Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Chronic Grief-Spiritual Midwifery: A New Diagnostic and Healing Paradigm

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Chronic Grief-Spiritual Midwifery: A New Diagnostic and Healing Paradigm

Article excerpt

"The science of unitary human beings portends a new world." Martha Rogers 1991

For several decades we have been in the midst of a shift in consciousness which began with the ancient messages of "unbearable compassion" and "unconditional love" given to the planet in the early teachings of the Buddha and of Jesus Christ. This message has been sidetracked away from mainstream western society for centuries. In fact, it was used historically, to further the old fear-based paradigm of original sin and suffering which became doctrine in the fifth century, with the adoption as doctrine of Augustine's discussions on his own process. Many Crusades were launched on the basis of this doctrine, in particular the crusade against women which lasted from the seventh century to the seventeenth century. Women were the major healers and herbalists of the middle ages. The fear carried in the archetypal memory of women continues to haunt us, and because nursing has been largely a women's profession, I believe we have been influenced deeply by this archetypal fear. In more recent years western society seems to be moving towards a "compassion and unconditional love-based" ideal. This model is being chronicled by many writers, among them scientists from physics, biology, the environmental sciences, nursing and the medical sciences. (Prigogine 1984; Capra 1995; Kühn 1962; Rogers 1991). These writers believe that societies all over the planet are approaching a critical point when the way people view themselves and the way they think about their relationship to the planet will stem from a core of compassion and responsibility for self. This shift in consciousness has been quickening, and accelerating in the past thirty years, indicating that many of the ideas which were considered with suspicion in the 1960's have now entered the mainstream of thinking.

SEPARATION FROM SELF

The shift in consciousness has brought people face to face with the fact that they can no longer hide from this archetypal pain, and from these deepest fears. Instead of turning to the taverns, hotspots, and their addictions for self-comforting and self-medicating, people are going to twelve-step meetings and into therapy. Those clinicians who call themselves psychotherapists have had a large challenge in the past three decades to change the old image that psychiatry and psychoanalysis carried; the prejudices against psychotherapy are diminishing in the population at large. Nevertheless with the upsurge in insurance companies taking over the mental health field, people have become fearful of getting their diagnoses on the computer, and thus into the public domain. It has been documented that a diagnosis of depression lost a woman a job she was seeking, and she had to sue to get redress.

SPIRITUAL CRISIS VERSUS FEAR BASED DIAGNOSES

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) carries a number of what clients have experienced as "fear-based" diagnoses. It describes people who fall into certain categories of the medical model of disease (not dis-ease). These categories such as major depression, borderline personality disorder etc, to my mind as an anthropologist, actually describe persons who have been in "spiritual crisis" as far back as they can remember. They say "all of my life I have felt this way." This is the standard phrase often offered when presenting themselves for healing. They are continuing to grieve the loss of attachment which befell them at preverbal time periods in their lives. Attachment and bonding are supposed to create a deep connection for us with those who are significant to us at those early stages in life. If the significant persons are not themselves connected to Self/Spirit, then they cannot offer it to their babies. So, more fundamentally most of the clients we see, including ourselves, are grieving their very early separation from Self/Spirit. They are suffering what I call the "broken baby and lost spirit" syndrome. …

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