The Spiritual Root System™ is a way of understanding ourselves holistically–our physiology, psychology, biology and spirituality. Developed by Chip Dodd, PhD, the SRS offers a way for us to see how we’re made so we can grow into who we were made to be.
Simply put, the five roots of the human heart are made of our feelings, needs, desires, longings and hope. By addressing our roots and from where they draw their nourishment, we begin to live free—not bound by the narratives of our pasts or our biological drives.
Beginning with naming and actually feeling our core Eight Feelings–anger, hurt, fear, lonely, shame, guilt and glad–we move deeper into our heart’s essential makeup which is made for relationship.
The majority of our days go by in which we’re unaware of our hearts and absent in our own skin. Instead of living fully in the moment, we’re pulled through life by unseen currents. We miss out on the grand drama in which we have a part to play. We miss the unique themes, plot lines, events and characters that make up our stories.
Surviving this way makes our lives increasingly lonely. We seek comfort rather than meaning, prestige rather than purpose, solutions rather than truth, perfection rather than beauty, romance rather than love, position rather than significance. We insulate our hearts against feeling anymore pain—and thereby against living fully.
But as with any story, something unforeseen happens: death, divorce, departure, depression, or pure desperation to escape this life. Some heartbreak arouses us from our numbness. We cry out. Once awake, we can either begin to pay attention to our story, learn from it, live from it, feel it. Or we can scramble to put ourselves back to sleep in an attempt to forget.
The difference between survival and full living is what largely determines the quality of our lives and the freedom to which we can participate in the larger story that is being played out all around us. We can either strive to survive or answer the call to be fully alive.
We work close-in, which is our way of describing how closely we pay attention to the process of therapy and the relational dynamics of the patients. Our therapists actively seek to uncover and confront the relational patterns that prohibit patients from having the life they desire. The “here and now” interactions are far more therapeutically profitable than content and facts that are being shared.
We believe that people come to therapy to change and working close-in is the best chance of realizing that change. Sometimes this can feel intense for both the patient and the therapist. All participants, including the therapist, must voice distrust openly, be willing to give and receive feedback, embrace mystery and respect their own limitations. Truthfulness is paramount to life change.
One productive facet of therapy is facing our “two-choice dilemmas”. As we face these dilemmas, life can be more turbulent than we like—and at times seem down right chaotic. Our attempts to control and manage the chaos leave us exhausted and sick.
Much of the therapeutic process is about learning to surrender our attempts at control and practice embracing the mystery of our past, present and future. The process of surrender leads to acceptance. This is a spiritual process that requires facing and embracing the paradoxes of life.
We all wrestle with four existential paradoxes: