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Therapy As Alchemy

By Nthabiseng Shongwe

What is alchemy?
“Alchemy is the art of manipulating life and consciousness in matter, to help it evolve or to solve problems of inner disharmony,” – Jean Dubuis
The word alchemy may bring to mind ideas of the philosopher’s stone and turning lead to gold.
Yet, this idea can also speak to the process of transformation for other areas of our lives: the emo-tional, psychological, physical, and spiritual.

“Alchemists believe that everything contains the blueprint for its own perfection” (Alchemy Therapy). In the industry of health and wellness, it can be said that an alchemist is also a therapist, one who believes and, therefore, is a facilitator that assists in releasing this transformational process within ourselves.
In essence, we all contain everything we need to heal and feel better but we may need a catalyst (treatment), and an agent or guide (therapists) to achieve this.
The goal of ‘therapy as alchemy’ as well as engaging (massage, energy, traditional, etc.) therapists and healers as alchemists, is to help us better manage the stressors in our lives by treating our emotional, psychological, and physical bodies. Gradually, through regular consultation and their intervention, we become better equipped to navigate daily life.
It is through the enlisting of this ‘help’ that we can learn to trust others along the journey which also brings us back to relationship. Some might recall their “favourite therapist” who they feel a sense of comfort when they have treatments with them.
Therapy as alchemy
There are many ways we can work with therapists to do this. For example, engaging therapists or healers for guided mindfulness sessions or guided meditations assists in cultivating and intensifying emotional and spiritual energy to bring issues in these areas into awareness where we can then work to release them.
Together, both the therapist and individual or group are provided a safe space to be authentically present to themselves and each other, increasing their ability to expand and go deeper into the process of transformation for their healing through relational work.
Similarly, with therapists using other treatments or rituals such as massage (touch), sound, music, or speech (sound/vibration), plant or herb (taste or smell), these co-created experiences have the capacity to generate insights and wisdom that can then be applied in our personal and professional capacities. This is where alchemy occurs and the potential for growth and healing are endless for all parties.

Integrative healing
Moving forward we must re-think – or rather – remember that for our whole being, healing hap-pens on many levels and so requires multiple opportunities for intervention. It may seem com-plex but it is indeed possible to look at therapy in an integrated way. We ought to break-down the barriers that prevent us from learning and receiving the best from different health and heal-ing systems, which are often perceived from a western or traditional view and practice. Both sys-tems offer paths for our progression if only we look at them holistically.
It remains true that we go further together than we do alone. We may use this premise to advo-cate for the integration of different healing practices and therapies. By opening ourselves up to processes that work for various parts of our being – the emotional, psychological, and physical – we can find healing that is holistic, leaving no part of our Self behind on the journey.
Further, by allowing these therapies and those who facilitate them (therapists) to take hold we accept that we can – as lead is turned to gold – be transformed by alchemy. We can become the best versions of ourselves and can live a golden life understanding that both worry and wonder are part of the journey to a state of ultimate well-being.
Nthabiseng Shongwe is a Communications Expert specializing within the Spa Community.
She has her own company, We Are Insights, and is also Director of Communications at Spiral Aloe Wellness. She is also a member of our South Africa SWAA Chapter Committee.