This is a powerful process to recover separated or lost parts of the self that have occurred through shock, trauma, spiritual, & psychological injury, attachment injuries, and extended illness. In healthy circumstances our psyche is the organ of experience that integrates our lived experience in the interest of wholeness, individuation and community relatedness. However, in traumatic situations our psyche can split or fracture, dissociating information and experience to ensure our continued survival. Hence this results in an organismic life directed towards survival rather that related individuation and wholeness. From a shamanic psychotherapy perspective the process of splitting or dissociating for survival results in the lost, frozen or disconnected aspects of soul. Traumatic experiences are lost or frozen out of awareness because the shock and pain was too much to bear at the time of trauma.
William James (1908) described trauma as a shock that if not resolved would reside like thorns in the soul. These thorns remain disconnected and frozen within the broader field of consciousness/ unconscious continue and transpersonal spirit realms. Simultaneously they can sometimes be felt to be lodged deeply within the physical body as a somatic memory for example in the felt sense of knots in the stomach, tightness in the chest, anxiety associated with being in certain places. Soul retrieval is a central transpersonal shamanic healing process that seeks to not only remove the thorns in the soul but also to recover dissociated/disconnected aspects of our Self for wholeness.
In many regards traditional depth psychotherapy is a form of soul retrieval. The methodologies utilised in traditional psychotherapy to undertake this process differs somewhat between psychotherapy and shamanism.
Combined psychological psychotherapy and shamanic processes of soul retrieval is an effective therapy for transforming deep seated traumas and injuries. The approach of Transpersonal Shamanic Psychotherapy & Counselling in the soul retrieval process is one that brings attention to embodiment of experiencing and nervous system functioning. Aspects that are dissociated can be tracked, resourced and then re-integrated in a healthy embodied way allowing for more resolution, and vitality.
Traumas can be released, the lost or separated parts of our vital life essence can be restored, and our wholeness, truth and freedom can be reclaimed.