Shamanism vs. Psychology

The Difference Between Shamanism and Psychological Counseling?

Shamanism connects people directly with their spiritual center or heart for healing, information and guidance. There is no intermediary: no doctor, therapist, priest, minister or spiritual guru. The heart is the teacher, and the shamanic practitioner acts only as a facilitator or “hollow bone” (Old Fools Crow) for the teachings and guidance of Great Spirit. Shamanic methods provide the seeker with time-tested tools for doing this with skill and integrity.

Indigenous people understood the heart as the real crux of life.  In the shamanic view, everything has a sacred center or heart; thus everything is a partial expression of the Great Spirit. To find the heart in oneself then, and to listen and follow the invitations within the heart, 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 our passing emotions, impulses, and libido.

This approach is different from standard psychological approaches.  In standard psychological counseling the therapist acts as a doctor 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 to explore the unconscious psyche and try to gain insight about why they are unhappy.

But for the soul to be explored, it has to be fully in residence, and it’s very difficult for therapy to succeed when the therapist is talking to a person who isn’t entirely there due to past trauma and soul loss. The shaman helps people get their soul-self back into the body and into the present moment, where all our power for change and forward living resides.

Shamanism is very practical. You know you are getting better not when a doctor or therapist decides you have completed therapy, but when you feel it in your body and in your heart as you come alive with new energy, vision, peace and joy. You know you are healing when you see it in your life and relationships as they open up and move in new directions of your choosing.

Shamanism is not an ideology, a new age metaphysics, a religion or philosophy. It’s an ancient, experience-based methodology for healing, life 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