Counseling Today Article, July 2003
Mind-Body Psychotherapy that Mingles Science and Spirituality.
Soul of human machine finds counsel
By Rich Barlow, 1/3/2004
Many patients in counseling would be surprised to hear their therapist urge them to communicate with their ”soul.” But Needham therapist Judith Swack believes such talk should be the lingua franca among her clients.
Swack developed Healing from the Body Level Up™ (HBLU™), a mind-body psychotherapy that mingles science and spirituality. She acknowledged that this is not for everyone, but said those who accept her spiritual premises can find help, not just for phobias and emotional problems, but some physical ailments as well.
Question: What’s the spiritual aspect of Healing from the Body Level Up™?
Answer: Most therapy isn’t set up as a spiritual framework. They hesitate to ask people about their soul, and they don’t ask about God. I believe we all have a soul that’s radiant and beautiful. I’ve only had two people tell me they didn’t have a soul. One was a mathematics professor. The other, I’m sorry to say, is somebody who’d been sexually abused as a child. The first person, I told him I couldn’t help him, because our belief systems were so mismatched. I told [the abuse victim] I was sorry she couldn’t feel her own wisdom and soul, and we explored why she couldn’t.
Our souls are embodied in human form. Why? I believe we are embodied to manifest our soul mission, meaning [to] make our personal contribution to the world. The second reason we are embodied is to experience the fullness of life – eat, drink, learn, love, travel, experience emotional ups and downs, have a life.
Question: You believe we have a soul. How can a scientist believe something that is not provable by the scientific method?
Answer: I just code it as an assumption. I had somebody come in and tell me he didn’t think he had a soul, and I said it’s an assumption of HBLU™. I’m not going to argue about it; get over it.
Question: How does a person communicate with their soul?
Answer: Have you ever heard of your ”heart of hearts?” You know that there’s a place inside of you that you feel is your deepest wisdom, the place where you can’t lie to yourself. We access that core, which I call your soul.
Question: Although they might use different words, there are other therapies that try to do that, right?
Answer: Absolutely. I’m going to show my clients how to access their heart of hearts straight up. The soul is your connection to God or your divine energy source, which I picture as a gigantic energy amoeba. We’re part of the nervous system of God.
Question: What spiritual traditions inform Healing from the Body Level Up™?
Answer: My background is Jewish, and the Jewish perspective is that we have a pure soul and that it’s physically embodied. The Christian tradition says we are children of God. We [also] have the Taoist tradition, which is that we’re part of all life, and that we flow in cycle with the seasons. That brings me back to the scientific part. When you think about how some plant makes medication that will heal the human body, you know we belong on this planet. Our life is integrated into the planetary life.
Question: What led you to develop Healing from the Body Level Up™ and incorporate spiritual techniques into the scientific treatment of illness?
Answer: I dated several men, and it would never work out. I’m an intelligent woman. How could I make the same mistakes over and over again, one disastrous relationship after another? Finally, one of my boyfriends recommended that I go to a self-help workshop. I [learned] the reason I’m having a problem with my relationships is that I have damage in my unconscious mind.
Question: Did you ever find Mr. Right?
Answer: I did. I’ve been married for 14 years, and I have a 10-year-old daughter.
Question: Your website says that Healing from the Body Level Up™ can ”heal” things, from asthma to physical disability.
Answer: They don’t have symptoms anymore. I’m talking three-, four-, five-year follow-up data. The reason I added spirituality [to HBLU™] is because I was getting a certain degree of success [with physical ailments], but it wasn’t 100 percent. A colleague who was very spiritual told me that you have to work with people’s souls. I had [a client] with high blood pressure. Six months later, she was down to a lower dose [of medication], and her pressure had been stable for months. Her doctor attributed the stability to the work we had done together.
Rich Barlow can be reached at email@example.com.
This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 1/3/2004.
© 2003 Globe Newspaper Company. Reprinted by permission.