We are thrilled to announce the launch of our free ebook, A Guide to Using Spirituality in Modern Healthcare, released in collaboration with Dr. Richard Schaub, Phd!
Dr. Richard Schaub has been practicing psychotherapy for over 40 years and specializes in teaching meditation to fellow healthcare professionals as well as the general public. His audience is diverse, from Wall Street Firms to veterans, from healthcare seminars to retreat
centers. His earlier books, “Healing Addictions: The Vulnerability Model of Recovery” and “Dante’s Path: A Practical Approach to Inner Wisdom”, emphasize our shared human vulnerability as the way to understand both the self and others.
His “The End of Fear: A Spiritual Path for Realists” is a personal statement on vulnerability and its potential in spirituality. His most recent book, “Transpersonal Development” was originally written on a Federal grant from the Veterans Administration to train mental health professionals in transpersonal work.
Read on to learn more about his approach to utilizing the principals of transpersonal psychology and the Higher Self for the treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly for healthcare patients, and how modern-day mental health professionals can integrate spirituality back into their practices.
You’ve been practicing clinical therapy for over 40 years, much of that time spent treating anxiety disorders. How can individuals struggling with anxiety, especially anxiety related to vulnerability and fear of the future, use the Higher Self as a way to find inner peace and strength to accept life the way it is?
I think of the Higher Self as an innate objective but dormant aspect of the brain-mind. (There are of course other ways to describe and understand it.) Just as anxiety is generated by the fear center of the brain, peace is generated by the Higher Self center of the brain. This concept is being explored in neuroscience, e.g., in the work of Dr. Andrew Newberg. The inner work is to learn how to move from the anxious fear center to the peaceful Higher Self center. This is not accomplished once but rather is a frequent need and practice throughout every day.
You utilize a skill-based education and training model. Could you explain what that means?
The answer, above, is the skill. It is the skill of moving consciousness into the Higher Self.
You mention Roberto Assagioli’s work in transpersonal psychology and how this is a lesser-recognized branch within the field. Could you give a brief definition or description of what this is?
Transpersonal means “beyond the personality.” Beyond the patterns of the personality, people have deeper inner resources, of which the Higher Self is primary. Transpersonal psychology, especially via Assagioli and Jung, explore how to discover these resources and experience their benefits. These resources are often thought of as “spiritual,” and as a result most modern Western psychology ignores them.
What do people need to understand about freeing themselves from their “inner prisons” through the Higher Self?
An important but complicated question. Bottom-line, people need to be able to recognize what state of consciousness they are in at any particular moment and have the inner skill to energize it, if it is life-affirming and creative, or to know the nature of it and how to work with it if is life-denying and self-defeating. We must accept that even negative energy is energy, and we need to become skillful with it.
How can modern-day mental health professionals integrate the soul/spirituality aspects of psychology back into their patient practice?
The scientific acceptance of mindfulness gives professionals permission to explore more of the soul/spirituality aspects of our psychology. I think we are now ready for a beyond-mindfulness phase, since mindfulness, as helpful as it is, actually suppresses some of the higher discoveries.
You state the following are beyond-the-personality qualities:
What is one change that people can make or practice that people can facilitate to integrate each quality into their practice?
The first step is the ability to observe your inner life. Therefore the first step is what is traditionally called concentration meditation.
You state that there are several attitudes that healthcare practitioners take towards spirituality, from those who are resistant to it, to those who have actively explored it within themselves and integrate into their practice. How can those professionals who have had transpersonal experiences but are reluctant/don’t know how to bring it into their practice do so? What is the first step?
There are many excellent practices and systems to help them. The first step is to search for one that they feel intuitively comfortable with. I found it in Assagioli’s psychosynthesis.
As you mentioned, the 12-step AA program was originally based on Christian/Protestant spiritual beliefs and concept of God. In a now multi-cultural and increasingly secular world, how can practitioners convey this concept of a Higher Power or Higher Self without preaching a particular religious doctrine?
The most helpful and convincing way is to be personal and talk about personal benefits. Someone listening to you may identify with you, or not, but a least they have something personal to consider.
Thank you, Dr. Schaub!
Are you interested in learning more about how meditation, mindfulness, and connection with the Higher Self can support your health outcomes? Download our free ebook “A Guide to Using Spirituality in Modern Healthcare”, and discover how you can advocate for yourself, your loved ones, and/or your patients within our healthcare system.