Two-Legged Medicine: How To Be Your Own Brilliant Therapist

Journey through the trustable territory of the psyche with leading-edge body-mind-spirit therapist Robyn Bridges, as she illustrates exactly how to follow the healing arc of our lives, from childhood through adult trauma, loss, and grief into triumphant recovery. Practical and specific, Two-Legged Medicine provides astute “good medicine” by thoroughly mapping progressive stages of psychological healing in accessible, insightful, and relatable ways.

Click on the image below to read an excerpt from the book


So often clients have come to me unsure about how therapy- or healing- really works. They want both an overview and specific ways to find what they seek. They are asking, in effect, for a roadmap to guide them.

Two-Legged Medicine: How to be Your Own Brilliant Therapist offers such a template, full of life-enhancing healing systems, many of which you can use on your own. These techniques provide ‘the path of direct experience’, designed to engage your body, mind, and spirit. Both contemporary and ancient self-directed teachings described here will help you recognize and heal wounds from the arc of childhood through adulthood. You’ll discover which of the five stages of your own hero’s/heroine’s journey you are currently traversing. You’ll absorb insightful and practical ways to understand the power of your childhood, recover from abuse, transform codependence to inter-dependence, create vital relationships, and develop a deeper friendship with your own sense of Spirit. Whether you are new to your path or a seasoned traveler, welcome to an enhanced perspective, where your psyche will relax and your soul open to the magnitude and miracle of healing. You can truly be your own brilliant therapist. Here’s to discovering how rich your journey can be.

Table of Contents
The Vow to Remain Unconscious
Why Am I Dealing With This Now?
Spiritual Emergency
Understanding Your Wounding: Journey Initiation
The Importance of Your Story
The Curse of Abandonment
Shame: The ‘Not Enough’ Syndrome
The Essential Inner Child
The Peter Pan and Cinderella Syndromes
Abuse: How to Believe It; How to Heal It
Addiction Is A Secondary Pain
The Truth About Parenting
Unlearning: From Negative Self-Talk to Positive Re-Framing
Discernment: When to Hold ’Em And When to Fold ’Em
What Your Therapist May Not Have Told You
Re-Parenting Yourself
Why It’s OK Not to Forgive— At First
Body Wisdom: Learning to Live Inside Yourself
When to Retire Your Story
What Qualifies As Trauma?
The Difference Between Stress And Trauma
Adult Vs. Childhood Trauma
Detecting Your Own Adult Trauma
The Development and Healing of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Understanding The Brilliant Way You’ve Learned to Get What You Want
Narcissism— The Too Grand or Not Grand Enough Self
The Highly Sensitive Person
The Self-Serving Server
Self-Image: How Do I Learn to Approve of Myself?
Accepting Responsibility; Releasing Guilt
From “What Do You Want?” to “What Do I Want?”
Neediness: Filling the Void Through Radical Acceptance
How Being With Codependents Can Activate Your Own
Help From The Ancestors
Let Your “No” Mean “No” And Your “Yes” Mean “Yes”
Release And Revise Sticky Interactions
Recognize Your Own Signposts Of Personal Power
With Whom Are We In Relationship?
The Necessary Risk of Loving
Lost In Love: Where Is The Me In Us?
Projection: Can I Love You Apart From Who I Think You Are?
Important Differences; Crucial Similarities
Loving and Hating: The Dual Face of Relationship
Conflict Resolution: Works In Progress
Unhappy Alone or Unhappy Together?
Our Parents, Our Selves
The Relativity In Relatives
The Real Affair
The Power Of Now
Developing Your Own Inner Masculine And Feminine
The Quantity And Quality Of Physical Love
From New to Mature Love: Deepenings
Soul Mates: One or Many?
Finding The Beloved
Wrestling The Blessing From The Bother
Are You A Spiritual Being Having A Human Experience?
Abandonment And Belonging
The Man Behind The Curtain: Uncovering Your Oz
Ego Is Not The Enemy
The Ruse Of Religion: Breaking Free From The Grip Of Guilt
Three Roads Converging: Tolerance, Discernment, And Trust
Living Archetypes
The Function Of Magic: Paranormal Experience
Carving Out Your Spirituality: Animals, Angels, And Demons
Earth And Sky Cosmologies
Developing Your Own Vibrant Connection
The Urge to Merge
Illness: Compassionate Befriending
From Grief to Acceptance: When to NOT Pathologize Yourself
Caring For Special Needs People— And Yourself
The Gifts And Limits Of Guides And Mentors
Changing Identity: The Purpose Of The Void
The Pursuit Of Freedom
Creativity: The Mark Of A Full Life
Soul Development, The Tender Scar, And The Aging Body
The Spiral Of The Evolving Self
Part VI: Applications: Healing Systems For Personal Use
Body-Mind-Spirit: The Transpersonal Philosophy
The Path Of Direct Experience
Movement And Dance
Sound Healing
Consciousness Music
The Mind At Play
Transactional Analysis: Your Parent, Adult, And Child Selves
Voice Dialogue: The Unconscious Revealed
Divination Systems: Messages From Your Wise Self
Peaceways: The Art Of Forgiveness
The Medicine Wheel: Tracking The Truth Of Your Life
Imagery: The Vast Imaginal
Hypnotherapy: The Mind Heals The Body
Chakras: How to Hear Messages Through The Energy Centers
Just Breathe
Artistic Expression: Not For Professionals Only
Body Talk: Emotions In Motion
Stages Of Birth: A Living Metaphor
Personality Types: Testing, Learning Styles, And How to Benefit From Them
Energy Balancing: Your Own Healing Hands
Nature’s Healing: Crystals And Minerals
The Solace of Nature
Epilogue: Beyond Techniques— The Mystery Of The Healing Self

