Center For Attitudinal Healing
PHILOSOPHY

 
ATTITUDINAL HEALING: A practical spirituality

      Attitudinal Healing is the foundation of the Center approach. It has been described by Dr. Jampolsky as a practical spirituality. It is non-dogmatic and does not conflict with any spiritual orientation. It is a general approach to life. Attitudinal Healing integrates practical spiritual principles into a psychological format. These principles introduce the dynamic of choice into the psychological process, and offers people the opportunity to step through the fear, conflict or separation they are feeling, and often recycling, and make a choice to experience peace of mind instead, even in the face of real difficulty.

      Attitudinal Healing regards our primary identity as spiritual, and affirms that each individual possesses a quality of being or inner nature that is essentially loving, and this loving nature is shared by all human beings.

      Attitudinal Healing states that love is the most important healing force in the world. It defines health as inner peace and healing as a process of letting go of fear

      Attitudinal Healing asserts that it is not people or circumstances outside ourselves that cause us conflict or distress, but rather what causes us conflict are our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes about people and events. By exploring the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that cause us conflict and distress we can eventually heal them. This begins with a willingness to find another way of looking at the world, at ourselves and at our relationship to others. It is discovering the value we have placed on fearful and conflicted ideas and thoughts, and then making new choices to no longer find value in them.

      Attitudinal Healing views the purpose of all communication as joining, not separation and regards happiness itself as a choice. Each instant is seen as an opportunity to reexamine our lives and to choose again what it is we want to experience.

      Attitudinal Healing supports people in finding a different way of looking at life and death, or approaching difficult situations or relationships in a new way. Whether it a woman with breast cancer, a grieving parent, a child with leukemia, or a person with AIDS, each person in their own unique way explores this approach for its potential to open them to moments of real inner peace and to a deeper sense of joining with others. Attitudinal Healing can facilitate a dramatic change in thinking, feeling and attitude, and change a person's experience entirely, even in the face of extreme circumstances.

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PEER SUPPORT: Ordinary People Making a Difference

    From its very beginning, the Center has used a peer support model. The people involved in service at the Center are ordinary people, not experts. The chief qualification is a willingness to be unconditionally loving, to listen without judgment, and be empathic and honest. Professionals do volunteer at the Center but they leave their titles at the door. A cornerstone of our approach is the principle of equality. We say: We are all students and teachers to each other. That applies to everyone at the Center: staff, volunteers and participants. Many of our trained volunteers who do what we call "service work" are people who have recovered from a life threatened illness or those who have lost a loved one. But peer support doesn't just come from volunteers. Everyone in our support programs give support.

    Through its peer support approach, the Center taps the vast human resource available in the community. It does this by offering people the opportunity to serve, and supporting them with training, guidance and mentoring. The Center provides volunteers with intensive training experiences, in some cases as much as 100 hours, to prepare them to serve others. Its volunteer corps is drawn from people who have recovered from serious illness, overcome the loss of a loved one, or simply people who want to learn and serve in an environment like the Center . The Center offers training to volunteers who perform a variety of tasks, including the following:

  • They facilitate support groups for children, adolescent and adults.
  • They conduct outreach programs in schools, prisons and for the homeless. They give emotional and spiritual support to family members of a life-threatened person.
  • Visit people who are confined to their home or the hospital because of an illness.
  • They offer loss and grief support.

    In our volunteer training programs, the Center facilitates learning experiences that enable people to effectively serve others. There is a set of conditions, when met consistently, that evoke an atmosphere of unconditional support, and in this atmosphere, healing and personal growth is inevitable. The Center's success in applying peer support is the result of a solid training program and people who sincerely want to support others.

    But, as was said previously, peer support doesn't only come from trained volunteers. Everyone is giving and receiving support. Whatever the problem, the Center offers a place for people faced with a similar challenge to come together and to help one another make the kind of shift in thinking, feeling and attitude that changes our experience entirely. It is a process of healing fearful, painful perceptions and what the Center offers is an atmosphere that is conducive to healing.

The Power of Love: Guidelines for A Healing Relationship

Our approach emphasizes a set of guidelines that help establish the conditions for a healing relationship. The basic tenets supporting a healing relationship are briefly described below:

Peace as Our Only Goal
    In every situation and in every relationship we can practice making a choice to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside. A peaceful mind is neither judgmental nor defensive. It is open and centered in the present moment.

Equality and Authenticity
    When we enter a relationship with an attitude of equality and authenticity we free the relationship to become much more than someone filling a role. Authenticity means taking off our professional hats, dropping our facades, and revealing the real person we are. When we risk our emotional state instead of hiding it, we find common experiences that allow for joining. When we function as equals, the role of student and teacher becomes interchangeable. It will fluctuate from one to the other regardless of age or experience.

Unconditional Love and Support
    Unconditional love means that we value the other person in a total way, for who they are, accepting them exactly as they are. There is no requirement for the other person to live up to our expectations in order to earn our love and respect, or to continue receiving our support. Our positive regard has no conditions.

The Willingness to Listen with Empathy
    Listening means being present with another, giving them our undivided attention. If we are preoccupied with past or future concerns, thinking of a response, or if we are busy thinking up solutions to the other person problem, we are not really listening with empathy. Empathy means we are willing to enter the other person experience, willing to see things through their eyes and feel the feelings they are having. It allows the other person the room to really experience feelings, to examine choices and consequences, and find their own best answers.

Trusting the Process
    When the attitudes described above are present in a relationship they create psychological safety. In this relationship a person learns to listen to themselves, to take risks, to be more self-accepting, to forgive mistakes, to find their own answers, and ultimately to believe in their own intrinsic worth. In short, in such a relationship people tend to find themselves. As this happens, they come to see their circumstances in a different light; as a lesson they need to learn. In a helping relationship, we serve another when what we communicate is a genuine trust in their process and their capacity to learn from it.

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The Center For Attitudinal Healing
33 Buchanan Drive, Sausalito, California 94965
(415)331-6161, FAX (415)331-4545

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