Dr. Susan Allison--the author of four highly regarded books, Conscious Divorce, Ending a Marriage with Integrity (Three Rivers Press); Breathing Room (Park Place), Empowered Healer: Gain the Confidence, Power and Ability to Heal Yourself (Balboa Press), Our Spirits Dance, Poetry of Soul Mates (Many Names Press), and now the new, You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven, Visit Spirit Realms, Gain Insight and Enrich Your Life (Red Wheel/Weiser). Dr. Allison has always focused on her readers’ empowerment and their conscious transformation and evolution. Her recent poetry anthology transcends the other books in its focus on the unity and merging of souls in a spiritual and passionate union. She inspires readers to open their hearts fully and to love more deeply, which takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable and authentic.
From childhood Allison wrote poetry, short stories and plays, and has continued to write poetry and songs into adulthood. She can write nonfiction as skillfully as she does poetry, but says they come from different parts of us: “ Writing non-fiction is a very linear and intellectual process for me, whereas poetry and songs come from a deeper or more intuitive place, perhaps from a muse or my heart and gut. Writing a poem is bestdone when my brain is asleep or resting, and my inner self is awake and wanting to create.”
Allison has a long history as a spiritual seeker, and has combined her more esoteric, mystical path with a more traditional one in the field of transpersonal psychology. Called to help others in their struggle for a stable, happy and healthy life, Allison earned a master’s degree in
Counseling Psychology in 1990. But she immediately felt the need to expand her knowledge. First she trained in Process Therapy, which plays an important role in the second step in the Empowered Healing program. Process Therapy is a dynamic method in which clients act out their feelings, shout, hit pillows, speak to imagined people in empty chairs, reenact scenes from the past that need healing and closure, and release stored emotions from their minds and bodies.
In 1994, she was certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy, which is vital to the first step in becoming an Empowered Healer. She discovered that progress increased when her clients relaxed, went into trance and then processed their feelings with the people they visualized. She next trained in the Plains Indian vision quest tradition and Hawaiian shamanism, studying shamanic trance and shamanic extraction. She began leading shamanic journey workshops and using shamanic trance with individual clients. One day while working with a client who had physical symptoms, she had him relax into a hypnotic state, and then employed a shamanic trance to help him imagine journeying into his own body. Then, through Process Therapy, the client visualized his pain as an entity, dialogued with it and learned why it was there. Allison guided him to extract the entity—after which all pain disappeared--and thus was born the third step in her healing process.
Subsequently, after learning all of these modalities, Allison began an exploration of energy healing, becoming a Reiki Master and Reconnective Healing Practitioner. Energy medicine became the final step in her four-part healing process that she writes about in her text Empowered Healer.
Allison ultimately went on to earn her doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology and has been honored as a “Woman of the Year” in California for her counseling work with adolescents, but today her practice is more about helping clients empower and birth themselves into a new way of being and living. Allison uses some cognitive and behavioral techniques in her therapy practice, and adds to these, hypnotic and shamanic trance work to help clients explore the deeper, root causes of their issues. Allison sees the whole person as not just a being with mental ability, but someone with a body and spirit. She believes in the ancient Hawaiian view, that we actually have three souls, a body soul, a mental soul and a spiritual soul that can each be listened to and followed, and can be in sync with one another for ultimate wholeness.
She has studied with many brilliant teachers and shamans, and one of the greatest avatars in her life has been her own husband. As a practicing Buddhist, successful poet, novelist and historian, her husband, Thomas Hickenbottom taught Allison to write Haiku and prose poetry, to use image not adjective, to write from her gut instead of her head, and has helped her become a more compassionate and loving person. Thomas and Susan fell in love at first sight, recognized one another and felt an ancient and familiar bond right away. They were and are “twin flames” that felt spiritually and physically connected even when apart. They could read each other’s minds and felt intense energy between them that carried them out of body. The poems in Our Spirits Dance, Poetry of Soul Mates, arranged in chronological order and tell the story of their soul mated love over nineteen years. Allison’s husband Thomas passed away in 2013, and she has honored his wish that she finish and publish their book of love poems. It is a tribute to him and to all readers who want to experience profound connection. Our Spirits Dance goes beyond Allison’s books on healing, to model what it is to experience the highest form of love, love that is both spiritual and physically passionate. This latest book inspires readers to love their partner more deeply, and if not in a relationship, to better understand soul mated love and how to attract such a union.
Currently, Allison works with individuals and groups in a variety of capacities, but always with the intent of bringing about transformation, whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual. Her passion for service is reflected in all her books, and in Our Spirits Dance, she models how to have a soul-mated relationship. Her greatest joy comes from helping individuals feel more empowered, transformed and fulfilled, and Our Spirits Dance does this beautifully. When she is not writing or working with clients, she enjoys a peaceful life in Santa Cruz, California.