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Practitioner Competencies

Finding a Shamanic Practitioner to Work With

If you wish to find a shamanic practitioner to work with, you might find the following list of competencies a useful guide, in terms of what to look for. They are the things we would expect anyone offering Therapeutic Shamanism in a professional capacity to be able to demonstrate.

Training to Become a Shamanic Practitioner

The competencies list should be useful too if you are considering becoming a shamanic practitioner yourself, in giving you a sense of what this involves.

shamanic practitioner
  1. Be highly experienced and at ease journeying in all 3 shamanic realms, know clearly which realm they are in at any given time, and know what to expect and do in each realm.
  2. Have a practice that is strongly based in the Lower and Upper Worlds.
  3. Understand the difference between middle-world individuals and Lower-World and Upper-World Oversouls.
  4. Have a strong connection with at least one Power Animal.
  5. Have experience of working with a variety of other Animal Oversouls.
  6. Have a strong and established connection with at least one truly Lower-World Human Guide.
  7. Have a strong and established connection with at least one Upper-World Guide.
  8. Understand the safety, protection and ethical issues when undertaking middle-world journeys, and act accordingly and appropriately.
  9. Know how to work with middle-world beings including middle-world spirits, and with thought forms and other human constructs.
  10. Know how to cleans and heal middle-world objects and places (including doing terrapomping).
  11. Understand the difference between ego, body, Soul and Spirit, and the different needs of each of these four parts and how to honour them.
  12. Be experienced in shamanic extraction and de-possession practices including:
    1. Understand the difference between extraction and depossession, and the possible indications of posession.
    2. Understanding the different types of intrusions, including thought-forms, and spirits (including parasites, elementals, malevolent spirits and wetiko).
    3. Knowing different extraction methods and the extraction and depossession protocols.
    4. Ethics, and respect for entities.
    5. When to extract and when to dialogue.
    6. The need to not leave holes when doing extractions and deposessions (and what to put in).
  13. Know how to work with the Upper and Lower convergence point energies including:
    1. How to draw on these energies for shamanic healing (i.e., after extraction work).
    2. How to journey to these points for healing. How to draw on the convergence points as sources of power.
  14. Know the difference between soul loss, loss of personal power, and Power loss.
  15. Know how to address Power Loss, including:
    1. Assisting clients in them doing their own Power Animal retrieval, and how to help them build a relationship with their Power Animal.
  16. Be experienced in soul retrieval methods including:
    1. Traditional soul retrieval (and understand its limitations)
    2. Knowing how to heal soul parts before returning them
    3. “Singing the souls back home”
    4. Preventing the soul loss having occurred (persuading the soul to stay)
    5. Fort-holder respite journeys
    6. Awareness that soul parts and fort-holder parts may have concerns and conditions, and how to facilitate any necessary negotiations
    7. Be able to facilitate clients’ integrating parts
    8. The need for an Adult self, and support from Champions (Guides)
    9. Be able to identify and skilfully work with any other complications in soul retrieval including:
      1. body shock
      2. soul theft and contracts
      3. co-dependence and soul exchange
      4. the Land of the Dead (including the Cave of the Lost Children)
  17. Understand the nature of the Plant People Oversouls and how to work with them.
  18. Have a strong and established working relationship with at least one Plant Oversoul.
  19. Have an established working relationship with at least some Stone People Oversouls.
  20. Have experience of transmutation practices including: dismemberment, burial, burning, dissolving, sky burial, and cocooning.
  21. Know about the Land of the Dead, and have a strong respect for it and knowledge of its dangers.
  22. Have a basic knowledge of what happens at death, and how to do a basic psychopomp of the Unquiet Dead (this does not necessarily include the ability to enter into the Land of the Dead, but does include knowing when to seek help when needed).
  23. Know how to make and work with shamanic power objects.
  24. Understand how to do expansion and just-being journeys.
  25. Understand the Adult initiation stages and processes.
  26. Understand what healthy (Lower-World) tribeal structurs and relationships look like (The Patterns of Healthy Tribe).
