Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is SpiritedScience®?
A. SpiritedScience® is my unique approach to coaching/counseling. It effortlessly blends cutting-edge science with guidance from the spirit realms (ancestors, helping spirits, spirit guides and allies, the spirits of nature, and the Divine) to help you heal old traumas and move forward in a healthy way toward realizing your life purpose. I have always been able to easily marry science and spirit without conflict, and my visionary approach can help you reach your goals faster than one or the other in isolation. Unlike other band-aid style practices, SpiritedScience® is an integrated approach to healing and growth that addresses all aspects of the Self: mind, body, and spirit. It’s healing from the inside out for both horse and human!
Q. What is “trauma-focused” counseling?
A. Trauma-focused counseling is not limited to clients with trauma histories; rather, the mental health counseling approach that I utilize is based on current trauma-focused research in the field of neurobiology. This research has given us a more complete understanding of the ways that the brain adapts and changes when faced with a situation that threatens our safety and well-being. Traumatic experiences can be understood as existing on a continuum. Traumatic experiences can be sudden or cumulative. Sources of trauma might be adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), generational trauma, or extreme stress that overwhelms an adult’s ability to cope, to name just a few. Trauma can even occur in utero! And trauma is subjective; what is traumatizing to one person may not be traumatizing to another. According to the Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship handbook, trauma is “any situation in which survival is an overriding concern, and therefore the brain must make changes to accommodate that need for survival” (Tim Jobe & Bettina Shultz-Jobe, 2016, p. 10). “Trauma-focused,” then, is a lens through which to view psychotherapy and counseling. It is a way to understand and help the client heal and change behaviors that no longer work for them.
Q. Why do you use hypnosis? What can it do for me?
A. Hypnosis is a way to alter your consciousness and speak directly to your subconscious mind. Only 10% of your mind is actually in the realm of consciousness, leaving 90% of the workings of your mind in the subconscious. As a coach/counselor AND a consulting hypnotherapist, I help you work on your goals both consciously and subconsciously, so you are harnessing the formidable power of your entire mind. You can achieve what you want faster and easier by enlisting the assistance of your vast and highly influential subconscious mind. You can uncover and remove the blocks that are keeping you from moving forward. You can connect with your Higher Self for wisdom and guidance. You can release old patterns and develop newer, more productive habits with hypnosis. You can understand and heal past-life issues with hypnosis. Using hypnotherapy with coaching, mental health counseling, and shamanic counseling is like stepping on the gas, accelerating your progress.
Q. I’ve watched stage hypnotist shows, and people in these shows always do some silly things under hypnosis. I’m afraid that under hypnosis, you can make me tell secrets or do things I don’t want to do. Is that true?
A. Absolutely not. You won’t do anything under hypnosis that goes against your values. The people who are in those shows volunteered to be there, knowing full-well what would be expected of them. In other words, they were willing to do those things. You have complete control at all times under hypnosis. Basically, you put yourself into hypnosis. This is something people do all the time. When you read a book, you are actually in an altered state of consciousness. Another example is “highway hypnosis,” which almost everyone has experienced. That’s when you drive to your destination, but don’t remember parts of your trip. You still arrived safely because your subconscious mind did the driving. Your conscious mind was free to get out of the way. That is what hypnosis is like. Your own mind does the work. I am simply trained to facilitate the process. It’s easier for you to just release and relax and allow me to guide you where you want to go. And it’s always your agenda. I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.
Q. Can I get stuck in hypnosis?
A. No. Consider that you and I must work in cooperation in order for hypnosis to be effective in helping you reach your goals. That being said, I would never leave you in a hypnotic state, and even if I was called away and didn’t bring you out, one of two things would happen: 1.) You would simply bring yourself out of it, or 2.) You would fall asleep and then wake up, still effectively bringing yourself out of it. So don’t worry, you can’t get stuck in hypnosis. Hypnosis has been around (formally) since the 1700s and no one has ever been stuck in hypnosis.
You may want to read this blog post for more information about hypnosis: The Truth About Hypnosis.
Q. Do you work with people who don’t have horses?
A. Of course! Equine-assisted counseling is facilitated at Rivendell Farm with our own horses (the majority of which are rescued). But you don’t need to be “horsey” or have your own horse to benefit from equine-assisted counseling or equine-assisted learning. If this kind of healing/empowerment speaks to you, you are most welcome. And don’t be intimidated by the horses, either, if you have no experience. We are careful to not place you in any situations that you can’t handle. Your safety is our utmost concern at all times. That being said, there are times when stretching your capabilities may make you uncomfortable, and that’s all part of growth. But rest assured, we are very careful to never over-face you or put you in danger. Safety first!
