counselling psychotherapy


How to use words to heal the body, mind and spirit

evocative word cardsHow to use words to heal the body, mind and spirit

“Esoteric and spiritual teachers have known for ages that our body is programmable by language, words and thought. This has now been scientifically proven and explained.” Fosar and Bludorf, 2011.

Recent research explains how words, sentences and affirmations can have a profound influence on humans, the body and DNA.

Technique of evocative words

One of the techniques that we use in psychosynthesis psychotherapy is the Technique of Evocative Words (1999. P.76). Roberto Assagioli MD writes that according to psychological law, all words possess the power of stimulating and evoking the activity associated with them.

Using evocative words can be useful for developing a spiritual quality such as self-compassion if you have a harsh inner critic for example. It can also be useful if you are facing an event or situation whereby you might feel nervous; exams, sporting events, performances, family gatherings or a job interview.

I like to choose my word first thing in the morning and have this as my seed word for the day.

You can evoke and develop your desired quality through choosing the word for a specific situation, a day, a month, or more.

How to evoke and develop spiritual qualities

Step 1: Choose the quality from the list below that you wish to evoke and develop.

Step 2: Take a piece of cardboard, write or print the word on it. I have a set of cards to call on at any time.

Step 3: Place the card where you will notice it; in your wallet, on the fridge, your work desk, beside your bed or on your pin board.

Step 4: Bring mindful awareness to your word and desired quality. To do this, Assagioli recommends using different visual, auditory and motor images:

  1. Assume a state of relaxation and then observe the word attentively for 1-2 minutes. Notice any ideas or images that emerge and record them in your journal.
  2. Spend time reflecting on the meaning of the word, then record your reflections.
  3. Try to “feel” the quality that the word embodies, letting it permeate your whole being.
  4.  As you observe the word, say it aloud.
  5. Write the word many times.
  6. “Act as if” you already possess this quality.

You might also use your desired quality and word as a seed for art journaling, reflective meditation, a music playlist or as part of a vision board – place your word at the centre and surround it with images that speak of the desired quality.

NB: Even if you do not place conscious attention towards your word, Assagioli notes that catching glimpses of it, can make an impression on the psyche, or more precisely, on the receptive unconscious.

List of evocative words and desired qualities
  • Admiration
  • Acceptance
  • Appreciation
  • Assertiveness
  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Bliss
  • Boundaries
  • Brother/Sisterhood
  • Calm
  • Compassion
  • Comprehension
  • Connection
  • Cooperation
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Detachment
  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Eternity
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Goodness
  • Goodwill
  • Gratitude
  • Harmony
  • Humility
  • Inclusiveness
  • Infinity
  • Joy
  • Liberation
  • Light
  • Love
  • Order
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Positiveness
  • Power
  • Prosperity
  • Quiet
  • Reality
  • Renewal
  • Trust
  • Truth
  • Serenity
  • Service
  • Silence
  • Simplicity
  • Spontaneity
  • Stillness
  • Synthesis
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
  • Universality
  • Unity
  • Vitality
  • Wellness
  • Wholeness
  • Will
  • Wisdom
  • Wonder

Are there any others that you would add to this list?

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches.

10 Self-Help, Psychology and Parenting Books for Mothers

Mothers day books (600x366)10 Self-Help, Psychology and Parenting Books for Mothers

The transition from daughter through maiden, lover to mother can be overwhelming for many new mothers – myself included!

Regardless of how well we know ourselves and how much of our own ‘stuff’ we have worked through, entering motherhood can stir up a whole lot more: sleep deprivation and exhaustion, post-infertility, post-natal or post-adoption depression and anxiety, fear of not being a good enough mother, parenting like our own parents even though we swore we never would, comparison with other mums, fears about our children’s development, getting caught in keeping up with the Jones’, lack of ‘me’ time and a complete change of lifestyle. These are just a handful of the concerns that come to mind.

Here are some books that I use with clients in therapy and that I have personally found useful as I journeyed towards motherhood, as a new mum and adoptive mother of two toddlers.

