2010-03-18 / News

Island therapist helps clients realize potential

By Eileen M. Daly

Dr. Santi Meunier Dr. Santi Meunier If the idea of living fearlessly appeals to you, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it, then Dr. Santi Meunier is the person to see.

Though it has taken Meunier many years to uncover and develop the spiritual beliefs that form the basis of her program, “Practical Spirituality for Fearless Living,” as long as you are willing to do the work, Meunier can show you the way.

Meunier is a Jamestown psychotherapist and author of four self-help books, including “Dying for a Drink: The Hidden Epidemic of Alcoholism.” In 1992, she founded the Galactica Institute for Personal and Professional Development.

Though she now makes her living as a therapist and inspirational speaker, Meunier got her professional start in the filmmaking industry.

It was during a trip to Egypt as part of a work assignment that she had what she describes as “a huge epiphany” while touring the Great Pyramids.

This spiritual experience, she said, caused her to change the direction of her life and pursue a career in the helping profession.

Meunier went back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vermont College, and later, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Norwich University. Eventually, she went on to earn her doctorate degree in chemical dependency from Madison University.

Though Meunier has a traditional academic background, her practice is anything but traditional.

She incorporates disciplines such as yoga (she is a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist) and hypnosis (she is a certified hypnotherapist), along with more traditional methods such as journaling and talk therapy to assist her clients in overcoming self-defeating behaviors.

Meunier acknowledges that she often “operates outside the box,” and points to her long association with groups such as the Kripalu organization in Vermont as an example.

But, she said, she is not in the business of dragging along people who are not interested in doing the necessary work.

“It is hard enough to do the work when you want to, but if you are looking for a babysitter or a Mama, I’m not it!” she said. “Without at least a grain of willingness, the work is exhausting.”

For clients who show that grain of willingness, however, Meunier is willing to do whatever it takes to help.

She refers to people as “spiritual beings having a human experience,” and said she does not have an attachment to any particular definition of God.

Rather, she said, she uses whatever tools help her clients to move through fear and reach their potential. She mentioned the Japanese philosophy of Loreto as an example of her fluid approach.

“They say ‘water bears no scars,’ and like a stream of water flows, I go with the flow,” she said.

When push comes to shove, though, Meunier describes her own personal beliefs as “probably more Eastern than Western.” Still, she emphasized her willingness to work with the client’s own beliefs and, she said, she has found that Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies often “dove-tail” and can be “harmonious” philosophies.

When she works with clients to develop practical methods for realizing their hopes and dreams, it is not uncommon for them to uncover what Meunier describes as “a web of fears,” she said. It is only when those fears are addressed and overcome that the client is able to realize his or her potential, she said.

“As long as fear controls their decisions, they are not free to become all they can be,” she said.

Meunier’s “Practical Spirituality for Fearless Living” program is designed to help clients overcome those fears, she said.

It is a two-part program that is designed, she says, to “uncover, discover and discard.” Clients are encouraged to unearth the fears that are blocking them from realizing their potential, then uncover or discover their true selves, and discard those things that are no longer working for them, Meunier said.

The program contains seven “core” principles that correspond to the seven “chakras,” she said. These seven core principles are trust, discernment, intention, love, honesty, commitment and discipline.

Meunier will hold an open house on May 2 at her office at 16 Narragansett Ave., which is right above the Cathryn Jamieson Salon. Visit her website at www.santimeunier. com for more information.

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