Carl Greer – Change Your Health with Shamanic & Jungian Techniques
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD is a practicing clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst, and shamanic practitioner. He received his PhD from Columbia University and was on their faculty teaching finance and management in their graduate school of business. He moved to Chicago to work for an oil company and, after focusing on business for many years, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and then became a Jungian analyst.
The shamanic work he does is drawn from a blend of North American and South American indigenous trainings and is influenced by Jungian analytical psychology. He has trained with Peruvian shamans and through Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s Healing the Light Body School, where he has been on staff. He has worked with shamans in South America, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ethiopia, and Outer Mongolia. Carl Greer is involved in various businesses and charities, teaches at the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago, is on the staff of the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being, is the bestselling author of Change Your Story, Change Your Life, and holds workshops on Jungian and shamanic topics. His latest book is Change the Story of Your Health.
Interview with Carl Greer by Sandie Sedgebeer
To listen to the full interview of Carl Greer by Sandie Sedgbeer on the radio show What Is Going OM on OMTimes Radio, click the player below.
What if you could, despite aging, injuries, Health conditions and illnesses, not only return to the state of health that you previously enjoyed but even improve upon it? If that sounds like an impossible dream, stay tuned, because the Story of our health is more in our control than we may think and this week’s guest, Clinical Psychologist and Shamanic Practitioner, Carl Greer, is not only going to tell us why this is so, but also provide some remarkable real-life stories to prove it. The author of the award-winning book “Change Your Story, Change Your Life,” Carl Greer is a long-time successful Entrepreneur and Clinical Psychologist, Jungian Analyst, and Shamanic Practitioner.
His latest book, “Change the Story of Your Health Using Shamanic and Jungian Techniques for Healing,” offers practical tools for re-framing our experiences so that we can experience less stress, greater well-being, and even better physical health, if we are willing to identify our health story and begin rewriting it.
SANDRA SEDGBEER: Carl, tell us a little bit about your transition from successful entrepreneur to clinical psychology and shamanism. I mean, what was it that was the impulse for that?
CARL GREER: I grew up in a business-oriented household where I thought my life would be working in the steel industry, as my Dad had done. So, summers I worked in the steel mills and I got a degree in metallurgy electrical engineering, but I was not really fulfilled in those types of activities. So, I ended up becoming a businessman, not in the steel industry.
With that part of my life unlived, when I was about 45, I decided to go back to school, became a Clinical Psychologist, and after that a Jungian Analyst. But I guess I was still searching for a spiritual path that would really feed me. Shamanism was that path for me, and so for probably close to 20 years now, I have been involved in shamanism as well as psychology, and that is kind of my story.
SANDRA SEDGBEER: So, your book “Change Your Story, Change Your Life” is very successful and won three awards. Why did you choose to follow it up with “Change the Story of Your Health?”
CARL GREER: A lot of the people I see and talk to talk about their health. They talk about issues that are concerning them, particularly as they are getting older. And I thought it might be useful for me to write about that topic just given the interest that people seem to have in it.
SANDRA SEDGBEER: We all have stories about our lives, and doubtless few are as true as we think they are. Why do we need to create stories? What purpose do they serve?
CARL GREER: I think it helps ground us and orient us, but I think what you said that they may not always be the stories we think they are, is one of the rubs. In my first book, I was struck by the number of people that I have encountered and worked with that are very spiritual, but were having trouble bringing those spiritual practices into their everyday life.
Another group of people was feeling trapped in their lives and not able to get out of the box that they created. And they would say things about that trap, or about their inability to bring their spirituality into their everyday life that had a story aspect to it. You know, the story of “Oh, I am destined for failure,” or “Once I get the kids out of the house, and successfully launched, I will be able to do such and such.”
So, those folks needed a way to first start off accurately telling themselves the truth about their lives, not just the story they wanted others to see. That same idea applies to this new book “Change the Story of Your Health,” where I am suggesting that people can benefit from not just turning their health issues over to experts, but taking more charge themselves in rewriting their health story. And I suggest many ways they might think about doing that.
SANDRA SEDGBEER: So, how do we begin to change the story of our health or, indeed, any story about our lives that may not be serving us?
CARL GREER: I think the first step is, to be honest with yourself about what that story is and one can start, as it relates to the story of one’s health, just by asking yourself the question “What is the story of your health?” and you might be surprised by what you write down. I suggest some topics that one might reflect on, such as “What is the story of your eating and drinking habits?”
“What is the story of your weight?” or “The story of your flexibility and balance and stamina and strength” or “The story of your growing older, or menopause for a woman, or body issues and changes in sexuality,” or “The story of how you have dealt with chronic conditions or acute ailments when they come up.”
So, a person can start to think about all these areas and what works and what does not, what they have done and what they have not done. The starting point would be that. The next step – and I have different ways to engage that first step – the next step would be “What would you like it to be?” Then one is left with the conundrum “If you would like it to be different, why is it not?”
So, part of the practices in my book are what I call “Expanded Awareness Practices” that enable a person to get in touch with these unconscious factors that are influencing their health or their inability to make changes, and have a new relationship with them so that they get more energy and insight to make the changes that a part of themselves want to be healthier and wants to do.
SANDRA SEDGBEER: You also have people dialoguing with inanimate objects such as rocks, trees, all kind of things. How do they feel about that?
CARL GREER: Again, the shamanic worldview is that everything came from creative energy, the place before the “Big Bang,” that has visible and invisible manifestations. But it is all part of that infinite potential that we came from and will go back to, so shamans believe, as do I. And if everything is interconnected and contains that “one” then everything has that life force – rocks, plants, animals – and therefore has a certain awareness that one can relate to.
Even if it is just a phenomenon of projection, it is interesting what the hooks – in Jungian parlance they talk about a projection needs a hook – what those hooks elicit from somebody. I believe, though, that this phenomenon that you are mentioning does have energy and an awareness that can be worked with and related to. I believe that, and once a person has tried it, again the proof is in the pudding. If they have experienced something that official, that is good.
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