Life offers us both daunting challenges and powerful joys. How we navigate those difficulties and celebrate the joys depends in part on the perceptions we hold and the choices we make. We so often don’t realize that we can choose to live richly fulfilling lives no matter our circumstances. Yet so many of us in Western culture run around full of stress and worry, depression or angst while chasing fulfillment and ignoring the gifts of self-awareness.

Consider, if you will, your own current life satisfaction level. Has it changed over time? If you are not as happy or peaceful as you’d like to be, what keeps you from it? Are your circumstances preventing you in some way from being more centered, peaceful, or content? Or are you currently quite enjoying life but sense you could be even freer?

Whether you are experiencing the joy of wellbeing or the drought of difficulty, circumstances are always changing. Life vibrates back and forth between wellness and suffering. During challenging times, learning how to artfully navigate the sense of being dropped into an underworld experience can guide you through and out of the depths of incredibly dense human experience. By making suffering conscious and facing it squarely, you will participate in the dignity of the spiritual being you truly are. You will become, as is popular in contemporary Buddhist thought, mindful. Mindfulness (or, as I sometimes call it, consciousness) builds a foundation for moving through life with authenticity and real power. When overcome with your worst pain, even in the midst of confusion and desperation, you can learn to activate and benefit from your wisest self by first recognizing, then accepting, and by loving ‘what is’, finally allowing your wise body to release everything that has been holding you back.

The subtitle for this book, How to be Your Own Brilliant Therapist, came as a compliment from a client I was able to help in a way he’d been seeking all his life. He called me “brilliant.” After an ego-rush followed by a humbling self-reminder of my all-too-human failings, I responded, “Thank you, AND, we can all be brilliant. You are recognizing that piece in me because you have it in yourself, too.” As he began to accept this, he stepped into his growing psychological and spiritual power. It is my hope and intention that in reading Two-Legged Medicine: How to be Your Own Brilliant Therapist, you will find yourself more empowered, deepened, wiser, stronger, and, ultimately, freer. The text and exercises are designed to activate your conscious self: the wise part of you that knows exactly what you are about and wants to help you live in even greater freedom than you are right now. Whether you are quite experienced in this kind of awareness or more of a newcomer, the principles are the same: applying love, understanding, and compassion will heal what ails you. Some of you will just benefit from a reminder; others will be cultivating a whole new landscape of relating to self and other.

We become true travelers on the path of consciousness, with a fine appreciation for the miracle of life. We learn to accompany ourselves, to breathe deep, and to persevere through it all. And we remember to continually immerse ourselves in the vast world of nature to heal, rebalance, and renew us in body, mind, and spirit. Here’s to the development of your own brilliance, and the good medicine of a soulful journey.


Chapter Selections

Abandonment and Belonging
We all intrinsically seek and want to belong—to a family, a group, a situation. When we cannot find enough belonging to satisfy us, we may feel abandoned, lost, or hopeless. In Section I, Early Damage, the causes and results of abandonment were discussed. Abuse of any kind, no matter how minimal, invites the mistaken conclusion that we have been left to the wolves.

