Ocean Soul Renewal offers private non-religious pastoral counseling services to serve people, young and old, of every faith or no faith tradition. As a chaplain I understand that it is not what I believe that matters. My job is to assist you in being true to your own spiritual and emotional way of being authentically in your life. I am an interfaith clinical and hospice chaplain trained to work with every religion, the spiritual but not religious.

Individual, couples, or family counseling services can be arranged by appointment on the boat, in an office or in your own home. Group workshops are also provided throughout the year and offered at various locations including some aboard a sailing yacht on San Francisco Bay and other California coastal locations. See our Workshops or Event pages to find out what classes are being offered near you. Below are some of the counseling services we offer:

Grief and Loss

Every loss is a kind of a death for us. I have years of experience assisting people in grieving and healing from losses of all kinds. If we do not grieve our losses they fester inside us and slowly get covered over with emotional scar tissue. Over the years our un-grieved losses rob us of our energy, health, relationships, jobs and peace because they don’t go away – they just lie there half-hidden doing their internal damage. Some of the kinds of losses we grieve are:

  • Divorce or end of a relationship
  • Death of a beloved child, parent, partner, friend or pet
  • Loss of a job or home or suffering a bankruptcy
  • A frightening medical diagnosis like ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s Disease
  • Loss of functionality or body image like an amputation, stroke, dementia, ALS, mastectomy, arthritis, traumatic brain injury, concussion or even natural aging
  • Suffering trauma from violence, abuse, war or accident
  • Anticipatory grief where we know a loss or death is coming and we are already grieving
  • Environmental destruction and climate change is only just beginning to be acknowledged as a source of terrible loss and spiritual crisis

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Spiritual Support

Whether or not you have an active religious tradition, chances are you encounter times in your life when you could benefit from active support of your struggles, changes or fears. The purpose of my spiritual support is to assist you in reconciling your spiritual needs or challenges with your daily life. The goal is to foster spontaneity and authenticity in your life through active reflection and exploration of your inner realms with dialogue, meditation and contemplative prayer.
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Life Change Coaching

If life was ever simple in our society, it is not simple now. We struggle with economic challenges, moves, job changes, loss and growth in an environment so fast-paced and full of technology that we have no time or safety to explore our changes and direct that change. Life Change counseling allows you a structured contemplative and interactive space to reflect on your changes and structure an intentional response that keeps you true to your authentic nature while incorporating problem-solving skills that will make your life fun, healthy and satisfying.
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End of Life

Whether you are facing and preparing for your own end of life or that of a loved one, you can begin the approach to that sacred transition consciously and compassionately, effectively. It is possible to bring back the “Divine Art of Dying” (™ of Dr. Herbert Anderson) and conscious dying as a pathway to fuller living in the time that is left. Some of the issues I can help you with are:

    • Death with Dignity and the CA End of Life Option Act – I can help you understand the law, how to utilize it and alternatives to and aid in dying drug (like hospice, palliative care)
    • Advance Health Care Directive – how to fill it out and make it available when you need it
    • Family Peace & Action Circles and conflict resolution – Lots of times family members have different ideas about how things should work at the end of a family member’s life. We can sit down together and get everyone on the same page, learn effective and respectful communication and advance communication while there is still time.
    • Talking to your family about your dying – talking with loved ones about your wishes or talking to a dying loved one about your feelings and needs is hard. As a hospice chaplain I have years of training and experience in facilitating these tough communications.
    • Home Funerals, Green or Eco Burials
    • Memorial and funeral service creation – make it authentic, meaningful and dignified
  • Pricing for end of life services for individuals and couples is done on a sliding scale from $95 – $145/hr.  You choose where you belong on that sliding scale.  Call for larger group or family prices..

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Personal Totem Pole

The Personal Totem Pole: Healing through Deep Personal Imagery

The Personal Totem Pole is an internal guidance system. It is our interior personality, character, strengths, fears and needs, expressed in the imagery of animals. These animals express the quality and nature of different aspects of our inner and larger selves. They represent the Gestalt of ourselves, our needs and values.

The effectiveness of the Personal Totem Pole as a therapeutic modality is due to the completely personal nature of the imagery, combined with the absence of borrowed and foreign intellectual therapeutic systems. The imagery, the personalities, the strengths and weaknesses emerge from the deep psychic wells of our own past and from the body.

By exploring the various “energy gateways,” or chakras in the individual’s body, while in a deep state of relaxation or “trance,” we can allow the quality of that energy to express itself as animal, vegetable or elemental imagery. By dialoguing with these “characters” and by facilitating the interaction between the various animals, we allow the expression of our deep strengths, needs and fears. Healing occurs in us spontaneously when our unheard natures find expression, hearing, respect and support from ourselves. Development occurs in us when those aspects of ourselves are accepted and allowed to grow beyond the point where that growth was first or continually halted. The growth and development of the individual animals results in the unification of our various parts and a feeling of wholeness within ourselves.

Qualitative changes in our behavior, our outlook on life, our experience of ourselves in relationship with the demands of our lives occur when we have a sense of ourselves as whole, un-fragmented beings. When we respect, own and communicate with each important part of our deeper selves, and with different parts of our body (physical, spiritual and energetic), we find self-acceptance and healing. Our self-esteem grows and with it our effectiveness in life. When we go tour own inner self for the answers to our questions we act with confidence and strength. When we act with confidence, from a position of personal power, we have no need to coerce, manipulate or fear others. We become self-possessed and self-guided. Through the process of identifying and accepting the diversity within ourselves we become capable of accepting the important differences between people. We open ourselves to love, energy, power.

Session 1
The first 90-minute session involves identifying and communicating with your own personal totem animals. In some cases, there may be more than one animal or being in a given body area (chakra). The first insight into personal patterns and deep, old fears and needs comes from this initial contact. This first session will show which parts of yourself are split or frightened, or have stopped growing. You will also see where strength, leadership and personal creativity reside within you and get clues about how to manifest your creativity. Clear needs are uncovered here. You can get specific information about what different parts of yourself need to facilitate their (your) healing and growth.

Session 2
The Council of Totem Animals occurs here. This is the first opportunity to see how “they” as aspects of yourself relate to each other. Here you experience clearly who shows leadership, who harmonizes, who placates, who cowers, who is frozen, who leads, who is the voice of disharmony or criticism of self and others. You will have an opportunity to gain acceptance and understanding of yourself within the context of your different qualities, your different voices, needs, chakras. Part of the visualization process involves the overt expression by your various totem animals of love and acceptance by the larger group in Council.

Subsequent sessions may occur as needed but two sessions to get you started on this exploration. The best way to know when it is right for further sessions is to ask your animals and you now have access to their voices to ask them. In particular that being who manifests in the crown of your head – this is the aspect of self which commonly provides spiritual guidance.

Couple Totem Pole Sessions
After both partners have discovered and participated in a council with their own personal totem animals, it is possible to bring the two groups together in joint Council. This allows for expression of individual needs and grievances within the context of the larger, more complex relationship(s).

Cost of Sessions
Individual: $150 for 90 minute session
Couple: $250 for 2 hour session

Small Group Workshops
Small group Totem sessions can be facilitated if desired. For pricing, contact me.

The process of the personal totem pole and chakra imagery as a modern personal exploratory tool was developed by Eligio Stephen Gallegos, PhD, through his study of different deep imagery systems, especially those of the Northwest Coast Native Americans. An introduction into this work can be found in Gallegos’ book: The Personal Totem Pole: Animal Imagery, the Chakras, and Psychotherapy.
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Contact us today to learn more about our healing and memorial services.

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