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The Care of the Psyche is the Care of the Soul ...

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

You may be wondering why a psychologist cares so much for the care of the soul.

In its origins, psychology is born from philosophy, the mother of all sciences and in the history of Greek philosophy, the care of the psyche referred to the care of the soul. These practices of caring for the soul had to do with acts of reflection about oneself, about the being and what made the being unique, in other words, that what makes us unique is the soul.

In Plato's dialogues, one of the most iconic writings of the Greek tradition is reflected in how Socrates, through what later became known as the Socratic method, invited his interlocutors and apprentices to question and reflect on themselves, to reflect about their beliefs and opinions. The objective of this being to raise awareness about themselves. Later the care of the soul was elaborated by the religious tradition with authors like Santo Tomas and San Agustín and in modernity, we find philosophers like Michel Foucault, who have worked in depth on the theme of self-care, such as caring for the soul. Through the writings and works of these philosophers a common denominator can be denoted, that is, that for these philosophers the care of the psyche is the care of the soul.

For example, Foucault raises self-care in his book, the following:

That caring for oneself or caring for the soul consists in generating subjective practices that allow creating a relationship with oneself and that from this relationship, the individual becomes the subject of his actions and not a victim of the actions of others That is to say, that the relationship that he establishes with himself, from this care, from this concern about himself, in some way empowers the individual, to be more aware of his decisions and actions and as a result to guide these coherently, with the knowledge that has been built and the life he wants to live.

How many times have we heard that this is not the case? it is what we do with what happens to us that makes a big difference between one and the other. Empowered and victim.

I would like to continue this blog with a paragraph from a book that touched me very deeply as a psychologist and a healer:

according to Ortega y Gasset in his book the rebellion of the masses:

“We live in a time that one feels fabulously capable of doing, but one doesn't know what to do. We dominate all things, but we do not own ourselves. We feel lost in our own abundance. With more means, more knowledge, more techniques than ever, it turns out that today's world is the most unfortunate there has ever been: purely adrift ”.

I consider and believe that perhaps many of you can agree with this, although we are at a moment in the history of humanity, where we have managed to achieve so many things on an intellectual and material level; we find at the same time that day by day the statistics of chronic diseases and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety are on the rise, at the same time, we see that suicide rates are also increasing, not only in adults but also in adolescents and children. Continuously in my practice, my colleagues and I find that the emotional issues we are most consulted about include:

l A feeling of emptiness.

l A lack of sense in what we do daily.

l Vague feelings of depression.

l Disillusionment regarding marriage, family, relationships, work, etc.

l An unsatisfied yearning for fulfillment and personal sense.

In reality, what exists, is an existential void and a lack of meaning, so that, what is done, that what is owned and that what is desired lacks a meaning consistent with the truest self. What there is, is a general lack in our society of fullness of the soul.

How many people do we know that "have it all" and are not happy, or have a chronic illness, or a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, often caused by high levels of stress, or have a dysfunctional relationship or family?

I wanted to write this blog because I consider that sometimes we are conditioned by society to seek happiness in a certain way and it turns out that personal happiness is so unique and the way to reach it is as particular as each human being, nobody in the world It is like us, no one in the world feels and thinks like us, no one has lived the same story, so the path to happiness is unique for each human being. For this reason, spaces for reflection and healing are a valuable tool to get to know ourselves better and discover which is that path, that unique personal recipe to happiness, the reality is that we will not know an less we take the time to hear the whispers of our soul.

As I had shared before, these healing spaces are not exclusive for dealing with moments of crisis or personality problems. These spaces are ideal places to start working on the most important relationship in life, which is the relationship with yourself.

This is a process through which you can get to know your strengths,  limitations, and most importantly your standards of happiness, which really makes me feel satisfied and happy beyond any social or family standard.

This knowledge is a reflective process about our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. A healing session and spiritual coaching is the ideal space for this and the practitioner is the creator of this space, free of prejudice, and with the necessary objectivity for this reflection.

Traditionally we think happiness is believed to be achieved through the elimination of problems and conflicts with others. However, when we are talking about self-care or soul care, the goal is not necessarily the elimination of problems. On the contrary, reflection on the causes of these problems are increible sources of opportunities to get to know yourself better. Each situation or person that bothers us, tells us about what we do not want to be or about what we would like to be, each situation is an opportunity to consciously recognize and reflect on what is happening around us, how we live and react to life itself.

And most importantly if we are aware of these reactions and how they affect us, consciously acknowledging this allows us to build the puzzle of who we are and what makes us truly happy. As a result of this reflection, what usually happens is that problems change in dynamics, so although solving them is not the direct objective, they usually dissolve as a result of awareness and as a result of decisions made in light of this new self-knowledge.

Caring for yourself, caring for the soul is a continuous process, which beyond eliminating problems as I described above; focuses on becoming aware of oneself, how we live life, the idea is to gradually refine this knowledge for decision-making that favors personal growth, mental health, personal satisfaction, and happiness.

By Lorena Martínez

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