My Mother My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity

By Nancy Friday

‘The greatest gift a mother can give remains unquestioning love planted deep in the first year of life, so deep that the tiny child grown to womanhood is never held back by the fear of losing that love, no matter what her own choice in love, sexuality, or work may be (Goodreads).’

My Mother My Self, is an oldie but a goodie. This classic women’s psychology book is a great read for any woman who has had a difficult relationship with her own mother or for those struggling to separate and individuate from mother. It provides a deeper understanding of mother-daughter relationships, acceptance of mother, how to let go of searching for the perfect mother and why we so often become our own mother. Ultimately, this book teaches us how to heal and love who we are.

Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing your Inner Child

By John Bradshaw

‘We first see the world through the eyes of a little child, and that “inner child” remains with us throughout our lives, no matter how outwardly “grown-up” and powerful we become. If our vulnerable child was hurt, abandoned, shamed, or neglected, that child’s pain, grief, and anger live on within us. Bradshaw believes that ‘this neglected, wounded inner child of the past is the major source of human misery (John Bradshaw).’

Homecoming is a valuable tool for healing the child within and revealing the true self; the part of us that may have had to go into hiding due to growing up in an addicted or physically, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually absent, abusive or neglectful home environment.  Growing up in such circumstances can often result in a sense of low self-worth and feeling ‘not good enough’. When it comes to parenting our own children, regardless of good intentions to do it differently, unless made conscious, these dynamics can result in unfavourable consequences for our own children. This book helps us to build a strong sense of self, a deeper level of intimacy and connection and tools for dealing with concerns such as relationships, parenting issues, addiction, anxiety and depression. John Bradshaw’s work, like many others within the psychotherapy field, is now being validated through extensive attachment research and neuroscience.

Sex, Love and the Dangers of Intimacy

By Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell

Everyday issues related to parenting can take the spark out of even the healthiest of relationships. In Sex, Love & the Dangers of Intimacy, Psychosynthesis couples’ psychotherapists Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell, write about relationships as a spiritual path (me, you and the spirit of the relationship). They suggest that many couples feel that conflict is the sign of a problem arising in a relationship. However, they teach us a way of appreciating conflict as a means for reaching a deeper level of intimacy, how to transform potentially difficult situations into opportunities, self-knowledge and a more authentic partnership.

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

By Stephanie Sorrell

Depression as a Spiritual Journey offers a holistic model, as opposed to the medical approach which currently dominates the field of depression. Sorrell, a sufferer herself, takes a well balanced view and writes poetically about suffering and depression as a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. She shows us that it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of our depressive symptoms and suffering. This book is great for anyone who has suffered with depression, including depression brought about through infertility, post natal or post adoption depression.

Attachment Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children

By Daniel Hughes

Attachment security and affect regulation have long been buzzwords in therapy circles but many of these ideas—so integral to successful therapeutic work with kids and adolescents—have yet to be effectively translated to parenting practice itself. Moreover, as neuroscience reveals how the human brain is designed to work in good relationships, and how such relationships are central to healthy human development, the practical implications for the parent-child attachment relationship become even more apparent (Google Books).’

At the heart of our relational, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being, is our ability to form secure, healthy and balanced attachment relationships. Attachment Focused Parenting is a must for any parent. By focusing on the attachment relationship first and foremost, it will help to deepen the parent-child bond, which in turn, helps to alleviate and manage behavioural issues in a healthier way. This book is essential reading for foster and adoptive parents.

First Steps in Parenting the Child Who Hurts

By Caroline Archer

First Steps in Parenting the Child Who Hurts is a valuable resource for foster and adoptive mothers. It offers sensitive and practical guidance through the process of separation, loss and trauma in early childhood. Caroline Archer is an adoptive parent so she speaks from experience. This book provides good, practical advice and encouragement for foster or adoptive parents. It explores issues such as bringing the child home, childhood development, what to do when things don’t appear right, the effects of trauma on the child and how to handle these difficulties.

