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A Psychologist, Psychic, Healer, and Angel Walk Into a Divine Bar



No sooner had my career as a clinical psychologist just begun in 1991 when I collapsed into an emotional crisis that would change the course of my life and career.  I quickly sought help from two reputable therapists, but neither possessed the key for unlocking my complex angst.  At my lowest point of despair I began screaming to the heavens, “HELP ME!!!!,” over and over in furious desperation.  This despite the fact that I’d given up on God during a painful adolescence after feeling abandoned and betrayed by Him.  But somehow this scream was heard and the response to it would play out over the next 32 years in ways that defied logic and imagination.  


Shortly after my breakdown a colleague recounted an amazing session she’d had with a gifted psychic named Rhonette.  Lost, desperate, and with nothing to lose, I scheduled a session, my first visit to a psychic.  Rhonette turned out to be a gifted Tarot card reader who quickly divined that I was an emotional wreck and in need of a special type of therapy to reunify the fractured parts of my identity.  She referred me to a hypnotherapist skilled in this type of therapy and recommended a life-changing book titled The Power of Your Other Hand, written by a California art therapist named Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.  These two recommendations from Rhonette launched my education and experience with self healing.


The term self healing came to signify not merely the healing of one’s self, but the healing of one’s self by oneself.  My therapist used hypnosis to initiate the healing integration of my conflicted subpersonalities, but it was Lucia Capachionne’s books that taught me how to continue this healing process independently.  The magic wand she introduced for healing fractured subpersonalities was a journaling method of two-handed writing.  After two years of working with this model and method I had learned more about the process of healing than I had from 8 years of higher education, 3 years working at one of the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals in the world, and 5 years of clinical supervision - combined.  Thank you Rhonette.

The treatment paradigm of integrating subpersonalities had already gained popularity in the 1980s from the work of Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., and his Internal Family Systems book and training program.  The principle behind this model of healing is the same as with conventional family therapy.  Wherever there are broken, conflicted, or troubled relationships, repairing those relationships through effective communication is what restores wholeness and harmony.  The communication of empathy, understanding, compassion, and acceptance is what heals our inner families in the same way they heal our outer families.  


What made Lucia’s two-handed writing method so valuable was that it showed her readers and clients how to integrate their subpersonalities without the aid of a therapist.  Her fishing rod of two-handed writing enabled individuals to feed themselves for a lifetime.  Two-handed writing quickly established itself as the most effective therapeutic tool in my professional kit for teaching clients how to self heal and became the mainstay of my ongoing self healing and growth.  


Like most left-brained thinkers, I maintain a healthy skepticism for non-rational interventions that are often derided as woo-woo, and two-handed writing easily qualifies for that distinction.  My best effort to legitimize the technique is with the explanation that writing with left and right hands takes advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity by using a channel of communication between its left and right hemispheres known as the corpus callosum to create new neural pathways of thinking and emotion..  Regardless of how much sense this makes, within the first 10 minutes of a two-handed writing session even the most skeptical becomes convinced that it works.  Where explanation defies comprehension we must rely on experience to convince.


Since 1991 I have taught hundreds of clients how to comfort, grow, and heal themselves using loving two-handed dialogues with their subpersonalities.  In 2016 I began writing wrote my own book on self healing that featured Lucia’s journaling method.  Wanting to properly credit her work, I reached out to her for the first time to let her know what I was up to.  Lucia responded enthusiastically, agreed to read my manuscript, offered to be my editor, and gave it her glowing endorsement.  This felt to me like being knighted by the Queen of Self Healing (and healer in this story).  This delightful collaboration ended once my book was published and I prematurely assumed that was to be the final chapter of my relationship with Lucia.   


When the pandemic hit in 2020 there was an historic demand for mental health services that far exceeded the supply of available therapists.  This crisis became the impetus for me to create an accessible do-it-yourself mental health rescue kit to be made available online for free to anyone in need of stabilization, soothing, and healing, but who lacked access to a therapist.  After toiling on this project for a few months I realized that I needed Lucia’s help once again.  But when I attempted to contact her I was stunned to learn that she had died just a few months earlier at the age of 85.  Although I’d never met Lucia in person, I felt as though I’d lost a soul mother.  Lucia had introduced me to the most valuable therapeutic tool I’d ever known, provided enlightenment in the art of self healing, and affirmed me as an author on the subject.  I was crestfallen.


Despite my discouragement I resolved to continue working on my project as an homage to Lucia’s legacy.  During one of my writing sessions an unbidden image of Lucia’s face appeared in my mind’s eye.  Her spirit of radiant affection and approval beamed at me through her beautiful eyes, smile, and face, wordlessly imparting to me the inspiration and moral support I was needing.  During subsequent writing sessions I invited Lucia’s image and spirit to join me for regular doses of encouragement until I eventually admitted that at the ripe age of 60 I had acquired my very own angel.  Connecting with my new Lucia angel was as simple as summoning a vision of her unconditionally loving face and sensing her vibrant spirit.  With this acknowledgment I crossed the invisible line between psychology and spirituality in a way that was even more woo-woo than two-handed writing.  For this angel business I had no rational explanation, but it was so helpful that I couldn’t reject its significance.


