By Carol Woodard, MA, LPC
A Prescott Woman Magazine Article
My passion is to help women grow both personally and spiritually. As a counselor I provide individual and couple counseling and am currently offering a new sequence of women’s growth groups with a spiritual perspective. The themes are Creating a Positive Self Image, Developing the Virtues of the Heart, and Building Healthy Relationships. Some questions I commonly receive are:
What is your spiritual perspective?
I believe we have a seed of divinity within us and that our mission in life is to bloom that seed. We do this through developing virtues such as courage, compassion and joy. Using the analogy of a garden, I try to help nurture those seeds, those virtues with water and sunshine and not just focus on pulling the weeds out. Therapy often focuses on pulling the weeds out. Developing virtues is the golden thread that runs through all spiritual paths.
How does the group work?
I provide tools for transformation and group members practice them at home and discuss the results as a group. The beauty of groups is that members provide support and encouragement to each other. The group helps provide incentive for each person to work on themselves and report in with the group. The group energy helps promote change.
Can you give an example of a group session?
In the Creating a Positive Self Image group, we begin by reciting an affirmation of the Self, affirming the seed of inner divinity within us. Then I lead a visualization exercise or breathing exercise to help members center and experience quieting the physical body, the emotions, and the mind. Gradually this can help members to become more of a witness to their negative thoughts and feelings and not be so identified, so glued to them. Eventually the goal is to expand the consciousness and contact the Higher Self.
One homework assignments is for women to identify negative self images to work on. For example, the I’m not good enough self image. We work to change the self image to a more positive one reflective of their True Self: I am divine in my essence, I have gifts to offer, or I am becoming Self confident. True self confidence comes from identification with the True Self. Then we strengthen the affirmation/ thought with application in daily life so that the affirmation is not just plaster and the affirmation gains legitimacy.
A powerful technique to help do so is to daily think about how a person with self confidence acts, feels, thinks, and to visualize someone with self confidence. Energy follows thought. What you focus on expands. This is helping the person to start to build a new brain pattern of self confidence, which they can gradually express in their lives. The more consistently you practice it, the more effective it is. Another technique is to compile past memories of achieving the affirmation. This helps make it real.
Carol has 20 years experience in spiritual practice and 15 years experience as a personal counselor. Currently she is in private practice in downtown Prescott. For more information contact Carol at 928-710-1954 or visit her website at counselingpostivechange.com
This article was published in Prescott Woman, December/ January 2009- 2010 issue
PLEASE NOTE: Carol no longer offers group sessions, but she now offers much of the content developed in these sessions through her individual spiritual counseling services.