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Symbol Therapy

by Tara Ulli Springett(more info)

listed in psychospiritual, originally published in issue 75 - April 2002


Five years ago I had an experience that would change my outlook on how to solve personal problems forever. I was sitting in a talk by my Buddhist teacher when suddenly symbol therapy popped up in my mind so fresh, elaborated and clear that at first I assumed I had read it in a book and was just remembering it. However, despite not finding it in any of my books, I didn't hesitate to try it on a longstanding emotional problem of mine and I found almost immediate relief. The same happened when I asked a few friends to try this first form of symbol therapy on one of their issues: everybody had a significant decrease in suffering within two weeks by thinking of their symbol for just four minutes each day. I was amazed, but at that point I did not realize that three years later I would have collected hundreds of case studies of people who have worked on all sorts of emotional and physical problems with results that ranged from significant to amazing and in some cases even miraculous.

Love Heart

What had led up to this point? I had been a trained and accredited counsellor for ten years before I discovered symbol therapy. I had been working for many years with people who suffered from addictions, eating disorders, co-dependency and all sorts of other neuroses. However, as the years went by I grew more and more impatient because I couldn't help my clients as quickly and reliably as I wished to. I have to admit that sometimes I felt I was just stirring the 'brown soup' of their problems without really knowing how to lead them out of their misery once and for all. What's more, I myself had not been able to solve all of my own problems. Although I had made great progress in my personal development, I suffered from an inexplicable sadness that just wouldn't go away, no matter what kind of method I tried and how much I meditated. I have been an enthusiastic practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for 17 years and for several years I had made prayers to find more efficient therapeutic methods that I could teach my clients as self-help tools and which would also bring relief from my own problem. I feel that the result of these prayers came to me in the form of the symbol therapy method.

Ever since, I have dropped almost my entire repertoire of therapeutic tools because symbol therapy does the job much more efficiently and, what's more, without any pain. With symbol therapy there is no digging in the past, no release of painful emotions and no healing crisis. My clients usually spend much fewer hours with me than they would have done in the past because they quickly learn to use this method themselves and are able to progress on their own. In many cases, people don't even need to see a practitioner at all. They can simply learn symbol therapy from the book I have written and use it to solve any problem - big or small - that is bothering them and stands in the way of leading a completely happy life.

How Does Symbol Therapy Work?

The core of the practice is to make contact with your own higher consciousness (in whatever form you perceive it) and ask it for a healing symbol to overcome your problem for the best of all beings. It is not difficult to receive such a symbol and I have never had a client who was unable to get one, including a lady of 76 who had never meditated before. Once you have received your symbol you need to think or visualize it in your own heart in a certain way for just four minutes a day. That's all! The solution to your problem will either come to you on its own accord or you will be guided to a book or a person that will give you the insights and help you need.

In the vast majority of cases, people simply get better. I have seen anxiety melting away, chronic pain decreasing dramatically and people getting over longstanding loneliness in a matter of weeks. I have witnessed how people with depression found new hope and how craving for alcohol simply stopped. I always ask my clients to measure their suffering on a scale of 1 to 10 (0 is no suffering at all and 10 is utter desperation) before they start symbol therapy and to do the same two weeks later. The minimum improvement I found was approximately 35% within the first two weeks, for example when somebody suffered 5 on the scale (medium-sized problem) and went down to 3 (little more than a niggle). If people go on working with symbol therapy they can usually bring down any suffering to 0 or 1 on the scale within a few weeks or months. But in many cases the improvements are even more impressive.

Case Examples

1. Ellen had suffered from low self-esteem almost all her adult life. She had had numerous years of therapy and self-help groups but she still found activities like collecting her children from school intensely frightening and she measured 7 on the scale of suffering. Ellen didn't believe in symbol therapy - in fact she was quite sceptical and she was even ambivalent about having instant results because it would make all the years of therapy she had had before look like a waste of time and money. However, despite Ellen's doubts she dropped from 7 to 1 on the scale of suffering within two weeks and to 0 two weeks further on. Ellen couldn't ever remember being free of her self-consciousness and self-loathing in her whole life.

2. It is also very interesting to use symbol therapy for problems to do with relationships. I discovered that symbol therapy works and changes both people involved even if only one person practises symbol therapy and even if the other person doesn't know about it. A friend of mine taught her nine-year-old daughter to practise symbol therapy and the girl wanted to use this simple method to get over the problems she had with her mother's new partner. After a short time the girl, the mother and the new partner (who didn't know about any of this) agreed that things had improved dramatically. My friend was of course over the moon.

