Loving the questions themselves

When you don’t know the answer, try loving the questions themselves.
In appreciation of the journey, Chrystal

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” R. M. Rilke

Holistic psychotherapy in Portland, OR.

Working through depression

Working through depression

Working through depression with Holistic Portland


“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.”
Pema Chödrön


Perhaps depression is our experience of getting stuck between feelings of falling apart and coming together. Perhaps we are so triggered by the falling apart, that the fear of deeper agony, a deeper falling apart, prevents us from allowing the movement of coming together to emerge.

“At least I know what depressed feels like, and while it’s painful I can still function.” What would it be like for us to risk being in the in-between of falling apart and coming together? Making space for our feelings of vulnerability and rawness.

Depression or “feeling depressed” are terms often used to express a range of feelings that are noticeably different from our baseline or regular feelings. Certainly those experiencing clinical depression may “feel depressed” as their baseline. In general, most people experience depression-associated feelings many times through out a lifetime. Like a river cut off from its source, getting stuck in depression cuts us off from experiencing vitality; creating imbalance and stagnation.

Clinically, a depressive mood prompts a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks. Feelings of depression impairs functioning in the social, occupational, relational and self-aware arenas of life. The spectrum of depression spans from mild sadness, disappointment and boredom to darker feelings of despair, hopelessness and suicide. Depression may follow trauma, a sense of loss, or major life transition. One theory is that depression is derived from fear-based anger that has been internalized and held onto.

There are many treatment options for reducing and moving through depression. Holistic psychotherapy will help you uncover the pain and fear that underlies your feelings of depression. Through the process of experiential talk therapy, one practices constructively engaging with the part of oneself that has the strength and clarity to navigate the sea of depression. Learning to manage feelings associated with depression, reduce stress and define triggering symptoms helps one move from hopelessness to hopefulness. Consciously creating an opportunity to practice falling apart and coming back together.

For more information on working with depression visit Holistic Portland.
To schedule a free initial consultation click here or contact me at Chrystal@holisticportland.com.

In honor of holistic living,

Chrystal Nelthropp, MA
Holistic Psychotherapist
Holistic Portland
536 NW 21st Avenue Portland, OR. 97282
(206) 390-6249


Myth and the Hero’s Journey

Holistic Portland

“I think what we are looking for is a way of experiencing the world that will open to us the transcendent that informs it, and at the same time forms ourselves with it.
That is what people want. That is what the should asks for”. J. Campbell

I am caught by mythology.
I am interested in the literature of the spirit. Of stories written and spoken. Stories whose teachings enchant the listener at emotional depths that are felt beyond words. I am drawn to the heritage of stories which speak of eternal values, themes that have informed religions. From ancient times mythology has provided grist for the mill; doorways to working with our inner mysteries.

Stories catch in our minds. They are mirrors reflecting, informing, and shinning guidance towards a clearer understanding of self. Vivifying opportunities for our authentic truth to penetrate and punctuate our day-to-day lives.

“What all humans have in common can be found in myths”(1). We search mythological antiquity for truth, looking for meaning and significance. ” Myths speak to me because they express what I know inside is true”(2).

Mythologies are spoken, read and sung aloud from all over the globe. Like one great story already present in some other system of thought, myth is told from the cultural, linguistic and iconic perspective of the time. “It’s as though the same play were take from one place to another, and at each place the local players put on local costumes and enact the same old play”(3).  In essence, we are all effected by myth. In questioning ourselves, we face the mirror of personal myth – an accumulation intrapersonal self understanding learned through stories, beliefs, and practices that effect the ego and psyche. The personal myth is healed within a larger container of the cultural myth. The cultural myth presents a larger view of the world, cosmos and culture. Through which we derive knowing of our place in the natural world and in our larger purpose. The message within myth is a vehicle for inspiration, as well as a cultural framework for educating ourselves and others through different stages of life.

“What is your myth, the myth in which you live?” C. Jung

Derived from the patterns found in myth, Joseph Campbell created a transformation strategy called the Hero’s Journey. According to Campbell, a hero is one who has given their life over to something bigger then themselves. The hero embarks on cycles of going out and returning through a series of internal and/or external adventures. Going beyond their ordinary life to recover what is lost and discover life-giving opportunities. Fundamental psychological transformations occur through this process. “The basic motif of the universal hero’s journey is leaving one’s condition, and finding the source of life to bring your truth into a richer or more mature condition”(4). A journey where one moves out of the conventional safety of what is known to allow for a greater expansion of self.

