Fire Talk Counseling vs. Psychotherapy

The spiritual practices of indigenous healing traditions are all geared toward the same thing: connecting people directly with their spiritual center or heart for practical wisdom, guidance, and healing.  In these traditions there is no hierarchy of doctor vs. patient, and no imbalance of authority between helper and helpee.  There is no doctor, therapist, priest, minister or spiritual "guru" with special knowledge or power.  The healing authority -- the real teacher and doctor-- is understood to be the heart.  The practitioner acts only as a facilitator or, as the Lakota healer Old Fools Crow explained, a  “hollow bone” (empty conduit) for the power and guidance of Great Spirit.

Indigenous people understood the heart as the real crux of life.  In their traditional view, everything has a sacred center or heart and is a manifestation of the Creator. To find the heart in oneself  is to harness the power of the Great Spirit itself for personal healing, change and transformation. This a teachable skill that can be learned and trusted, so the seeker can discern between the authentic callings of the Sacred, and one's passing emotions, impulses, and libido.

This approach is different from standard psychological approaches.  In standard psychological counseling the therapist acts as a doctor and higher authority who examines and then diagnoses the patient as sick from various categories of mental illness. Clients can then spend weeks, months, even years digging into their past lives to explore the unconscious psyche, taking medications, and trying to gain insight about why they are unhappy.

In indigenous healing traditions illness and unhappiness is understood primarily as soul loss: loss of vital energy, joy, purpose and power.  Thus the treatment for anxiety or depression is not to go to therapy or take an antidepressant: it's to get your soul back.

Heart-based counseling is very practical. You know you are healing not when a doctor or therapist diagnoses you as better or finished with therapy, but when you feel the vitality return to your body and your life.  When your life-vision is restored, your passion, your joy, your strength and your power.  When you begin to shape and move your life in new directions of your own choosing.

Heart-based healing is not an ideology, a new age metaphysics, a religion or philosophy. It’s an ancient, experience-based methodology for healing, visioning and way-finding. And it works.


“It seems like weeks since I saw you and it was only five days ago. I am well! I can’t tell you how ecstatically happy I am! Where the hell did that come from?! I have also asked myself questions that never occurred to me before. Whose voice was that?!  -Love & light hugs! Kat