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain

By Sue Gerhardt

‘Gerhardt, has bravely gone where most in recent years have feared to tread. She takes the hard language of neuroscience and uses it to prove the soft stuff of attachment theory. Picking up your crying baby or ignoring it may be a matter of parental choice, but the effects will be etched on your baby’s brain for years to come. Putting your one-year-old in a nursery or leaving them with a child minder may turn out to be a more momentous decision than you thought (Rebecca Adams, Guardian Book Review).’

Sue Gerhardt is a psychotherapist in private practice; she is a leading specialist in mothers and babies. Why Love Matters is evidence based and provides an eye opening view of the baby’s brain, psyche and how these develop in relation to separation, bonding and attachment. Gerhardt links early childhood attachment and development with childhood and adult issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions and so forth. This book is a valuable resource for making conscious choices regarding the care and well-being of our children.

Read more about Why Love Matters.

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children

By Sarah Napthali

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children is the perfect read for practising self-care and learning to parent in a calm and peaceful way. Napthali applies Buddhist teachings such as mindfulness, presence, acceptance and compassion to the everyday challenges and stresses of raising children. Rather than focusing on the child’s behaviour, this book focuses on the inner self of the mother.

What to Expect: The Toddler Years

What to Expect: The Toddler Years is a valuable, practical, lifesaving resource. The format is easy for dipping in and out of the content list. What To Expect covers hundreds of pointers on self-esteem, emotional, physical, psychological and social development, discipline, eccentric behaviours and making time for self-care.

The Velveteen Rabbit and The Velveteen Principles Gift Box

By Margery Williams & By Toni Raiten-D’Antonio

This delightful gift box is a wonderful resource for mother and child, a great baby shower or Mother’s Day gift and a valuable tool for inner work.

‘Margery Williams’ classic The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a stuffed rabbit who finds himself looked down on by the other toys. With the help of the Skin Horse, he learns that real is not about how you are made, but your relationship with others. The Velveteen Rabbit’s journey from loneliness to love has inspired generations of children and adults.’ (Amazon).

‘The Velveteen Principles is fast becoming a classic of its own. This comforting, inspiring book draws twelve lessons from Margery Williams’s story to show how each of us can become more Real about our values, our goals, our loves and our lives. And most importantly in a world that is often superficial and stressful, its simple wisdom points the way to rediscovering our own true selves.’ (Amazon).


Abrams, Rebecca, 2004, Minding the baby, Retrieved from The Guardian Online

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. Jodie is also the adoptive mother of two toddlers.



Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

top 10 books for women (600x600)Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

As a therapeutic counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist specialising in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being – there are many books that I recommend over and over again. Many are listed in my bookstore and on my Pinterest page but here are my top 10 recommendations to help women find change as well as adding depth and meaning to their lives.

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

Having taken part in The Gifts of Imperfection Art Journaling Course with Brené Brown – this is my new favourite go-to book for women. Her research focuses on shame, vulnerability, authenticity and belonging. If you have a relentless inner perfectionist and never quite feel enough – this book is for you! You will come away chanting, ‘I’m imperfect and I’m enough. Brené is a wonderful storyteller and that makes this an easy read.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

by Dr Christinane Northrup

“By the wisdom of the body I mean that we must learn to trust that the symptoms in the body are often the only way that the soul can get our attention.”

This is the ultimate bible for women’s health. It covers topics such as the body, menstruation, infertility, motherhood, menopause, sexuality, intuition, wisdom and self-nourishment. Dr Northrup takes a holistic approach towards healing physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This deep, soulful and inner life enhancing book has been described as ‘vitamins for the soul’, ‘a gift of profound insight’, ‘fertile and life-giving’, ‘a bible for women interested in doing deep work’.

Jungian analyst, Dr Estés uses intercultural myths, dream symbols, fairy tales and stories, to help women reconnect with the fierce, wild woman and instinctual self within.

