is within all of us, even in the most difficult of circumstances. While times were brutal during my seventh grade year, I didn't try to escape my pain by hurting myself. I knew it wouldn't be the best choice for me. Neither did I allow my past to haunt me to the point of ruining my life. What I experienced and felt will always be with me, as a reminder of how I used my pain to help myself become a more sensitive and caring person.

Lastly, my story illustrates how this experience put me in direct communication with my intuition — my Higher Self — when I listened to the inner direction I received, encouraging me to respond with dignity and strength. I was no longer that bullied and vulnerable little girl. I learned how to use all facets of my experience to benefit my future and the future of my clients who struggle with similar circumstances. My clients receive the profits of my past pain.


Lessons and Teachings

If I learned how to observe others to gauge their motivations, I taught this strategy to my clients.

If I learned how to withhold negative judgment, refrain from gossip and speak words that only placed me in a respectable and favorable light, even if it wasn't in agreement with others, I taught this to strategy to my clients.

If I learned how to forgive those who hurt me by forgiving myself first for carrying around pain beyond its expiration date, I taught this process to my clients.

If I learned how to protect myself without defending or justifying my behaviors to anyone, I taught this technique to my clients.

If I learned how to use every ounce of pain that I have ever experienced to my benefit, I taught this process to my clients.

When appropriate, I share this story with my clients, young and old. They deserve to know how they, too, can overcome challenges from their past. In me, they get what I didn't have at the time: someone who is all too familiar with the challenges of being a struggling young person. Someone who has gone from victim to victor. Clients need to know that it takes one decision to let go of pain from the past. Carrying around pain is a choice. Choosing to carry around pain as a badge of armor allows a person to feel justified in remaining defensive and angry. Unfortunately, the one who carries the pain is the only one continuously hurt by it. Everyone else moves on.

Teaching clients how to establish emotional safety for themselves is key to helping them get out of pain and experience joy.


Rung 2: The Phone Call

In the middle of my sophomore year, my parents sat me down for a serious talk. It would change the course of my life.

"Janis, we think that you're coasting through school and you're not working up to your potential and we're not going to let you waste our money anymore. We're going to pull you out of school and the sorority. You are going to move back home, attend school at community college and go to work!"

"NO!" I pleaded. "Please don't take me out of school! I promise I will do better."

They were right. I was coasting academically. I had never been taught how to study. I would look at information and think that I would recognize it on a test the next day. Clearly, that didn't work. I was averaging a C- grade point average at the time and it wasn't getting any higher.

My parents heard my plea and let me return back to school. I was on probation with them and needed to prove to them that I would earn the right to remain there. That day, when I returned to school, I completely changed my study habits. I spent the majority of my time in the school library and planned out my exam schedule so that I could turn my scholastic career around and I did. For the remaining semesters, I either earned a spot on the Dean's List or a perfect score. Change had happened.

I felt great about it since I had struggled through ADD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. It took me three times as long to prepare for an exam than most everyone else. But I worked hard to teach myself how to study and it paid off.

In my heart, I wanted to be a therapist and help people. I wanted to be a Social Worker. I wanted to make a difference in a big way. But I needed an advanced degree to do it and the only way to be accepted to a graduate program was to not only significantly improve my grades, but to show that I was capable of working hard for what I wanted.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Intuitive Therapist by Janis R. Cohen. Copyright © 2016 Janis R. Cohen, LCSW. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword, vii,
Acknowledgements, xi,
Introduction, xiii,
PART I: THE CLIMB,
Chapter 1 Six Rungs Down on the Ladder Up, 1,
PART II: THE BASICS,
Chapter 2 You Are Already Intuitive, 27,
Chapter 3 Intuitive Essentials, 47,
Chapter 4 Start Here, 57,
Chapter 5 Soul Agreements, 59,
Chapter 6 Your Intuitive Vibes, 71,
Chapter 7 Synchronicity as Universal Harmony, 79,
Chapter 8 Brain, Ego, and Intuition, 85,
Chapter 9 Your Personal Communication System, 95,
Chapter 10 Foundational Elements of Intuitive Development, 101,
Chapter 11 What is Your Intuitive Type?, 111,
PART III: PREP WORK AND PRACTICES,
Chapter 12 How To Tap Into Your Intuition, 123,
Chapter 13 Grounding to Anchor Your Intuitive State, 141,
Chapter 14 Meditation, 147,
Chapter 15 Energetic Protection, 167,
Chapter 16 Raising Your Vibrations, 179,
Chapter 17 Strategies and Tools, 201,
Chapter 18 The Therapeutic Dance, 237,
PART IV: THE INTUITIVE THERAPIST,
Chapter 19 Being True To Your Intuitive Gifts, 247,
Chapter 20 Being of Service, 263,
Chapter 21 What Makes a Great Therapist Great, 269,
Chapter 22 Living Authentically, 293,
Chapter 23 Your Intuitive Journey Begins, 299,

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