This is a powerful process to recover separated or lost parts of the self that have occurred through shock, trauma, spiritual & psychological injury, attachment injuries, and extended illness. In healthy circumstances our psyche is the organ of experience that integrates our lived experience in the interest of wholeness, individuation and community relatedness. However, in traumatic situations our psyche can split or fracture, dissociating information and experience to ensure our continued survival. Hence this results in an organismic life directed towards survival rather that related individuation and wholeness. From a shamanic psychotherapy perspective the process of splitting or dissociating for survival results in the lost, frozen or disconnected aspects of soul. Traumatic experiences are lost or frozen out of integrated awareness because the shock and pain was too much to bear at the time of trauma.
William James (1908) described trauma as a shock that if not resolved would reside like thorns in the soul. These thorns remain disconnected and frozen within the broader field of consciousness/ unconscious continum and spirit realms. Simultaneously they can sometimes be felt to be lodged deeply within the physical body as a somatic memory for example in the felt sense of knots in the stomach, tightness in the chest, anxiety associated with being in certain places. Soul retrieval is a central shamanic healing process that seeks to not only remove the thorns in the soul but also to recover dissociated/disconnected aspects of our Self for wholeness. Combined with psychological counselling it is an effective therapy for transforming deep seated traumas and injuries. Traumas can be released, the lost or separated parts of our vital life essence can be restored, and our wholeness, truth and freedom can be reclaimed.