Healer Q&A: Dr. Irene Siegel on running a thriving group meditation practice
With doctoral degrees in both psychology and social work, as well as extensive training in shamanic arts throughout the Americas, Dr. Siegel offers a rare blend of modern therapeutic expertise and time-honored energetic practices. Her groundbreaking methods for self and client transformation are captured in her acclaimed books Eyes of the Jaguar and The Sacred Path of the Therapist. To learn more about accessing your highest frequencies and achieving your vision, visit Dr. Siegel at DrIreneSiegel.com.
Listen to the latest Heallist podcast episode where Dr. Irene Siegel talks about Conscious Creation, and read below her Q&A sharing insights about growing her practice.
Heallist: Can you define yourself in one sentence?
Dr. Irene Siegel: I am a facilitator and teacher of healing and transformation as I work to bring in a new paradigm that takes us from the old traditional way of healing to an accelerated path of conscious awakening.
What was your journey to becoming a spiritual teacher? Why were you drawn to the tradition you are teaching?
I have been meditating since childhood, and the experience shaped my life and perceptions. In my late twenties, I decided to find a teacher, and I attended a class taught by Alberto Villoldo at the Omega Institute. He was teaching the healing practices of Incan shamanism, and he has become the leading teacher in the field within Western society.
I had never heard the word shaman before. As the drum was beating steadily in the background, I quickly learned how to journey into the non-ordinary realty of the shaman through the inner focus of the imagination. It felt very familiar to me. The shaman believes that this reality is just as real as our ordinary world. The shaman walks between the worlds of the ordinary and non-ordinary realities.
By the end of the workshop, I had a dream that two Incans were standing in a doorway, motioning me to come through. This was the beginning of a ten year quest, in which I traveled periodically to the mountains and jungles of Peru and Bolivia to study with Alberto and his master teachers of Incan descent. I learned about the Incan Medicine Wheel, and the power of the archetypes of the four directions.
What was your biggest professional achievement to date? How did it impact your business?
My biggest professional achievement was completing my doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology. I took that education and completed a research study on The Therapist as a Container for Spiritual Resonance and the Observed Impact on Client Transformation. I began speaking regularly at conferences, and then wrote my book, The Sacred Path of the Therapist: Modern Healing, Ancient Wisdom, and Client Transformation. Since then I have written additional articles along these lines and have published in professional journals.
My integrative EMDR psychotherapy business is booming. My goal is to focus more on my meditation programs as planetary consciousness shifts. I have also created programs specifically for therapists on the subject of Transpersonal Psychotherapy which incorporates a blending of east with western traditions of healing.
How did you decide which services to offer and how to package them?
My practice and teaching has organically unfolded. Spirit seems to show me the way, and presents next steps at the right time. Although I have to put conscious work into the process, it seems to be initiated from a higher level within myself.
Tell us about your Medicine Wheel group practice. How do you manage to keep your students engaged over so many years? How do the new students find you now?
When I returned from my first journey to Peru, I began to offer presentations about the Incan tradition of healing and spirituality at the psychiatric hospital where I was working as a clinical supervisor. I was taken out of my standard western perspective, and presented a cultural perspective where the nonordinary reality is just as real as our ordinary world. There was a small group of therapists that heard my presentation and wanted me to teach them about this ancient tradition. It was as a result of their persistence that I began my Sacred Medicine Wheel meditation group. That was in 1996. I have been teaching it consistently since then without a break, spending four weeks doing the work of one direction before moving to the next.
The group has grown over the years by word of mouth, and through announcements to those on my email list who have taken other professional programs and meditation programs that I teach. When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, I was forced to take the group online if I wanted it to continue. The local students wanted it to continue. However, now the group was open to new students who live anywhere. They came from all over the country as well as from Canada. I have a couple of students from Israel and from Australia.
My professional work has been noticed since I am a consultant, teacher, and conference speaker for the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA). I have bridged western psychotherapy with the healing practices of the ancient wisdom traditions. As a result of being known and respected in the organization, I have attracted many others into my meditation programs. As a result of the professional classes that I teach, the next step for many is to learn meditation and to understand the power of the process. It has been a wonderful blending of cultural and professional experiences that work to raise consciousness.
How do you market your services today?
My integrative psychotherapy practice grows often through word of mouth, as well as my meditation classes. However, I do introduce clients to meditation when they are ready for that next step in their healing process. This is also very organic. My professional speaking engagements put me in a good position to have people follow me and join my email list and view my website. I put out a quarterly news letter, have a podcast, and limited social media. I am not very savvy about social media. The best advertisement is oneself. I get out into the communities and speak. My speaking engagements always include meditation, and that is what brings people to wanting more. I know how to connect to the forces of nature, inner guides and teachers, and greater consciousness. All of this is brought into the meditation experience and participants feel it and report amazing experiences. One experience is worth a thousand words.
What is your biggest challenge as a spiritual entrepreneur and how are you solving it?
My biggest challenge is linear time. There is so much I want to do. My mission is to awaken consciousness and now is the time. I want to teach, write, and see my clients but I feel the constraints of linear time in our ordinary reality. I can get very large in the non ordinary, but I am in human form. Managing my time and finding right balance can be a challenge.
What are your business aspirations? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
I see the vision of creating a future with less individual clients, and leading more meditation and professional programs. I have felt driven to contribute to the changing face of psychology as we enter a new planetary cycle. In five to ten years I see planetary consciousness evolving. There will be a time when healing will be way beyond what we even see today. I see myself teaching, and healing in groups, with more quiet time in between for a more balanced life.
How do you see Heallist helping you in your journey? Any features you are excited to try?
I appreciate the online platform very much. It is not something I can create on my own. I am a healer, a therapist, and I am not an IT person. Community and connection is very important during this time, and this is a great way to make that happen. Heallist takes you step by step in addressing the business end of the business. Most healers are not technical savvy, and struggle with creating a viable and successful business. Heallist takes the guess work out of the process, with much support and great guidance each step of the way. This is a valuable tool for everyone in the healing profession, no matter what your specialty.
What is your best pro tip for new healers?
Work on yourself and raise your own consciousness. Then follow your inner guidance and don’t be afraid to share your deepest truth and your talent. The right teacher will come, the path will unfold, and you will be supported along the way. Joining communities is a great way to get known and notices for what you do. Rely on others to help you understand how to build your business in ways that you are not skilled, such as the services offered by Heallist.