To feel lost and rejected is a truly distressing condition. Beyond pathology (as in Borderline Personality Disorder, where the person lives in a constant state of abandonment and lack of a personal ego), we all have this experience from time to time. Any time we are in a transition, from relationship or job loss or change, even a change of belief system, we enter into the ego’s feared danger zone of “no-thing.” No longer do we feel protected by a world we constructed that felt familiar, if not also safe. In this time of transition, we may also enter into the Great Void, a dark and eerily silent inner place where everything is unfamiliar. In fact, there is nothing at all to cling to. In the void, the psyche has no structure to arrange itself within, and the spirit is adrift, not able to help the human need or even sense the Divine.

When in the void, you may initially feel a deep sense of abandonment in the experience of nothingness. Yet ironically, when you stop fighting the experience, your perception usually changes to neutrality or curiosity. If you allow it, it will teach you that you belong even to the void; you belong to your life and to every experience for which you are willing to show up. You can apply consciousness to recognize the warning signs that you have not come through the void well; these are attitudes of bitterness, dejectedness, and defeat. However, you can come through the void better if you ask for and receive a wisdom that will extract a great price to possess, requiring you to release the structure of your old thought patterns about life (more on the Great Void in Part V: From Surviving to Thriving).

Your time in that void, that space of deep ‘not-knowing’ is done when it is done, though it is possible that you may shorten it by surrendering, by saying, “So be it,” and living day-to-day with acceptance. True surrender is the choice to accept how things are in the moment. It does not harbor a secret hope that “If I do this, then….” There is no bargaining with the void. You will come out of it eventually. How you come out of it is largely a measure of how you decide to experience going through it. And this will determine whether you still sense an on-going abandonment or you find yourself healing into the belongingness of your own life.

We belong to every experience we’ve had. How can abandonment defeat us when we learn to belong to it?


The Man Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Your Oz
It is so easy to give our power away. We blame parents, our society, our base human natures, and even ourselves for our apparent lack of knowing what we need and how to provide it for ourselves. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we must pull back the curtain so we can encounter that powerful voice outside of us that we think holds the key to granting our wishes. In doing so, we are aghast as we realize that the man behind the curtain is really a fake. He cannot really help us because he cannot help himself. He preys upon our insecurity by manipulating us to think he’s powerful. It’s all whistles and mirrors.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that once we find the wizard to be a fake, we also realize his genius. He is only in the position he’s in because he has realized something we have not: that we just need permission to find what it was we thought we were incapable of finding. Once we know that, we do not need to answer any longer to the wizard without. The way home is to activate the wizard within. Your inner guide will direct you in the magic ways of finding what you truly need. He will help you turn the dross to gold, your unused talents into active gifts.

In this way, the Wizard of Oz is really about spiritual discovery and empowerment. We are not the weak, incapable creatures we imagine. In fact, as with the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, the very qualities we think we lack are often strengths we have, albeit in their hidden states. These hidden strengths are ready to feel the call to adventure and answer the quest of discovery. Then they embark upon their own empowering journeys to become all they are in us. It is a form of finding the god or goddess within.

So who is the person behind your curtain? What is his or her name? Is it a parent or disbelieving teacher? Is it someone you expected to rescue you in the past? What does (or did) his/her face look like? Maybe it is a negative compilation of many people from whom you expected but did not get help. On the positive side, you might recognize the wizard as one who knows positive qualities you have not been claiming, and is giving you a chance to claim them once again. Did that person in your outer life know you had the answer within? Spiritual maturity requires that we pull the curtain back on the mommy/daddy/god/goddess outside of ourselves who we expected to make it all better, and to embark on our own fearsome journey, where every bit of our courage will be required.

Often we will only set out on our journey in earnest when we have wholly lost our way. We have no other resources. We are desperate. That is the time to pull back the curtain and enter into the hero’s or heroine’s journey. We find frightening winged monkeys and dark witches, and we have to face our worst fears. But along the way we also find the power of good. Ultimately, we find our own way home. And the little man behind the curtain will seldom fool us again.

Our psyches are designed to work in tandem with our spirits. Our psyches are the organizing principle of our minds, egos, and personalities. I am defining “spirit” here as the divine dwelling within you. I could say that the psyche is the hiker and spirit is the mountain trail. The psyche is meant to enjoy, rest within, be guided by, and be refreshed by the natural world of spirit. In order to do this, we must free ourselves of some misconceptions that keep us from maximizing a vibrant connection between our personal selves and the Great Self of God within.

In this chapter, you will find clues to self-assess how your psyche and spirit are (or are not) cooperating with each other. You will perhaps remember your young sense of God before religion tried to teach you too much. You’ll find that the seemingly human values of tolerance, discernment, and trust are really divine attributes. And you’ll be able to see what living archetype has been dwelling in you.