Women Who Love Too much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change

by Robin Norwood

Along with ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie, this is one of my most recommended books to women who suffer with a fear of abandonment, controlling behaviours, co-dependency, love addiction and relationship problems such as choosing unavailable or abusive men.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

by Geneen Roth

Geneen Roth suggests that food, diet and weight related issues are an attempt to fix something that has never been broken. We are already good and whole; our journey is to awaken to our goodness and wholeness.   She writes,

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels…We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves.”

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children

by Sarah Napthali

Along with ‘Attachment Focused Parenting’ by Daniel Hughes – this book is my bible for parenting in a calm and peaceful way. Napthali applies Buddhist teachings such as mindfulness, presence, acceptance and compassion to the everyday challenges and stresses of raising children. Rather than focusing on the child’s behaviour, this book focuses on the inner self of the mother.

Breaking the Spell: The Key to Recovering Self-Esteem

by Rachel Clyne

‘What matters is that we stop hating ourselves; when we do so what has to replace it is Love!’

At the heart of addiction, food related issues, depression and other modern day concerns – working to increase self-esteem and self-worth is always at the core of the healing process.  Psychosynthesis psychotherapist Rachel Clyne gives very practical suggestions in each chapter for developing a healthier and more loving sense of self.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

by Dr Christopher K. Germer

This is one of the best books out there for healing a toxic, harsh, punitive and critical inner voice. With practical mindfulness techniques for living in the present moment, this book teaches us how to nourish the spirit, reconnect and show kindness, compassion and empathy towards ourselves. Germer shows us that through self-compassion, we can heal pain and suffering.

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

by Stephanie Sorrell

This book is rigorously researched and takes a well-balanced view. Psychosynthesis practitioner Stephanie Sorrell explores indepth – the medical, psychological and spiritual aspects of depression. She writes poetically about suffering and depression as a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. Sorrell shows us that it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of our suffering.

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

by Thomas Moore

This life affirming and soothing read illustrates how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nurturing the soul. Moore uses myths, stories and dreams to help us understand everyday concerns such as depression, anxiety, death, low self-worth, envy and narcissistic wounding.

Man’s search for meaning

by Dr Viktor E. Frankl

‘If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

This moving book was named one of the 10 most influential books in America. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl spent time in four Nazi death camps. He survived his pregnant wife, parents and brother. Man’s search for meaning is based on Frankl’s own life experience as well as those he worked with in private practice. His ultimate message is that we cannot avoid all suffering in life but we can choose how we respond to it and ultimately, we can find meaning and purpose in it.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.


Therapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Therapy Rocks TurquoiseTherapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Welcome to my new series, ‘Therapy Rocks!’ For over 10 years, I have had the privilege of witnessing people from all walks of life become more authentic, grow and transform their lives. In conjunction with my personal experience of therapy, there is an ever increasing base of evidence highlighting the benefits of short and long – term counselling and psychotherapy. These specific disciplines are effective and can provide long lasting change for a wide range of experiences such as anxiety, depression and many other emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. Despite this, recent research suggests that most people are less inclined to spend money and time on their psychological well-being as they are on other areas of their lives. It often takes a life-threatening health scare, a rock bottom or major life crisis before seeking and committing to therapy.  Yet many of these experiences can be avoided by seeking help sooner rather than later.

Today, September 25, is National Psychotherapy Day in the United States. The National Psychotherapy Day is sponsored by and was created by a non-profit organisation called the Psychotherapy Foundation.

Founder of the National Psychotherapy Day, Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes suggests that there are several problems that psychotherapy has:

– Stigma remains for those who seek therapy.

– The media presents a distorted view of therapy and therapists.

– Psychotherapy has no unified, active promotional campaign.

– Low-income counselling options are sparse, underfunded, and overwhelmed.

– People aren’t aware of therapy’s proven, lasting effectiveness.

Over the coming months I will be writing about some of the above topics and hope to shed some light on all things therapy. Who knows…by this time next year, we may even have our own National Psychotherapy Day.

In the meantime – wear turquoise and check out some ways that you can be a part of National Psychotherapy Day: and on facebook .

Other blogs from National Psychotherapy Day 2012:

Therapy Rocks!

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.


Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.