To order the book, Healing of the Soul Shamanism & Psyche, email Ann Drake (anndrake1@gmail.com).

Healing of the Soul is a book about how the ancient healing practice of shamanism can enrich the work of psychotherapy in the West. The psyche, as we understand it, is extremely complex with richly textured layers. Western psychological theory brings us to the edge of truly understanding the psyche but bars us from a fuller comprehension. A shamanic perspective widens our perception of the psyche and shatters the confines of many of our existing beliefs.

Healing of the Soul describes the journey that led me to attempt to synthesize, in both theory and practice, two seemingly different yet surprisingly compatible systems of healing. As a psychologist, I often faced questions to which I had no answers. Working with clients who had experienced severe trauma, I began to glimpse aspects of how the psyche works that are far beyond what we currently allow into conscious awareness. During a visit to Borneo, I met a shaman who opened my eyes and heart to a different way of knowing. The Bomoh initiated me into the lineage of his shamanic path, opening the mysteries of his teachings and of the spirit world to me.

As a psychologist and a student of shamanism, I have discovered elements of western psychological theory in shamanic practice that bring intellectual form to a seemingly unstructured process. The goal of Healing of the Soul is to provide a bridge between shamanism and psychotherapy so that a blend of the two will emerge that can facilitate deeper levels of repairing and restoring the soul.

The heart of the book is my personal journey from being a clinical psychologist to becoming a shaman’s apprentice. Clinical stories bring to life the process of integrating the ancient and magical practices of shamanism with psychotherapy. Current psychological theories—from object relations, cognitive, and systemic perspectives—are interlaced with examples of shamanic healing to illustrate the power of the work and enhance our knowledge of the soul. The reader travels with me as I journey to other realms to meet the guides who instruct me on the steps needed for healing my clients. How I interface shamanic work with my psychological practice is woven throughout the text. Another focus of the book is to offer a new perspective on healing. In the West, we tend to break a problem down to its smallest part and explore this part in depth, trying to find the one thing that will solve the problem. In contrast, shamanism places healing in a larger context.

To understand the psyche, and in turn the soul, we must grasp the interconnection among the physical, emotional, spiritual, and political aspects of existence, including ways in which these forces interact to create who we are. Healing of the Soul draws on several theories and traditions, exploring the many factors that impact the psyche, so that the true nature of the soul can emerge. Combining shamanic healing with psychotherapy facilitates this process. The groundbreaking integration of this ancient healing practice with western psychological theory expands and enhances the way we conceptualize who we are. I invite the readers to listen with an inner wisdom to the ideas offered.  I am currently working on my second book, The Energetic Dimension: Understanding Our Ancestral, Karmic and Cultural  Imprints.

To order the book, email Ann Drake (anndrake1@gmail.com).