Ego Is Not the Enemy
Certain branches of New Age and even Buddhist philosophy teach that our egos (housed in the psyche) are our inadequate, small selves which keep us imprisoned and in pain. They state or imply that all desire leads to stress and to more unmet desire on the repetitive suffering wheel of samsara. We’ve all seen or been in situations where this happens, like the discouraged lover who becomes bitter, or the constant over-spender who lives in financial distress. Implicit or explicit in “overcome or ignore the ego” philosophies is the belief that ego is the enemy, the troublesome foe that keeps us from the gates of heaven.

I prefer to view the ego not as an enemy but as a complex facet of the psyche, that, like a computer, needs lots of protection updates and scans. The ego is exposed to a lot of garbage; it can pick up thought viruses and not work well as a result. It takes on erroneous ideas of who we are. But what I have learned from my years working with the psyche is that we are actually hard-wired to clear out the rubble. Because of this, the ego does not have to be ignored, or overcome, or killed; it can instead be creatively harnessed to serve us. We are designed to utilize the ego as a valuable ally and support.

As a result of my work in Jungian, Transpersonal, and depth psychology, I identify ego as the part of our psyche that helps us know ourselves as distinct from others. It has desires and goals that want to be fulfilled throughout our lives. The ego that is only hooked up to our small selves, however, will eventually run rampant; it will spin out of control with a cacophony of needs and schemes. It will never be satisfied for long. This happens particularly when we are young and still gathering a sense of who we are. As we mature, the idea is to offer our ego in service of the divine. This is what the 6th chakra energy center in our etheric fields does; it intuits how to be aligned with Spirit and asks ego to carry our divine mission into the world of our personal and work lives. When ego understands it has a higher calling and is truly wanted, even needed, it seeks to embody the divine. The ego in tune with Spirit is both vital and at rest. It is vital because it knows it has a higher purpose to fulfill. It is at rest because it is not trying to pull from its own constant desires; rather, it is governed by Spirit, the place of wisdom and understanding.

In very high, spiritual endeavors, I often see people bypassing their humanity altogether in favor of being “spiritually realized.” Usually they are circumventing their opportunity to be a true human by trying hard to ignore their humanity! They make ego the enemy and, as a result, merely drive the truth of what is underground, where it wreaks havoc in their lives. They may then carry large, controlling shadow behaviors or on the other hand, become ‘bliss bunnies,’ valuing only the things of spirit, meditation, and quietness. Bliss bunnies refuse to recognize the human angst or need for action in the world. They refuse the realities of true responsibility, sorrow, loss, and grief.

This is not love; it is ignorance, and a refusal to be present in the here and now. Real love blossoms through the grit of living, thorns and all. Earth and Sky energies must be integrated. Earth energy demands attention to earthly needs of paying the bills and attending to detail. Sky energy reminds us that we are not only random beings taking care of necessary tasks; we are spiritual beings.

Ego is not the enemy; ignorance is. I like to remind groups I work with that to give yourself away to Spirit, you have to have a YOU to give away! You have to stay with the grit and difficulties of building ego. Too many spiritual seekers want to try to give ego away before they’ve developed it. This is like trying to give a gift to someone you love when you haven’t finished creating it. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Develop your ego first. Make it beautiful. Know it, and yourself. Become well versed in your strengths and weaknesses. Give your desires time and space to know themselves. When we stop fighting the marvelous way we were constructed, we will see that ego can serve us well. It helps us know who we are so we can give our unique talents and skills to the world. It also allows us the great pleasure of personal satisfaction. Ego is only a problem when it has no higher purpose, no sense of higher headquarters. What we each need to do is hook our egos up to a higher source by intention, to be present, self-correcting without judgment, and stay tuned for the inspiring results. Then we have an awesome gift to give- to God, to ourselves, and to others.


Two-Legged Medicine Endorsements
“…delivers on its promise to lead you to your own brilliant discoveries. You will be amazed as it guides you to construct your own path to wholeness.” Pam Pride, retired University instructor, entrepreneur

“Robyn Bridges, a gifted body-mind-spirit therapist, offers us a comprehensive, unique, and wise insight into the human condition. This compilation of visionary philosophy and practical tools is a must read for both professional health care providers and anyone looking to live in consciousness. To read this book is to enter into a healing journey and exit transformed.“ Dr. Holcomb Johnston, Naturopath, author

Two-Legged Medicine is accessible, comprehensive and divine. What person doesn’t want to identify his or her life story? With this book in your hands and Robyn Bridges as your guide, you are headed towards transformation and also towards that elusive thing we all want—real-deal healing.” Molly Caro May, author of The Map of Enough

Go to Top