Spirit Well |  Willow Rose, Licensed Professional Counselor

The Therapeutic Process
“The Way to the goal seems chaotic and interminable at first. Only gradually do the signs increase that it is leading anywhere. The Way is not straight but appears to go round in circles. More accurate, knowledge has proved it to go in spirals.” — C.G. Jung

The Spiral Path


Our life journey is often defined in a linear fashion. Some of these linear guidelines are useful descriptors; such as human life can be described in part, as beginning at birth and ending at death.

It’s a simple formula but frequently not helpful when it comes to the full expression of human development and the healing, therapeutic process.

I have observed and suggest, that our life journey might be more accurately defined and experienced as a multidimensional Spiral Pathway. We begin from a point, a center: expand, contract, differentiate and disappear into the center point once again. This life pattern mirrors the inhalation and exhalation of each breath and the expansion and contraction dance of our life cycle.

We are born with this energetic flow etched deeply within our life essence. It leads us to explore, expand, gain wisdom and ultimately return to our authentic self.

Because our path is so imbued with this spiral movement, we often find our life returning or cycling back to similar issues and patterns. It is important and hopeful to note that though the same issues may reappear, we always have the opportunity to address them from an enhanced state of awareness. This perspective is gifted via that innate dynamic flow, which continues to carry us along the spiral pathway.

The deeper therapeutic process supports awareness of these personal patterns and creates opportunities to review them with fresh eyes. One can then, chose to accept, shift, change, let go, grow and continue the inner directed movement toward self-awareness and full expression of our unique life’s work and gifts.

In imagining life as a spiral journey, it is helpful to also recall that spirals are an ancient symbol with many meanings depending upon culture, spiritual tradition and personal experience. They are often said to represent the energetic flow of awareness and action from either an inner or outer perspective.

One view starts at the core and expands outwardly to engage with the world; the other view begins in the other direction, leading from attention to outer consciousness, inward toward connection with our center.

Both directions are necessary and both directions are highlighted at different times in the healing process.


The Triple Spiral Passageway

There are also times in life when the calling to explore a particular issue or distress is so very loud and complicated, the singular spiral metaphor is simply not expansive enough to hold the work. In these times, the symbol of the Triple Spiral is a powerful and dynamic container to describe the inner unfolding.

Images of Triple Spirals are found especially amongst the Celtic Lands. Engraved in Neolithic sites, older than the pyramids, they have been taken to represent various trinities of relationship: Birth-Life-Death; Land-Sea-Air; and the tripartite qualities of gods, goddesses and religious doctrines.

I envision the Triple Spiral as a Passageway and metaphor describing an internal therapeutic process. One spiral leads to and engages the next. Though the boundaries blur, there are certain qualities and tasks more often attached to each spiral turn of the Triple Passageway journey.

What follows is a short descriptor of each of the three, spiral passageways. This ancient template is mirrored in many traditions, models of life and spiritual initiations. After integrating and completing a specific Triple Spiral Passageway, we return again with the gifts of our experience to re-engage with the primary spiral of our personal life journey.


First Spiral: Falling Inward

Task: Acceptance and Awareness

We become aware of current distress or suffering in some form. Disconnection, discontent, disempowerment, fear and isolation may dominate our experience. There is frequently a feeling of having lost our inner or outer foundation or being naked, striped away from familiar forms.

We may find our self thrown into this experience by a powerful vision, dream, illness, unexplained event, brush with death or severe loss. This state is liminal: “betwixt and between.” We perceive our self as separated from what has come before and uncertain of what will next arise.

In some way, we are being asked to let go of crutches and habits and surrender to the falling inward of this spiral and the discoveries that await. First we must accept this journey. Then awareness can emerge guiding us to walk toward the roots of our suffering and potential healing of those sources. As we stop running and turn to care for our most tender self, the first threads of hope may arise.


Second Spiral: Doorway

Task: Realignment and Vision

The initiating energy of the first spiral may strongly propel us directly over the threshold and into the spin of the second spiral. Once through this doorway, it is oft times experienced as an entryway into a bit quieter, less crisis driven state, which can support looking inward. Insight and enhanced awareness can give us the opportunity to re-examine the sources of our personal suffering in the light of new possibilities. As we become more aware of our own wisdom and strength, we can often find a natural way to release what is no longer of value to us and then recommit to an even deeper engagement in this journey.

This state can also be disorienting as we slowly come to understand our fears and suffering are not demons, but teachers. We gain skills to interact with our inner shadows rather than run from them.

Through we may still experience darkness or fear, a new foundation is being created as we encounter our own inner essence and are given fresh views of what reality might be. From this vantage we discover the need to become active on our own behalf.

In our passageway through this spiral, we begin integration and acknowledgment of who we are becoming. We start to realign to new values, beliefs, self-identity or life calling. This is a time to explore and envision next steps in our life.


Third Spiral: Return

Task: Embodiment and Engaged Action

If awareness is the soil, realignment and vision the seed, then embodiment and engaged action are the tree and fruit. Ultimately, our task is to offer the best of what we can to others and ourselves.

Some consider the passageway of this spiral the most challenging to negotiate. Time must be created to integrate and care for the new self. The phase of return and applying what we have discovered into our personal and collective lives can be difficult.

Embodiment is the process of stepping into and accepting responsibility for taking what one has learned into the light of day. Engaged action arises from an empowered and also humble attitude born of the fruits of our journey.

This passageway continues inward integration of our path as well as guiding us to understand that human evolution is a reflection of both individual and collective experiences.

Our personal calling or life work may seem small in comparison to others. But when it emerges from alignment with our wisest truth; embodying our personal vision nourishes our own life with joy and is integral to the positive development of the whole.

Copyright © 2008; Copyright © 2017. Willow Ann Rose - SpiritWell. All rights reserved.