Designed to Blossom of AIWPis a non-denominational congregation I established in 2006. The Association for the Integration of the Whole Person (AIWP) is a 501c3 non-profit that supports ministers and spiritual counselors like me in providing quality services to individuals and communities seeking support.
One of my deepest intentions with Designed to Blossom of AIWP is to provide people with a safe place for authentic sharing and emotional risk-taking, while being as real and present as possible. I find few things more inspiring than being in the presence of others who are on their growing edge, or more fulfilling than playing a positive part in their blossoming. Through spiritual counseling, I intend to honor the life-affirming tenets of the AIWP credo and remain committed to learning, living and teaching the following sacred balance:
providing others with both a safe, holding environment and an experimental, freeing one
affirming our interconnectedness while promoting individuation and respect for boundaries
nurturing spirit and intuition while instilling a sense of psychological/cultural/political meaning and context
and finally, facilitating the journey home to the body, not necessarily “fixing” problems, but helping people to learn how to meet life head on with vitality, and to respond to life’ s challenges with creative grounding
Ultimately, I believe it is the creative relationship between people that feeds, heals, stretches and pushes us inwards, through and beyond ourselves. To support someone in coming alive, in not only discovering their true nature but daring to live it out, is a deeply religious act.
As a healer and artist, I often find that what’s in the way, is the way. Mistakes (as long as they’re not too big!) not only free up the energy in the room, they act as sacred portals. They open doors to unexpected genius, to moments of revelation and intimacy that could never be intentionally constructed with egoic will power.
As Nachmanovitch says, “The troublesome parts of our work (and relationships!), the parts that are most baffling and frustrating, are in fact the growing edges. We see these opportunities the instant we drop our preconceptions and our self-importance.” In such rare yet glorious healing moments, my clients and I manage to “let go of some impediment or fear, and boom -- in whooshes the muse. We feel clarity, power, freedom, as something unforeseeable jumps out of us.” We connect more deeply, more honestly, and become aware of the mutual, circular nature of our relationship, the divine alchemy set in motion by our mere togetherness.
It goes without saying that I intend to lead my congregation with integrity and compassion. I do my utmost to provide service that uplifts, connects and respects people, their individual paths and beliefs, as well as our shared environment. I invite in spirit, empathy and presence, and embody a deep trust in my clients’ essential capacity for self-actualization. Intuitive listening, unconditional caring, honest communication and genuine respect remain at the core of my service. Eliminating pain and anxiety are not always possible, or even desirable. Instead, I open myself up to difficult feelings, stretching myself and those who come to me in a way that connects us to our humanness and points us towards a more authentic existence.
*** While I have an extensive background in psychotherapy, I am practicing as a Spiritual Counselor, not a licensed therapist. ***
Pastoral Guidelines for a Spiritual Practice (AIWP)
Pastoral Counseling is synonymous with the term Psycho-spiritual Counseling. It is a listening art based on empathy, interpersonal collaboration, and spiritual recognition.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH PASTORAL COUNSELING FROM ANY FORM OF THERAPY, PSYCHOLOGICAL OR PHYSICAL. WE DO SO IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
1. Psychotherapy, according to Webster's dictionary, is a treatment of mental or emotional disorders or of related bodily ills by psychological means.
2. A Pastoral Counselor does not view her/himself as an expert, but as a partner with considerable experience who joins a willing participant and shares in the responsibility for understanding, exploring and clarifying an individual's or couple's developmental life pursuits. This is a joint undertaking towards a better understanding and integration of one's whole life experience.
3. People who seek this type of Pastoral Counseling do not regard themselves as having a disorder or an illness and would not be so regarded by their counselor.
4. AIWP pastoral counselors do not practice and are not licensed to practice psychotherapy. This would be outside the scope of their work as AIWP ministers. However, in carrying out their work as pastoral counselors they will, like all counselors, call upon various counseling techniques and the wealth of psychological and spiritual literature.
5. A Pastoral Counselor understands that the difficulties and challenges of life can be a portal for spiritual growth. Pastoral counseling recognizes the need for an environment in which people who seek to discuss their life-concerns can be offered informed listening without reference to the clinical diagnosis or treatment of an illness.
PASTORAL COUNSELING BELONGS WITHIN THE SPIRITUAL NOT THE MEDICAL TRADITIONS.
It recognizes that spiritual authority resides in the client not in the counselor.
It listens for the other's unique spirituality.
It is interested in what the client considers the meaning of life; where this is not known, Pastoral Counseling helps to seek this meaning.
In Pastoral Counseling the goal is not to heal but to mutually create an environment within which the unspoken self can emerge.
Pastoral Counseling recognizes and accepts that an individual's spiritual perspective includes the totality of one's life. A few examples are: family history, trauma, use of substances as escape, self-defeating patterns, thoughts and behaviors, inevitable losses, separations, and interpersonal relationships.
Pastoral Counselors clarify at the beginning of counseling that they are not licensed to practice psychotherapy. This information can also be provided in writing as an informed consent.
A PASTORAL COUNSELOR, ORDAINED BY AIWP, DOES NOT REQUIRE THE CLIENT TO CONFORM TO THE COUNSELOR'S OWN SPIRITUAL BELIEFS.
Disclaimer: Rosy is an ordained minister of Designed to Blossom of AIWP and provide something more akin to spiritual counseling than psychotherapy. The work I do is with highly functional people, for whom ‘spirit’ plays a central role in their life. I do not give diagnoses, work with pathology, or claim to be an expert offering a treatment or cure.