Myth offers a transformation of consciousness; by trials, illuminating revelations, redemption and achievement. The hero sacrifices themselves for something intrinsic, something valuable – for the self, community, world. As an interpersonal opportunity to look within, the hero’s journey asks the hero to face what is stuck (thoughts, beliefs, feelings, practices, patterns). Hearing the call of adventure, the hero gets to confront parts of themselves. Choosing to take the journey, the hero faces a series of stages.

The Hero’s Journey stages are aligned in a cycle flowing clockwise.
The following are the stages in order:
Call to adventure, finding supernatural aid, meeting threshold guardians, passing through the first threshold, finding mentors and helpers, going through challenges and temptations, meeting more helpers, experiencing the abyss, death and dying of old patterns, redemption and rebirth, transformation, atonement, returning through the second threshold, receiving a ‘gift’ to bring back and the integration back into day-to-day reality. Returning from the journey, the hero is challenged to integrate their learning  into their day-to-day world. The hero’s journey then becomes a symbolic manifestation of character. With the environmental and internal landscapes matching ones readiness. Evoking a quality of character one may not have known they possessed.

The challenge is to head the call of adventure, and take the journey. To move past a “sociological stagnation of inauthentic lives and living that has settled upon us. That evokes nothing of our spiritual live, our potentiality and even physical courage”(5). To move past what is stuck in our lives. To leave the old way of living which no longer serves our greatest vision of life and go on the quest of discovering a new way. A quest of a new idea, a seed to germinate new ways of living. The old is not forgotten in the journey, but is released and experienced as wisdom. Through the process, breathe is breathed back into the old dry bones, and the ruins and relics of what we know instinctually and ancestrally are remembered.

I invite you to hear your call of adventure. Listen for it. Noticing if you want to head toward the call, or run away. Perhaps the journey you need for today is in permitting yourself to stay behind. It may be permission to step intentionally towards the call. Perchance the you are already underway on your hero’s journey, and you may take time today to notice how that feels. All noticing is knowledge.

May you be the hero of your own myth.

Chrystal Nelthropp
Holistic Psychotherapist at Holistic Portland

For more information and to schedule a session please contact me at: Chrystal@holisticportland.com or through my website at Holisticportland.com

(1, 2) Bill Moyer. The Power of Myth. (3,4,5) Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth.





What is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?

Experiencing the sacred

in daily, ordinary life

and in the conscious

which most people live.


I find that the transpersonal experience, is profound and difficult to explain. That to  make it accessible and understandable for everyone is difficult. Below is a brief description of Transpersonal Psychotherapy. More than trying to capture it’s exact essence, I hope to plant seeds of understanding and provide openings for further questions. If you would like to connect with me further on Transpersonal Psychotherapy, please contact me here

Blessings to you,


Transpersonal Psychotherapy

Transpersonal Psychotherapy can be understood as the melding of wisdom from the spiritual traditions with the exploration of modern psychology. Exploring fundamental questions, such as “who am I?” through therapeutic, religious, spiritual and cultural motivations. The transpersonal psychotherapeutic answer to the question of “who am I” is to look deep within. Developing the personality (personal) while honoring the urge to go beyond (trans) what we know of the self. In moving beyond the confines of this known sense of who we are, our consciousness expands and opens to ranges of experiences. Conscious is seen to be a vast, multidimensional existence where new aspects of being are manifested. Transpersonal psychotherapy enlarges the vision of modern psychotherapy to include a wider lens of the co-participatory nature of personal psychological history and one’s view of physical daily reality.

Beyond the persona.

The etymology of transpersonal is trans and persona.
Trans: above and beyond ordinary consciousness.
Persona: the way one behaves, talks, etc., the image or personality that a person presents to other.

Through relationship with others

Transpersonal psychotherapy is an approach to understanding the way our
minds operate through relationship with others and self. Coming to an awareness of the bigger and deeper space that exists between all things and us. Transpersonal is seen as a panoramic psychotherapy with additional awareness in aspects perinatal and transpersonal domains. Perinatal – related to birth, and transpersonal – comprising ancestral, racial, collective, karmic experiences, myth and archetypal dynamics.

