(and why a physician became a shamanic healer)
Healing is usually seen as a curing of an illness or relief of symptoms. But true healing is much more. True healing doesn’t focus only on symptom relief, but on seeking the foundation and source of any underlying imbalance, while moving towards health and wholeness in the largest sense.
I have spent my life seeking to understand the nature of healing and help people to heal. That journey began with my going to medical school, becoming a physician, and then spending an additional 4 years training as a psychiatrist, followed by 10 years of private psychiatric practice. But I soon realized that despite my intense years of training, I was still limited in how much I could help people heal – and how I myself could heal. So I pursued other more alternative trainings with a passion, one leading to another, including meditation, hypnosis, breathwork, and shamanic work.
The pursuit of the latter led me to explore and learn about ancient ways of healing from traditional native healers in this country, South America, and Africa. Those years of intense and diverse (and fascinating!) training and experiences changed my world dramatically and gave me a much larger perspective through which I view healing – a perspective that goes well beyond the western medical model. I have learned of the powerful healing wisdom that exists deep within all of us, the amazing creativity that is our essence, and the necessity of attending to the energetic and spiritual dimensions of healing. I have experienced and witnessed deep healing at all levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – of myself and others.
My greatly expanded view of healing led me to leave my practice of psychiatry in 2005 to fully follow a shamanic path that focused on this deeper nature of healing and transformation. I offer this work of deep healing in my practice in Winston-Salem, in individual healing sessions as well as group classes and workshops.
What does this work entail?
So often, the source of our ailments and suffering lie in aspects of ourselves of which we are not conscious – and which are not often appreciated or understood in our western culture. We are complex beings – and the deeper we go within, the more clearly we can see beliefs, patterns, contradictions, and energetic imbalances that are troublesome. Healing often entails breaking free of old limiting beliefs, patterns, and traumas, while reconnecting with your own deep inner wisdom, passion, and purpose.
In more concrete terms, healing sessions start by talking about what you are seeking help with as I begin to intuitively sense more deeply into your situation. For most sessions, I offer hands-on healing work with the client laying on the healing table. I create a safe space in which we can open to and track energies, emotions, thoughts, or patterns that need attention. The healing may involve grounding work, clearing of energies, reconnecting to parts of self or Source, balancing, opening to guidance, and more.
At other times I may guide a presencing meditation, helping you to listen to and access aspects of your body, psyche, and soul that have been unseen and unheard for too long. Shamanic hypnosis sessions may also do that, as well as connect in with spiritual guidance or with past lives that need healing.
A note regarding the spiritual aspects of my work: Although there is a spiritual component to shamanic work, it is not religious in any way and there is no dogma or set belief system. When I use the term ‘spiritual’, I mean it in the largest sense, regarding our deepest essence and our relationship with all of creation. I always respect and honor a client’s personal beliefs and faith (or non-faith) as we work together.
People often ask what kinds of issues or illnesses I help people with. If someone feels drawn or called to work with me, it’s good to listen to that even if you’re not sure why. That said, most often I find myself helping people with trauma, depression, anxiety, and/or fatigue, as well as those who are seeking more meaning and purpose, a deeper spiritual connection, and/or overall increased health, vitality, and passion for life. I also mentor other healers and health care professionals.
I view a path of healing as one that not only helps to heal illness, but also moves us towards more peace, vitality, and deep connection. A path that helps us access deeper levels of wisdom, intuition, meaning and purpose. A path that brings us more balance and allows for more joy and love. A path that opens us to deeper relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
Sandy Phocas is a shamanic practitioner and workshop leader in Winston-Salem NC. She can be found online at www.sandyphocas.com.