Q. Do you hypnotize horses?
A. No. I don’t know how one would know if a horse is or isn’t hypnotized! I train and communicate with horses in a fashion that seems telepathic and a bit uncanny at times. Maybe there’s an element of hypnosis in some of my techniques in that a relaxed horse is connected, listening, and cooperative, but it’s hard to say. I think it’s more like mindfulness – being completely in the moment together. However, hypnosis (as I practice it) is for the people, not the horses.
Q. What is proper attire for working with and around horses?
A. You should wear closed-toed shoes, preferably leather and preferably with a one-inch heel. Sneakers or tennis shoes are strongly discouraged. No sandals, flip-flops, or open-toed shoes, ever! Jeans or other well-fitting long pants are required, with a comfortable shirt. You may wish to wear a hat to shield your face from the sun unless we are doing mounted work, in which case, you will need a riding helmet (which we provide); however, equine-assisted work is usually ground work. We will be outdoors, so dress for the expected weather.
Q. Do you work with the horses in inclement weather?
A. Only if it’s light occasional rain or intermittent snow showers. If the rain or snow is heavy, we will not work that day in the outdoor arena. We may do some grooming (a great way to bond and build connection with your horse) or other hands-on techniques with the horses inside the barn. When we have built our indoor arena, we will have more control over when we conduct our equine-assisted sessions.
Q. Can I bring my dog/cat to sessions on the farm?
A. No. Strange animals will disrupt the harmonious energy of the resident animals and create more chaos than we are prepared to deal with while facilitating a session. Please be considerate and leave your own pets at home.
Q. Where are your non-equine sessions and classes held?
A. Sessions that don’t involve horses (or “Walk & Talk”) directly are held at Anahata Mental Health Counseling in Cicero, NY. Office hours are by appointment only.
Q. Oh, shamanism, I’ve heard of that! Are you a Native American medicine person?
A. No. Shamanic cultures once existed all over the world, and many still do. There are unbroken shamanic traditions in Africa, Central and South America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand, as well as North America, of course. My training and practice include Peruvian Amazon, Irish Celtic, and “Core” Shamanism. I lean mainly toward the Celtic traditions, but what I actually do is decided case-by-case in partnership with my helping spirits. Along with my professional training with some of the best teachers in the US and Canada, my ancestors from both my Irish and my Native American lineages guide me in my shamanic work.
Q. What is soul retrieval, and how do I know if I need it?
A. Shamanic cultures have always believed that when we experience a trauma, part of our soul leaves to avoid the full brunt of the pain — which is a great self protection mechanism, but sometimes those parts don’t find their way back on their own. Events like abuse, accident, or even divorce can cause soul loss. Symptoms of soul loss include: dissociation, chronic depression, PTSD, immune deficiency problems, or feeling like “I’ve never been myself since ___.” Soul retrieval can reunite us with those missing parts, returning to us that lost essence and vitality, and the sense of wholeness that is every person’s birthright. I believe that almost everyone in Western culture can benefit from at least one soul retrieval, and maybe more, so soul retrievals are an essential part of the SpiritedScience® Programs.
Q. Curse Unraveling? Do people seriously believe in that stuff in this day and age?
A. Even if you don’t believe in them, curses still happen. Perhaps someone placed a familial curse on one or more of your ancestors that still affects your family today. Perhaps you carry a curse that was placed on you lifetimes ago and reverberates down through the ages. Or (and this occurs more commonly) perhaps you were “cursed” by a parent or sibling, where something negative they said to you in childhood was taken in and became a limiting self-belief. Technically, what I do is curse and thoughtform unraveling, and the latter is an example of a thoughtform, which essentially works like a curse in your life (self-fulfilling prophecy). Chances are, if you’ve ever seriously thought you might be cursed, you probably are. I can safely unravel and free you from those energies. After curse/thoughtform unraveling, there can be amazing transformations in clients’ lives.
Q. Okay, so how does all this work? When I make an appointment, what should I expect?
A. We will schedule a Discovery Call to see if we are a good fit to work together. If we decide to develop our therapeutic or coaching relationship, I will then send you some required paperwork to fill out through your Client Portal on SimplePractice that must be returned to me before our first session. The intake is where we get to know each other and I gain some understanding of the issues you’d like to work on and the goals you’d like to attain. We can then formulate a customized plan of action to help you become unstuck and moving toward your own growth, healing, and happiness. This plan may include hypnotherapy, past life regression, shamanic healing, life coaching sessions, counseling, classes, equine-assisted work, or any of the other tools I have in my healer’s toolkit that we agree may benefit you on your way to wellness. I don’t use a cookie-cutter approach, because you are an individual and what works for one person may not work for another. Having said that, I can’t do it for you; you also have to do the work. The best results are achieved when you make a long-term commitment to the process. After all, your results are directly proportional to the effort you put in. Therefore, I will expect you to commit to a counseling or coaching program that is either 10 or 12 weeks in duration. We will discuss the general differences in those programs at the intake.