Over the 32 years of using two-handed writing in my personal and professional lives, these healing communications had always been internally directed toward the characters in the subconscious.  It never occurred to me that the technique could also be used for external communications.  But after hanging out with my Lucia angel in silence for several weeks I wondered if perhaps I could use her method to dialogue with her.  My rush of excitement about this prospect was counterweighted by the worry that this would be a bridge too far and a setup for disappointment.  It began with writing a letter to Lucia expressing my profound gratitude for all the ways she had transformed my life, after which I popped the big question - Can we talk?  Lucia’s spirit quickly selected a colored pen using my non-dominant hand and replied, “Yes, of course!,” after which she communicated some powerful affirmation for my work.  My prior relationship with a master healer had now completed its transformation into a new relationship with a communicating angel.  I felt elated and profoundly grateful.


The hope I’d had recently lost for Lucia’s help was revived, though not in any way close to what I originally expected.  Uncannily, the living healer who taught me the method of two-handed writing was now a spiritual angel communicating with me through that very method.  Lucia’s initial communications were mostly in the form of inspiration, encouragement, and affirmation (staples of angelic love), because that was what I was specifically asking her for.  But then I ventured to ask Lucia for more pragmatic guidance on my project and she readily began offering that as well.  This collaboration led to the creation of a simple exercise titled Free Angelic Love that showed readers how to use two-handed writing to access emotional and spiritual support from angels of their own.  


My screams for help 32 years earlier initially led me to lessons in the psychology of self healing, then became turbocharged by the spiritual experience of angelic love.  This had never been my aim, intention, or expectation.  Nothing like this had even occurred to me.  Surely this was the pinnacle of the journey between psychologist, psychic, healer, and angel, but that wasn’t to be the case.


With the help of my Lucia angel the project was completed and posted on my website.  It was at that point that our dialogues became more personal by addressing my lifelong struggles with spirituality and the Divine.  Having renounced God and my father’s religion (a Presbyterian minister and psychotherapist) 45 years earlier, I carried a deep distrust of all things associated with religious authority.  Like many other Americans departing from antiquated religious traditions I loosely embraced the label SBNR - spiritual but not religious.  Lucia was raised a devout Catholic but never infused her work as a healer with religion or God talk.  One evening as we wrote, Lucia proposed that we enter an imaginary “Divine studio” for the purpose of freely communicating with and about the Divine. This concept was completely in line with her nature as a creative-thinking artist and not something that would have occurred to me.  It was from these studio dialogues that my personal understanding and relationship with the Divine was revolutionized.  


Dialoguing with my Lucia angel was as close as I’d come to communicating with the Divine since adolescence (vainly praying to a silent and invisible deity for help).  She had become a comfortable surrogate that lovingly and playfully reintroduced me to the Divine through our divine conversations.  Before long it occured to me that these conversations themselves were creating an experience of the Divine because they were  manifesting the holy spirit of unconditional love.  Now this was an understanding of the Divine I could wrap my arms around and allow its arms (wings?) to be wrapped around me.  Thank you Lucia!  

 

After decades lost in a spiritual desert I for the first time ever felt the comforting presence of the Divine.  But this was a new Divine for me.  It did not include fidelity to a patriarchal God.  It did not include the corrosive judgments and admonitions that instilled fear, guilt, shame, despair, anger, and alienation for countless souls.  It did not include the myths of religious and scriptural history or authority.  It did not require belief in a supernatural being.  In their place was an understanding of the Divine as a natural state of being, the experience of unity inspired by unconditional love.   Spirituality was now simply understood as the pursuit of this Divine experience.  Healing was now understood as the application of that unconditional love to places of injury, illness, and suffering.  It became clear that we cannot heal ourselves or others without the Divine spirit of unconditional love.   


Speaking the language of spirituality remains uncomfortable for too many mental health professionals, but for the sake of healing we need to become bilingual.  These new perspectives on the relationship between spirituality and healing blended perfectly with my psychological approach to the integration of subpersonalities.  This reflects the potent, untapped synergy between psychology and spirituality that has the ability to expand our understanding and skills for healing.  


In 1902, the Harvard professor William James, considered to be the “father of American psychology,” published his renowned lectures under the title, The Varieties of Religious Experience.  James considered religion, mysticism, and psychic phenomena to all hold value for a complete understanding of human nature.  Mainstream American psychology then severed itself from these roots when it embraced the paradigms of science and behaviorism in its effort to imbue psychology the same level of credibility enjoyed by the medical profession.  As important as this evolution was for the profession, some spiritual babies were thrown out with the bathwaters of religious myth and superstition.  Today, more than a century after James’ influence, psychology has embraced pharmaceuticals more comfortably than spirituality.  And while medication will always play an important role in managing symptoms of mental illness, there are legions of sufferers who would prefer more effective administrations of healing compassion before swallowing more pills.   This imbalance deserves closer attention as psychologists consider the ongoing evolution of our profession.


The Divine bar that the psychologist, psychic, healer, and angel walked into did not serve any intoxicant, but offered an elixir instead.  For the psychologist, the elixir clarified the following beliefs:


  • Separately, psychology and spirituality are each necessary and limited with respect to what they can do for healing.

  • For psychology to further advance as a healing discipline it must embrace spirituality more fully.

  • For spirituality to further advance as a healing discipline it must filter out the authoritarian and judgmental trappings of religion that contradict the sacred spirit of unconditional love.

  • In order to advance our understanding and skills for healing, psychology and spirituality need to have more collaborative dialogues.   Their worth combined far exceeds their combined worth apart.  


This fantastical story proves next to nothing - nothing about psychics, healers, angels, the Divine, or spirituality.  But what it does prove is essential.  It proves that there are unique and creative ways for both psychology and spirituality to adjust their borders and combine their assets for the sake of healing.   


I admit to feeling proud, fortunate, and grateful to be the psychologist in this story, but it is more important to admit that the greater credit for its yield is owed to the psychic, healer, angel, and the Divine.  










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