Journey Therapy is a guided technique designed to help individuals in treatment discover, access, and integrate lost or trapped memories or emotions. Proponents of this approach believe these suppressed memories can have a negative impact on physical and emotional well-being and thus may be responsible for any present-day concerns or issues a person is experiencing.
People seeking treatment for a wide range of mental health concerns and even physical issues may find Journey Therapy can help them resolve challenges connected to memories and unresolved emotional concerns and achieve a greater sense of well-being and an improved outlook.
Journey Therapy, also known as The Journey, is an approach to treatment founded by mind-body healing expert and author Brandon Bays. After being diagnosed with a large tumor in 1992, Bays elected to treat the tumor with a natural and holistic healing approach that integrated her knowledge of nutrition, kinesiology, meditation, herbology, and neuro-linguistic programming. Bays refused all other medical interventions such as drugs and surgery, and reportedly her own treatment regime led her tumor to completely heal after only six and a half weeks.
After her recovery, she continued to refine her personal experiences and discoveries into the approach now known as Journey Therapy, in order to help others address their own psychological and physical health concerns and conditions, such as emotional issues, relationship conflict, and depression, among others.
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She used her personal experiences and discoveries to refine an approach to psychological and physical healing applicable to physical conditions, emotional turmoil, relationship conflict, and depression.
Founded on the concept that the mind and body are one entity, interconnected in such a way that one can influence the other, Journey Therapy attempts to reverse the suppression of memories and emotions through utilization of this connection, thus helping individuals to release negative emotions in order to facilitate a healing process that proponents of the approach believe can eradicate and prevent disease within the body.
Journey Therapy is not only influenced by alternative health interventions, but also by scientific understanding of the mind-body connection and is further guided by emerging research on emotion suppression that is believed to result in DNA mutation—specifically, the experience of depression, which has been shown to cause changes in cells.
When emotions and repressed memories are addressed, Journey Therapy practitioners suggest, people may be able to alter the course of their illness or concern and begin healing. According to Journey Therapy theory, harmful emotions are born when negative memories are created and stored. During the session, however, the emotion can be isolated and any obstacles or barriers to well-being that have developed as a result can often be addressed.
Unlike traditional therapy sessions, Journey Therapy sessions do not typically adhere to standard time constraints and may run for two or more hours. According to Bays and other leading practitioners, an atmosphere of complete relaxation and the skills of an experienced practitioner are needed for an ideal session, as many sessions are likely to result in powerful, intense emotions and memories. Trained practitioners are better able to help the person seeking treatment navigate these feelings as they guide the individual through a "journey" of their life in order to seek out and uncover the memory or memories contributing to their present concern.
Before beginning the Journey, practitioners first spend time discussing the presenting concern with the individual seeking treatment in order to help them develop a Journey process unique to their circumstances. The first step of the Journey process, called the drop-through, follows. This process involves an investigation and integration of emotions that have been suppressed. In the next step, eliciting a memory, Journey practitioners assist the individual in locating repressed memories or experiences. The following step, which is called campfire, involves free speech from the part of the body where the repressed emotion is felt, and forgiveness, both of the self and of others who played a part in the event. Reprogramming the memory, which is the next step, involves discovery of the resources and qualities that would have helped an individual in the past, and the utilization of these to create a new memory. The goal of the final step, future pace, is for the individual to experience the results of the integration of the Journey process.
After the session, it is generally recommended that the person being treated set aside some quiet time to absorb and consider the memories and emotions that have been revealed, as the release of suppressed emotions, according to Journey Therapy practitioners, allows the mind and body to re-integrate and dissolve the presenting issue. Once this is achieved, the behaviors associated with the memories can be identified and studied as the therapist and person in therapy work together to determine which patterns may be best altered in order to create positive change in the person’s life, health, and relationships.
Proponents of Journey Therapy recommend it to individuals experiencing any number of physical or emotional issues.
It can be used to address:
- Family or work issues
- General stress
- Lack of purpose or motivation
- Anxiety or fear
People also report improvement in physical issues such as allergies, pain, and sexual dysfunction as a result of Journey Therapy.
People of any age, gender, religion, or cultural background may obtain benefit from Journey Therapy, but individuals who experience serious mental health concerns may be better helped by pursuing a different approach to treatment, in addition to or independent of this approach. Journey Therapy proponents suggest that a person who is interested in and drawn to this approach will be more likely to benefit from it, but people may be less likely to experience success without an open mind and a determination to be free of pain.
Journey Therapy has been criticized as being simply a rebranding of well-established neuro-linguistic programming techniques, though with a more spiritual focus. This therapeutic approach is held up as broadly applicable to people experiencing any condition or difficulty, and as such has also been criticized as a non-specific, "one-size-fits-all" approach lacking in focus.
While anecdotal evidence praises Journey Therapy as an effective and beneficial approach to treatment, this method has not been widely researched, particularly in regard to its effectiveness in treating serious medical conditions.
- Bays, B. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from http://www.thejourney.com/about-us
- Macdonald, F. (2015, April 29). Depression can physically change your DNA, study suggests. Science Alert. Retrieved from http://www.sciencealert.com/depression-can-physically-change-your-dna-study-suggests
- Shipley, D. (2008, February 20). Don't bite the hand that feeds the inner you. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/feb/20/dianeshipley
- Smith, J. (2005, March). Hijacking natural enlightenment - A critique of Brandon Bays' The Journey. EnergyGrid. Retrieved from http://www.energygrid.com/spirit/2005/03ap-brandonbays.html
- The Journey Therapists UK. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.journeytherapists.co.uk/search/label/Adults