  27. Understand the difference between fallen, hierarchical spirituality, and non-hierarchical animist spirituality.
  28. Understand the use of the shamanic drum and the rattle.
  29. Know the ethics of asking for blessings and help with other middle-world issues.
  30. Have experience in journeying down ancestral time-lines, including healing time-lines and the release of ancestral burdens.
  31. Understand the principles of recapitulation, and how to work with detaching the past.
  32. Understand the shamanic understanding of the multiverse and its relevance to working with the future. How to work with future Guides.
  33. Know when shamanic work is appropriate, and when it is not.
  34. Know the limits of their own competence and experience, and when to refer a client to another practitioner when appropriate.
  1. Understand the Medicine Wheel and the (indigenous) 5 elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth.
  2. Be able to identify elemental imbalances in clients, and know how to work with them.
  3. Have a basic understanding of human energy anatomy (The Inner Totem Pole) including:
    1. the basics of the energy bodies (auras)
  1. Seek to be guided by Spirit, not ego.
  2. When working with a (currently living) human, always seek to work only with actual and explicit consent and permission.
  3. Treat all things with respect and compassion, whether corporeal or non-corporeal.
  4. Respect client confidentiality.
  5. Respect client’s boundaries.
  6. Respect their own boundaries as a practitioner.
  7. Be aware of the practitioner-client power relationship, and always seek to empower clients.
  8. Be extremely aware of what thought they plant in clients minds; show care and discretion in how they report journeys to clients, and what they say to clients.
  9. Avoid any exploitation or misconduct with clients.
  10. Be honest and truthful in public relations and advertising, and not act in a way that brings shamanism into disrepute.
  11. To be upfront with clients about fees.
  12. To be upfront and honest with clients about what to expect from sessions.
  13. Never knowingly use shamanism for harm.
  14. Know when they are not in the right state to work with clients.
  15. Know when to seek supervision for ethical issues.
  16. Offer clients a safe environment to do the sessions in.
  17. Practice good energy hygiene
  18. Only work with people when there are no inappropriate boundary issues. Know when to refer people on when appropriate.
  19. Strive to practice what they preach (seek to embody to shamanic practices, principles and ethics in their own lives, including maintain regular contact with their own Power Animal and other Guides.
  1. How to look out for mental health issues that may contraindicate doing shamaninc work.
  2. How to show clients the core conditions:
    1. Grounding
    2. Empathy
    3. Congruence
    4. Unconditional positive regard
    5. Presence.
  1. Demonstrating active listening and reflecting back.
  2. How to facilitate rather than interpret (the locus-of-evaluation being with the client).
  3. The difference between content and process (and how to invite people to move from content to process).
  4. How to work with strong emotions in clients.
  5. Have an understanding of the workings of the human psyche and of psychological processes including:
    1. Archetypes, such as Mother, Father, Lover (and the Anima and Animus), the Shadow/Adversary, the Child, the Mother, Adult, Elder and Shaman, and the trans-human Archetypes.
    2. The importance of childhood conditioning.
    3. Understanding parts-of self, including: fort-holders, orphans, and their sub-parts (the Inner Critic, Pusher, Perfectionist, Pleaser etc); Adult; Body; Soul; Spirit.
    4. Introjects.
    5. The difference between transference, countertransference and projections.
  6. The difference between good boundaries and wonky boundaries.
  7. Some understanding of common barriers to contact.
  1. Know any legal restrictions and requirements that are applicable to their work.
  2. Keep adequate and confidential records.
  3. Have suitable insurance cover, as appropriate.
  4. Engage in regular and continuing professional development
  5. Know the limits of their competence, and know when they are out of their depth, or need to seek supervision, or need to refer clients on.

Practitioner Recommendations

We do not run a professional register of Therapeutic Shamanism practitioners. However, the practitioners we usually recommend are below. If you would like any further suggestions, please contact us.

Our Practitioner Training

If you are interested in exploring becoming a professional practitioner in Therapeutic Shamanism, you can find the details of our shamanic practitioner training here.


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