About Awaken Therapy
Are you ready to release old patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour that keep you suffering?
Do you feel a desire to discover your greater Self and experience more of the stillness, joy and freedom which are your natural state?
Do you have the motivation and courage to seek help on your inner journey of transformation and awakening?
Hello, I am James Hands, creator of Awaken Therapy. My intention in becoming a psychologist and clinical hypnotherapist was to be the sort of therapist for others that I wished I'd had to help me through my own traumas and life challenges.
Now, with almost 30 years of experience, I want to share the best of what I have learned with you. I know both personally and professionally, the difficulty involved in clearing unresolved issues, wounds and trauma from our minds and bodies.
For that reason, I have trained in and developed various powerful modalities to make your healing journey as safe and manageable as possible. I know the courage and persistence required for profound change, so offer patient, caring support in all my connections; in person, in writing, in courses.
I am passionate about helping people to clear whatever restricts their life, and open to the joy and freedom of their true Self. It is my privilege to assist those who are ready to step up and take full responsibility for their healing and awakening journey.
Growing up, I was exposed to some dark corners of mental illness as my father battled bipolar disorder and alcoholism. His struggles made our home a challenging environment. His criticism, unpredictable and abusive behavior, and eventual suicide when I was thirteen, planted seeds of resilience in me. These experiences were deeply wounding but became the catalyst for my future career as a psychotherapist. As I journeyed into adulthood, I realised I wanted to be the therapist I had longed for during my own turbulent youth and beyond.
In addition to my personal trauma experiences were my spiritual inclinations, nurtured by my maternal grandmother from a young age, and instrumental in shaping my career. I firmly believe that a holistic psychology incorporating the mind, body, and soul has the power to heal, release, and empower us. These two significant threads of my life eventually culminated in my decision to become a mental health professional.
After overcoming personal struggles post high school with substance misuse, I found my footing through yoga and different healing modalities. At the age of 22, I did a month-long Outward Bound course, adventuring from Kosciuszko to the Gippsland coast, which served as a powerful builder of greater self-confidence. Returning from this journey, I went back to university and completed a degree in music and religious studies.
In my early thirties, after years of exploring various work roles and trainings, I experienced an epiphany of sorts, propelled by the encouragement of my psychodrama therapist. I finally knew what I wanted to do. Returning to university in 1993, I completed three degrees in psychology, slowly integrating my spiritual curiosity with the fundamentals of counselling and therapy. I was fortunate enough to be invited into an excellent Master's program in Counselling Psychology and wonderful placements, including Monash University Health Service.
A natural aptitude for the work, coupled with my passion and commitment to showing up for people, have led to many wonderful opportunities and a rewarding career. The deep connections I have been privileged to forge with a diverse range of clients have taught me so much, and only increased my love for the work. The ability to serve and engage with people at such a profound level brings me immense joy and satisfaction. I am constantly in awe of how wonderful people can be.
During my almost three decades of practice, I have accumulated about 30,000 hours of experience. Simultaneously, I have balanced my career with relationships and raising two beautiful children. Throughout my journey, my interest in the spiritual dimension has never wavered. It was a book by Michael Newton, 'Life Between Lives', that opened my eyes to the intersection of psychotherapy and spirituality. Training in his work, which first required gaining diplomas in clinical hypnotherapy and past life regression, was a turning point.
Hypnotherapy, while initially a means to explore spiritual regression, proved to be a powerful tool in my psychotherapy practice. It enables efficient access to the deeper subconscious, aiding in shadow work, addressing childhood trauma and other suppressed issues. With time, many of my clients, who themselves tend to be more spiritually inclined, began to expand their therapeutic horizons into soul state, effectively broadening the bandwidth of standard therapy.
Over time, the exploration of reincarnation, karmic learning, and connecting with spiritual guides transformed from theoretical concepts into lived experiences. This profound shift in consciousness turbocharged the therapy sessions, providing a deeper layer of healing. I've been privileged to witness this transformation thousands of times, and each instance continues to reaffirm my appreciation of the interconnectedness of psychology and spirituality. Our human and divine natures are intertwined.
My journey has been a mix of personal healing, spiritual exploration, and a deep desire to help others heal. The road so far has been long and often challenging, but it has brought me to where I am today. As I reflect on my journey, I feel immense gratitude for all those I have been privileged to work with; big love to you all. I eagerly look forward to what lies ahead.
My vision is for a world where all trauma is resolved quickly and safely, so that children can grow up in healthy families and all people can express themselves authentically and reach their fullest potential.
- To ensure that Awaken Therapy brings high quality care and loving support to everyone we reach.
- To provide clear, accessible and effective methods for people to deal with stress, wounding and trauma.This not only transforms individual lives, but also positively impacts their children's lives and future generations, perpetuating a cycle of healing.
- To evolve standard psychological health care into holistic support which embraces our spiritual dimension.
- To help anchor our planet in love, peace and compassion.
Training & Qualifications
Master of Arts (Counselling Psychology)
Graduate Diploma of Applied Psychology
Bachelors of Arts (Music, Psychology)
Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy
Certified Past Life Regressionist
Certified Life Between Lives Practitioner
Certificates of Metaphysical Studies, Tactile Therapies
Brandon Bays Journey Work
Judith Richards Trauma Process
Reiki Master, Yoga Practitioner since 1983
Member of Australian Association of Psychologists
Member of Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association
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