Back To Basics: Non-Traditional Healing And Self-Discovery Beyond Talk Therapy

In the ongoing search for wellness and self-reflection, I took several leaps of faith and went outside the traditional “talk therapy” route I’d known for much of my life. I have always been a sucker for fate, enticed by fortune telling, and up for new adventures. So, when new opportunities just sort of presented themselves, I jumped right in. I was hopeful these experiences could heal the past and maybe predict the future. With a, well, complicated past, a complicated present, and an obsessive way of thinking about the future, what did I have to lose?

First, on a late December trip to New Orleans with an old high school friend, we came upon a tempting spiritual shop behind sparkling dark pink curtains in the French Quarter. Inside, a tarot card reader was waiting. I had such high hopes and so many questions! Life, love, health, career, family, friends – I wanted to know it all! I left remembering just two things she told me. In May of the coming year, I’d get a new boss who was nothing like me, but we’d get along great. And in October of the coming year, an important woman in my life would get a serious respiratory illness – but would be OK. 

I almost felt relieved leaving that reading. And as my friend and I headed into the bar next door for an enormous margarita, we went through the women in my life, wondering who would be the one to get sick. We vowed to remember the prediction as fall kicked in and not panic when the person got ill.  As for the career outlook, I was thinking about changing jobs and knew how important a strong boss was. Hearing my next boss would work well with me, I felt better. 

Second, when a neighborhood acquaintance told me about a hypnotist experience she’d recently had, I was blown away. She seemed so positive about it and swore the woman was the real deal. I was impressed and asked for the hypnotist’s name and number, making an appointment for that upcoming weekend. When I arrived at her house, I was surprised to see how close it was to mine, and it seemed just like a regular home. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe something more mystical or mysterious. I was nervous ringing the bell. I’m not big on losing control, and the idea that I was about to hand over some of my waking moments and buried thoughts to a perfect stranger was unnerving. But I marched in. 

As she explained what would happen and began putting me “under,” I remember thinking – this will never work on me; I can’t relax; I won’t go under; I don’t buy it.  To this day, I’m not sure whether I was really hypnotized or not, but I do remember she had me go back to my pink childhood bedroom and talk to my five-year-old self, telling that little girl that everything would be OK. I left in tears. Ridiculous, I thought. Everything would not be “OK” in the coming years. Things were going to get really, really hard, with a lot of loss and a lot of change. Things were going to get much harder than life at five years old. I never went back – not to the hypnotist, and not the carefree little girl I was…

Third, I tried a Life Coach. I purposely picked a woman who was older. I thought she’d be wiser, more experienced, and more motherly or something. In all honesty, I think I just didn’t want to take life advice from a Millennial (sorry!!!) – though I know Gen X has things to learn from them.  Anyway, I was really into it for about two sessions, then decided it wasn’t for me. Nobody could motivate me, define my goals, and make a plan like I could for myself. I began to dread the upcoming sessions. I played along. I did the wheel of satisfaction thing, and there were no surprises. Like I had for the past decades, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t, what was important to me, and what to focus on in order to get it. I didn’t want or need this kind of coaching. 

I think I needed, well, therapy. Like a regular, real psychologist that had helped me so much as a kid and over the years. So, I went back to basics. I went back in a really roundabout way, but I got back.

I searched for a therapist in a random, kind of silly way. I knew I wanted a female one, and someone nearby (even though, COVID, virtual…). But I chose the practice because I liked their name – the head person’s last name was one of my favorite seasons, so I took that as a good sign. Fate, maybe. And, sure enough, I got matched with just the right person and just the right kind of therapy. It’s been almost a year now, and I am convinced that, for me, this is the kind of thing that makes me feel better and grow. 

I’m not saying one of the other options above isn’t right for other people. I am glad I explored those, and I hope, if you’re curious, you do, too. Just don’t discount going back to basics. However you find your way, that’s what matters! 


Have you tried any non-traditional healing methods? Tell us in the comments!

erin manta

About Erin Mantz

Erin Mantz is the Founder of the Gen X Girls Grow Up blog and Facebook community and a published writer specializing in pop culture and Generation X. 



Instagram: @genxgirls

Twitter: @genxgirlsgrowU1

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