As I explore the use of naturism for therapy, a journey to mental-health wellness, I am talking about a private, “self-therapy”, not a process that is done in the office of a therapist. Therapy, as any therapist worth her or his title can tell you, is a “work” that is done by the person who is in search of healing. A therapist is, at best, a guide. The therapist as guide can only be an effective guide if she or he has taken the same journey through what James Hollis has called “the Swamplands of the Soul.” Having been there and done that, there is a better chance that the therapist will give you tasks and challenges that will teach the skills needed to grow into the light. For, it is the light that is the source of healing.
Light exposes the darkness, the shadows that haunt us bringing us into a state of despair. With light, we strip away the power of what is hidden in the shadows, our inner shadows. Naturism, as a healing strategy, is a deliberate action to build confidence in “self.” But, where does one start? I want to provide a small blueprint of possibilities, a template that is based on the assumption that nudity is not a comfortable state of being. It begins with taking “baby” steps with the intention of improving one’s self-concept which is challenged internally and externally. If you wrestling with the darkness and despair of brokenness, one’s physical sense of self is as challenged as one’s inner sense of self.
- Select a safe place where you can be alone with yourself without fear of being interrupted. You can even lock the door to this space if there is a sense that someone, even a trusted someone, might enter.
- Prepare this space as your sanctuary. Cushions, an armchair, a rocking chair, or anything that is about comfort while you engage in “hard mental work” is placed in the space along with other objects such as incense, candles, aromatic oils, source of peace inducing music, etc.
- Prepare writing materials for it is necessary for you to document the journey. Part of the journey needs you to look back and see where you have been in order to learn from all that has happened so that you don’t get trapped in a constant repetition of the same defeating behaviours and attitudes.
- Spend time in this sacred and safe space – listen to music, or meditate, or play an instrument, or simply rest without any other agenda other than “being” present in your sacred space. I would recommend about fifteen minutes to a half-hour of this each day. If possible, try to do this at the same time each day.
- Write in your journal whatever comes to mind following this activity – what questions, what images, what feelings surfaced. What thoughts arrived? Write without making judgments of the worth of your words. The journal is for your eyes only and spelling and grammar is not an issue.
- Take a deep breath and realise that what has happened is a vital part of the healing journey. This is enough for a beginning for the journey is not a race to a finish line. You will build strength through repetition of small steps as you build new patterns in your life.
Thus the journey of healing begins.