Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – Apr 2015
Dear Dr. Toni:
I have been a recovering heroin addict for five years and have been in therapy for the past year. It has really helped me to work through my pattern of wanting to check out when the going gets tough. However, I have been feeling this growing need to do something courageous on the physical level, not just the spiritual and psychological levels. As a kid I was not very athletic and shied away from games that required physical discomfort of any kind.
Recently, I have been working out at the gym and my body is definitely getting stronger. This may sound like a strange request to an advice columnist, but I was wondering if you know of any adventure-like vacations that also have a spiritual tone to them.
There are tours that specialize in spiritual adventures. You can google them for more information. I did do some inquiry for you to get a personal referral to give you as well. A colleague of mine told me about one that is just for men to the rainforest in Equador. It is sponsored by the Pachamamma Alliance, an organization that has provided financial resources to keep oil companies from taking over the rainforest. This trip, I am told, can both connect you with this deeply transformative environment while providing an opportunity to explore your interior self and perhaps come out the other side with a new life purpose. Here is the link: http://www.pachamama.org/journeys/dates/apr-10.
Wherever it is, may your journey bring you back to yourself in a new and surprising fashion.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I went to your website and noticed that besides being a therapist, you are also an astrologer. How do you use astrology to help people with addiction recovery, or are they separate things you do?
The answer to your question is that they are both. I have clients who come to me for just one session to do a soul blueprint analysis and I have clients who are my ongoing psychotherapy clients whom I also do a chart for when we begin working together.
I was trained in the Jungian tradition. Carl Jung brought astrology into the field of psychoanalysis in the early part of the twentieth century because he saw that there are more influences in the making of personality than Freud did. He studied Eastern philosophy, which takes into account the influence of past lives and collective archetypes that humans all over the world have in common. He also mused on the influence that planets in our solar system have on the individual human being. Both Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo taught medical students the science of astrology in looking at physical disease.
With clients who are in recovery, I have been able to prepare them for cycles they might go through that could make them vulnerable to relapse. In people who are not in recovery, I have been able to uncover addictive patterns that would have taken months for them to possibly admit to.
I have recently begun working with a woman who had been seeing a spiritual coach for the past year. She never told her coach that she was having an extramarital affair. I could see it in the chart and in spite of her report that she had never done anything like this before, the chart showed me that she was very comfortable with dual relationships and had overlapped relationships in the past. She admitted to this.
In a client’s chart you can also see the propensity for addictions that are not as obvious. I warned a client that his infant son could have an allergy to sugar that might lead to an addiction to alcohol later on. The boy is now eleven years old and he indeed gets asthmatic symptoms from sugar so he is allowed to eat only low glycemic desserts such as those made with coconut sugar or stevia. The child’s maternal grandfather was an alcoholic, so it may be that his severe allergy to sugar may prevent him from having to confront alcohol addiction.
I have also seen that astrology can help in determining the kind of recovery protocol that would work the best for the client. Some clients are absolutely made for group support like AA and some clients (often people who are empaths) get drained by being in groups with other alcoholics so they need more one-on-one support, meditation tools to handle their stress, and reading materials that are recovery based.
In summary, astrology has helped me as a clinician to have more distinctions in assessing appropriate treatment and timing for when to suggest making big changes.