Judy Bartelstone interviews Dr. Charlie Walker, Ph.D Clinical Psychology
The quest for spirituality has been a search since the dawn of man. Its
nature is intangible and often elusive, but always desirable and even crucial to
a healthy being. Dr. Charlie Walker answers some of our questions about the
concept and power of spirituality.
Q. Dr. Walker—I know you can’t condense a definition of spirituality, but
if you absolutely had to confine the essence to a short paragraph, what would
you tell us?
A. Spirituality is a sense of connection with our inner wisdom, with each
other, and with our spiritual guides. It is the core search for meaning and
connection; what is the universe about, what is the force that lives and
breathes and connects us and even moves the planets.
Q. Must we turn to a few highly powered or highly placed people to find
that sense of connection?
A. No, absolutely not. Spirituality resides in all of us; it is inclusive
rather than exclusive, not defined by some religious figure(s). Rather, it is a
continuing self-definition and experience.
Q. Doctor Walker, I like the idea of finding and knowing oneself – I
connect it to the famous saying of Rabbi Hillel who advised “who would love
others must first love himself.” As one begins that search for the inner self
and begins to love oneself, how does that affect any emotional or physical
illness that one might have?
A. There is a definite relationship! You have to connect with your own
higher wisdom, the life that has been given to you and the capabilities that you
have. One of the biggest challenges that a human being has is to strive for true
integration of the mind, body and spirit. Carl Jung often talked about the
concept of synchronicity, which he defined as “meaningful coincidences.” As we
examine our physical and emotional health, we may begin to notice
synchronicities in our own lives. We may notice that we are sick more often or
experience conditions like anxiety and depression. Using a holistic lens to view
ourselves, we may see below the surface of our mental and physical ailments that
our spirit is suffering as well. The body is wise; it will manifest illness to
get attention which is telling you to pay attention; just as a sliver will
fester without attention, so will the body and the spirit. In fact, unresolved
trauma or abuse or neglect, will cause symptom or illness.
Q. Where would an illness or disorder such as hypochondria fit into this?
A. It is a search for spirit, also an addiction. Addictions are all
searches for spirits and answers but they manifest themselves in very tragic
ways. Energetic healing and holistic medicine are alternatives (to allopathic
medicine) that view the whole picture and look for the root cause, rather than
treating one or two symptoms and remaining on the surface.
Q. Doctor, what changes so you see in the clientele who come to you now,
as opposed to those of a few years ago?
A. There is a shift toward spirituality—this may be affected by the fact
that I have opened up my own spiritual consciousness. I may be attracting a
different population, who has already begun to feel, on some level, a need for
finding the core connection among the mind, body and spirit. If such a patient
says something to me, for instance, about meditation, then I respect that
thought and go in through that “door” and work from that perspective. We are
trying to find spiritual power and to use a deeper inquiry.
Q. Current theories abound as to the value of proper nutrition for the
body and its relationship to a healthy psyche—I know it’s not “eat three
radishes a day and all will be well”, but what is that relationship and value?
A. The holistic approach does involve nutrition because this approach
always integrates the mind, the body and the spirit. Because we look at the
whole picture, we might, for example, refer to a nutritional person or someone
like Caroline Walrad, Ph.D. in Classical Homeopathy and a CN for nutritional or
dietary schedules on a specific basis for each individual. Maybe symptoms of
biochemical depression could, instead, be thyroid deficiency or blood sugar
Q. What kind of treatment process do you provide at your Integrated
A. We examine the core issues, we advise or refer nutritional health, we
offer psychotherapy for individuals and couples and families; we offer Reiki and
spiritual imagery. I offer EMDR (emdr.com), a methodology initiated about
fifteen years ago, for post traumatic stress disorder, rape, child abuse, etc.
It could be used now for Hurricane Katrina victims with all the ensuing loss and
grief that is evolving from this horrific disaster. The methodology involves eye
movement and, in brief, is a waking state similar to REM sleep; the waking state
allows the memory to be processed in real time and brought to the front brain
where the experience can be processed at a less painful, easier level.
Q. Doctor, this sounds much more effective and immediate than talk
therapy—could the methodology be used for Holocaust victims even though it is
sixty years later?
A. Oh, absolutely. I had a patient who was in a very terrifying and
traumatic gunfight forty years ago and was able to come to some sort of
resolution and move on finally. I am trained in EMDR methodology and have found
it to be very effective for the patient. I do want to emphasize, however, that
everything in our practice centers on treating the whole patient and providing a
holistic approach that includes the spirit. In the Wellness Center, Leslie White
provides nutritional and wellness consultations; women’s’ issues is one of her
specialties and she is a licensed substance abuse counselor who is pursuing her
Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Q. So you are healing the soul as you heal the physical and emotional
A. Judy, if we can examine the core issues in the emotional, spiritual
and physical realms, then true healing and integration can begin and wellness
and harmony will follow.
Dr. Charlie Walker is a licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in
Clinical Psychology. He has specialized training in addiction, trauma, family
therapy, spirituality, and EMDR. Dr. Walker can be reached at (928) 231-0114