What is Mindfulness and Contemplative Psychotherapy?

Deep within the human spirit,
Largely severed from its ancient moorings,
There is a new search unfolding.
For a larger vision of the human journey,
That includes all the different sides of our nature.

John Welwood

Mindfulness and Contemplative Psychotherapy

Mindfulness and contemplative psychotherapy asserts that our basic nature is characterized by clarity, openness and compassion. In practice, our awareness moves beyond the boundaries of our conditioned personality structure; and often breaks through into consciousness only when that structure is thoroughly flushing out. We are no longer courting our old, reactive subconscious patterns. Through compassion, we process feelings arising from the challenge of awakening to one’s larger nature.

Psychology of awakening

Mindfulness and contemplative psychotherapy bridges individual and interpersonal psychology. Connecting 2,500-year-old wisdom traditions of Buddhism, and the clinical traditions of Humanistic western psychotherapy a path awakening emerges. This means that we all have within ourselves natural dignity and wisdom. This wisdom may be temporality covered, or unknown to us due to symptoms of suffering, disease, patterns of behavior, but nonetheless, it is there and may be cultivated. Mindfulness and contemplative psychotherapy recognizes the sanity within even the most confused and disoriented states of mind.

The increasingly precarious state of our planet and its inhabitants is calling on us to wake up, reevaluate how we are living, and align ourselves with a larger sacred vision of human life.

John Welwood

Used daily, I practice mindfulness to support clarity and wellbeing in my life. It serves as a foundation for the ways in which I relate to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As a practice, mindfulness promotes spaciousness and ease. I feel more grounded and able to flow with what is arising, as opposed to reacting to the moment. As I react less, I am more able to create a life that reflects who I truly am.

If you would like to explore mindfulness and contemplative psychotherapy as it relates to your life, or would like more information contact me. You can reach me at holistiportland.com

In peace.



Continue reading

What is holistic psychotherapy?

Taking a pause to experience the beauty of the present moment.

Taking a pause
to experience the beauty of the present moment.

“What is holistic psychotherapy?”

As you can imagine, I am often asked to define holistic psychotherapy. It’s a great question. One that I’m happy to share with you here.

Below is a short and sweet working definition of the term. I say working definition, because like any science, psychological theories are always expanding. Following their own holistic pattern, the theories I use deepen and shift with time and practice.  In general, I follow a humanistic, client centered and integrated therapeutic approach to providing care.

Holistic psychotherapy addresses mental, emotional, physical and spiritual development as an integrated whole. Holistic psychotherapy views distress resulting from outdated psychological patterns as opportunities for clarity and change. Experienced differently within each person, psychological patterns pave enduring cognitive, emotional and behavioral pathways that may negatively effect one’s ongoing adaptations to life. In additional to being experienced through thoughts, feelings and behaviors, a sense of disconnect can be felt physically and spiritually. Feeling stuck, or ambivalent, these pathways effect our inner experience of self, and our experience of relationship and the world around us.

Behavior, thoughts and feelings that at one time served to protect us, no longer fit. Working with these patterns therapeutically, one finds relief and movement. Creating flow where there was once a block.

Holistic psychotherapy promotes self awareness and intention to create change. Through discussion, psychological interventions, somatic inquiry, and mindfulness one is encouraged to move through and release cycles of maladaptive behavior. Emotional insatiability, stress, fatigue and spiritual disconnect fall aside as life begins to have a greater sense of balance and ease. Learning to develop one’s own personal self-care system, pathways to inner resilience are developed and enhanced. Through this resilience a sense of basic goodness arises for one’s own process. One learns to identify where they came from, who they are, and becomes available to exploring who they would like to be.

To integrate body, mind, soul discovery into practice, I use theories from Gestalt Psychotherapy, Mindfulness and Contemplative Psychotherapy, and Transpersonal Psychotherapy disciplines. For more information on these therapies click here.

If you have questions regarding the psychological journey, or would like assistance exploring your path to wellness, contact me today at holisticportland.com.

Warmly, Chrystal



The only reason…


The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. Pema Chodron

Looking into who we are can be a powerful opportunity for insight and change.