Susannah Paterson Painter, Ceramicist & Psychotherapist

Woo Woo

I suppose, being born in the Highlands of Scotland, where nearly everyone has had an encounter with a ghost, a fairy, or a witch, I’ve always been open about the paranormal. My grandmother saw several ghosts apparently and so did my father if you could believe him. I saw a ghost once too.. but that’s not really what I'm going to talk about. I want to talk about other stuff. The kind we are sometimes afraid to speak of, especially as clinical therapists, in case it’s just too, well, woo woo.

Anyone who has worked as therapist or a creative for long enough will tell you that spooky stuff happens. In fact anyone who has to attune to themselves, and their environment in order to work, develops a deep sensitivity to the invisible forces.

Lots of wild and weird stuff occurs for which there is no logical explanation - or at least a satisfactory one. There are scientists, like the absolutely amazingly gorgeous and engaging Brian Cox, who has excellent explanations of why some things are just so and I have deep respect for them. How though, does it explain things like the time I was in a deep trance on a hypnotherapy training when quite unexpectedly I found myself communicating with both my parents who had died? It was powerful and healing and gave me pieces of my personal jigsaw that were profound. Not only that, I was visited by a vast “being” who I simply knew as a big yellow angel. This being laid its hands on my abdomen and I felt something releasing.. I cried and cried, knowing that I had received some kind of healing., but I cannot tell you what exactly. There was lots more, too much to put here. Two hours later, when I opened my eyes and returned to normal consciousness I felt both exhausted and light at the same time. My therapists (there were two of them) were a gobsmacked as I was. It’s an experience that has stayed with me ever since. That was pretty woo woo.

How do I explain that only two days ago in a meditation I hear my neighbour David’s voice loudly telling me that he had Wilbur, our red cattle dog and he was taking care of him. We tragically had to euthanise poor Wilbur a few days ago due to a horrible cancer and I have been inconsolable. Oh, I should mention that David died three years ago. It made total sense on reflection, because David had adored Wilbur and had looked after him as a puppy a few times. In fact, David was known as Wilbur’s DogFather. I found it comforting, but it kind of blew me away too.

So it is when I paint. I can clearly hear Kerrie Lester’s voice giving me all kinds of instructions “not that colour doll”,”that won’t work”…” " at last, you’ve got it .. it took you long enough” . Anyone who knew Kerrie knew she could be quite cutting at times, but I loved her anyway and she did indeed transmit knowledge, liberation and joy to me with regard to paint. Whether I’ve simply internalised her voice so completely or she really is continuing to teach me from another dimension, is anyone’s guess. I don’t care though, I love having her around me either way.

As I am writing this, realising that there are way too many examples to give, I think about being on the wheel, totally i"n the zone" . It sometimes feels as if someone else is guiding my hands. I don’t know who or what, I just feel it and say thank you.

When I am sitting with another person in my role as therapist , I am often surprised at the wisdom or ideas that come out of my own mouth - definitely wasn’t me who said that! It’s like I have a bunch of other therapists all sitting around me giving me instructions about what to say or not to say, or which images to use in hypnotherapy or visualisation work. I confess it’s a little unsettling but they are rarely wrong and I’ve learned to trust them. Mostly I have the experience of my client saying “how did you know about X?” and I always reply saying I don’t know, I just took a punt.

I don’t have answers, I only know that the more I listen, the more I learn, and the more I trust, the better the work in any of these domains. Do you do Woo Woo too? I’d love to know. Feel free to send me your experiences!