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

THE FOUR SHIELDS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY

Our capacity to transform the world we live in is rooted in our capacity to bring to an end within ourselves the limitations and restrictions that undermine our own freedom and integrity. We are empowered to make new beginnings in our lives by leaving behind us the false identities and the negative belief systems concerning who we are that cripple our vision of inner freedom and wholeness.

– Christina Feldman

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