The Harner Shamanic Counseling method

was developed over 30 years ago by Michael Harner, Ph.D., anthropologist, author, teacher, founder of The Foundation For Shamanic Studies, and the pioneer of the revival of shamanism in the “West”. It is a method of spiritual counseling that combines modern audio technology with ancient shamanic problem solving techniques. Its object is to empower people to regain their spiritual autonomy through the practice of the "shamanic journey".

Through the shamanic journey work, the client learns to connect with the divine part of themselves that knows exactly what they need at any given point in their life, and whose compassionate purpose is to bring them gently into wholeness, happiness, fulfillment and grace.

It is safe, private, indoor, one-on-one instruction. If your focus is on self-help and spiritual growth, shamanic counseling may be a good fit for you. No previous shamanic journey experience is necessary.


stone age meets technological age

HSC coaches people in effective journey techniques to safely alter their state of consciousness in order to go “outside of time” to the non-ordinary world where they spontaneously encounter the sacred teachers available to us all. These are the TRUE shamanic counselors. By establishing a trusting relationship with these wise, compassionate helping spirits and becoming proficient in the process of enlisting their help for dealing with important and sensitive life issues, HSC empowers you to use the amazing techniques of shamanic journeying to access these sources of continued trusted advice and healing throughout your life.

HSC employs a method of simultaneous narration and recording of the shamanic journeying that allows the client and counselor to playback the journey together for immediate review and discussion. Noise cancelling headphones, eye covering, and recorded monotonous drumming are used to limit outside distraction and allow for the client’s disciplined focus on the experience.

The HSC practitioner provides personalized help and guidance to overcome any obstacles or blocks. The client will learn effective ways to frame your questions, how to journey, connect with a guardian animal, a human-form spirit teacher, and to form shamanic interpretations.

The HSC practitioner encourages the client to develop a deep trust in their own non-ordinary sources of spiritual wisdom, strength and guidance. It is the practitioner’s job to teach the method, NOT to provide the answers to the client’s questions or offer interpretations of experiences. The practitioner may point out items or experiences of relevance from the journey that the client has overlooked or dismissed, but only as a way to call attention to an area that might bear more exploration on the part of the client; never as a means of offering personal interpretation or explanation.

In the field of Shamanic Counseling, this is likened to “pointing with our elbows”.

The practitioner creates a safe and comfortable place to work, teaches journey techniques, coordinates the use of electronic equipment, and provides encouragement and methodological advice based on their more extensive shamanic experience. 


THE USES of Harner SHamanic Counseling

HSC is a spiritual method, a system of shamanic counseling that follows the ancient principles of shamanism, not of psychology or other Western systems. As a method of spiritual counseling, HSC has at its goal life-enlightenment, not the treatment of psychopathology. It is a problem-solving method for discovering one’s own spiritual power and the wisdom to deal successfully with daily life.

HSC helps to connect people to their own spiritual sources of energy and wisdom to deal with life problems such as health issues including physical, mental and emotional illnesses, inhibitory fears, professional challenges, family discord, love relationships, issues of financial abundance, and end-of-life issues.

Again, it is important to remember that Shamanic Counseling is not psychotherapy and does not replace psychotherapy


how it works & what to bring

The Harner Shamanic Counseling program moves the client through a set of five ever-deepening journey experiences, each building upon those that came before. With each session the client becomes increasingly independent of the counselor as they grow more familiar with the equipment as well as with the method for undertaking a journey for themselves.

The client and counselor will (typically) meet a total of six times. The first meeting is a “getting to know you” where the counselor gains an understanding of the matter the client would like to work through with the method, and any questions the client may have about the work can be discussed. The client will be familiarized with the equipment involved and the generalities of the sessions. In this way, the client and counselor are able to determine if they wish to work together. There is no charge for this first session.

Subsequent sessions will ideally be once weekly for 5 consecutive weeks. This gives enough time for the information gathered to “marinate”, for new ideas and awareness to pop up, while also keeping the client fully engaged in the process. While weekly sessions are ideal, we all know that busy lives can limit our availability, so it is by no means a hard and fast rule. However, due to the successive nature of the program, it is important to keep the momentum going, so a long lag between sessions would diminish the results.

Once you complete the program, you have these tools at your disposal for life.

what you will need

Most importantly, you need to bring along curiosity, the ability to engage in the material with discipline, and a willingness to adopt a beginner’s mind.

The more nuts and bolts things required are:

  • a digital recording device *

  • headphones (over ear, if possible)

  • a journal or notebook & pen or pencil for your personal notes

    * Your journeys are your own. You will have the only copy of all recordings. You will want your own device so that you are able to have the recordings with you for your own review at any time, and also to protect your privacy. Options for the type of recording device that may be used will be discussed at the “getting to know you” meeting.

Any other materials required for the work will be provided to you by the counselor.