Cynthia Morrow MFT

Four Shields of Psychotherapy

The Four Shields of Human Nature is an ancient medicine wheel teaching that comes through the School of Lost Borders. (See book resources: The Four Shields of Human Nature, by Steven Foster and Meredith Little.) In practices of applied Ecotherapy, the Four Shields can be seen and worked with as an earth-based psychological system. A ‘shield’ is something that both expresses and defends, like a persona or a mask. The shields include seasons, cardinal directions, elements, and stages of human development. All are important and in dynamic relationship with the whole.

My integrative model of psychotherapy is directly influenced by the Four Shields of Human Nature. Wheels and mandalas are ubiquitous in eastern and indigenous wisdom traditions. Jung described them as archetypal and spontaneously generated within the human psyche as it moves toward wholeness. Because they are useful as an organizing map of reality, I have integrated the Four Shields with my psychotherapy practice to offer a holistic framework for working with clients.

BODY – summer-south

Heal from dissociation and trauma through sensory awareness, breath, movement, bodywork
Reclaim instinct, natural impulses, playful child, passion
Experience belonging in your body and upon this earth

SOUL – fall-west

Work through painful relationship patterns and family legacies
Release authentic self from patterns of self-doubt, depression and mistrust
Find the gifts hidden in the wound through dreams, archetypal images, living myths

MIND – winter-north

Strengthen capacity for meaningful relationships and work
Cultivate clarity of awareness and choice
Offer your gifts in ways that serve you and others

SPIRIT – spring-east

Free mental blocks to inner guidance
Integrate meditation, imagination, and ceremony into your life
See your inner nature mirrored in outer nature