Updated: Jun 12
(Luna Moth, Bent Creek, Corvair Trail)
In a culture obsessed with the myth of progress, it is easy to think of growth as a straight line, a path with a destination. When we fall into rhythm with the seasons, however, we experience growth very differently. We find a circle instead of a straight line. When we follow natures cycle, we move through phases of growth and stillness, but with each turn of the seasons our roots grow deeper and our branches fuller. With time our connections with our surroundings become increasingly multilayered and reciprocal.
Growth is something that we move through when light and water are plentiful, when the soil is nourished, and when the time is right. It cannot be created by will alone anymore than we can make a tree grow faster by pulling up on its trunk. Forcing growth is not possible. Nourishing growth, allowing growth, being patient with growth; these are our options.
As spring unfolds around us at Asheville Integrative Psychiatry and we see life’s cycle turn toward growth, it gives us a chance to ask ourselves what growth means for our providers and clients alike.
Growth is something that we move through when light and water are plentiful, when the soil is nourished, and when the time is right. It cannot be created by will alone anymore than we can make a tree grow faster by pulling up on its trunk.
As providers and healers, we know that it is imperative to continually refine our processes. How can we better nourish our clients inner healing intelligence? This year we are focused on making our services more accessible through group KAP programming, streamlining our screening and enrollment processes, and working with a nonprofit that will allow us to fundraise so that we can offer sliding scale payments. We are continuing to grow our team so that we can decrease the amount of time it takes to get treatment. We are working with our land to make it the best possible container for the process of healing. We are taking time together as a team outside of work to increase our connectedness as providers and we are trying to get the word out about the importance of nature connection and healing. We also are continuing to advocate for the highest possible standards of care in psychedelic medicine.
For our clients, we are looking for for all the ways that growth can be supported. We all have the capability and impulse for healing, but healing is a type of growth and it requires time and optimal conditions.
(Dr Tiffany Sauls, Montford, AVL)
At Asheville Integrative Psychiatry, supporting growth means first removing barriers. Sometimes the canopy or overstory has to be pruned to allow light to reach the earth. How do you find the things that stand in the way of growth? We try to accomplish this by seeing each client as a whole person in the context of their past and their surroundings. This is the heart of integrative psychiatry and what sets it apart from traditional western psychiatry. We want to know our clients and understand how their past relates to their present. If everything else has failed, why? What is keeping the natural process of healthy growth from unfolding?
How do you find the things that stand in the way of growth? We try to accomplish this by seeing each client as a whole person in the context of their past and their surroundings. This is the heart of integrative psychiatry and what sets it apart from traditional western psychiatry.
Once the barriers to growth have been identified and attended to, how do we find the optimal conditions for health? Some plants need some shade; some forests tolerate daily rain. The relationships that create a healthy ecosystem are not always obvious, but are inevitably sources of wonder when discovered. What are the individual and unique needs of a client? It takes flexibility, attention, and patience to answer this question.
Once growth begins, how is it sustained? How deep do the roots need to penetrate the soil to support new heights? How do we prepare for stresses of inevitable winter? What will the flowers of spring attract?
Where are you in your cycle of growth? Have you let yourself be tended to with care and patience? If not, it might be time. You deserve it. The strength of the forest depends on the infinite relationships it contains. What connections grow you?