3. Another woman was frustrated in her marriage and she was particularly exasperated about the fact that her husband was unemployed and that he didn't take care of his health. She asked for a healing symbol to overcome her own frustration with her spouse and - lo and behold! - after two weeks her husband had found himself a job and had made an appointment with a homeopath.

If you are now wondering whether this is magic or clever manipulation, I can tell you it is neither. Symbol therapy is not a means to manipulate other people secretly because its working comes directly from your higher consciousness, which always works in the best interests of everybody involved. I have had several cases of parent-child and man-woman relationships improving dramatically.

4. On a more mundane level, I have even heard about one case where somebody was totally exasperated with their builder who had promised many times to finish a piece of work but had never turned up. After four days of practising symbol therapy the builder came along on his own accord and finished the job without any further delay. As you can see, symbol therapy is as good for the big issues in life as well as the many frustrating little niggles we normally have to endure without knowing any way to solve them.

5. In some cases symbol therapy can also work as a catalyst, which means that people are guided to sources of help and inspiration in order to find relief from their problems. Several people have told me how they suddenly found a treatment for their chronic illness that brought relief after many years of unsuccessful trials to sort out their problem.

6. In another case, a woman who was very ill but too poor to pay for proper medical care received totally surprisingly free cranial treatment worth many thousands of pounds after practising symbol therapy for a few weeks.

Of course I can't prove that all these amazing outcomes are merely due to the practice of symbol therapy. All I can say is that these kinds of things keep happening to my clients and that they all get better, in one way or another.

Once people have sorted out their own lives they usually want to know whether they can use symbol therapy to help others. The answer is yes! Because symbol therapy comes from the higher consciousness that we all share, there is no danger of manipulating other people against their will.

7. One mother told me how relieved she was when her baby finally slept through after a few sessions of symbol therapy.

8. Another woman I know has a little boy who developed a chronic and life-threatening disease. After she learnt about symbol therapy, she, her husband and another friend all practised symbol therapy for her son who was in hospital at the time. The boy made such a rapid recovery that it amazed his doctors and he has remained stable ever since. It is interesting to note that this little boy had already been prayed for over several years in three prayer circles.

I personally like to think about symbol therapy as a particularly effective form of prayer. But, at the end of the day, I can't really explain all these wonderful results and they continue to amaze and humble me.

A New Dynamic

It is still quite common for people to assume that one has to unearth the traumas of the past in order to heal present problems. However, I have observed that focusing on the problem and trying to find its cause usually makes the problem worse because anything we focus on becomes bigger. So, if we talk about and analyse our problem for many hours, it usually increases. This dynamic is a real dilemma in traditional counselling. When I discovered and developed symbol therapy I found that we don't need to find the cause of a problem in order to solve it, we 'just' need to find its solution. And this is where the higher consciousness can help. Even people who are not spiritual can access their higher consciousness by thinking of it as the part of their mind that is more loving and wise than their everyday consciousness. By accessing the wisdom of our higher consciousness we can bypass the emotional upheaval of making the unconscious material of our problems conscious again and go straight for the solution to whatever is bothering us. People need to be active in this process and follow up any idea that comes to their mind about how their problem can be solved. Usually they hit the nail on the head within the first few trials.

Symbol therapy is very easy to practise, totally safe and can be used by anybody who feels inspired by this method.


Here are some quotes from my clients about the working of symbol therapy:

* Monica, 33 years, working on the problem of a very distressing relationship: "This method really works like a miracle."
* Sarah, 47 years, married to an alcoholic husband and struggling with many fears: "It is amazing what I have achieved in just four months given all the years of therapy I've had before."
* Ellen, 37 years, who had a strong social phobia for as long as she can remember and 15 years of therapy: "After working with symbol therapy for only four weeks I am totally free of symptoms which has never happened before in all my life."
* John, 65 years, alcoholic: "I don't even think about alcohol any more and I haven't had a sip since I started symbol therapy half a year ago."
* Richard, 55 years, college lecturer, counsellor and meditation teacher: "For the past 25 years I have practised many forms of personal development and healing. If I were sent to a desert island and I were allowed only two methods to take with me they would be meditation and symbol therapy."
* Maureen, 43 years, Reiki master: "Finally something that works."


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About Tara Ulli Springett

Tara Ulli Springett holds an MA in education and has postgraduate qualifications in psychotherapy. She is the author of Symbol Therapy - Access Your Higher Consciousness to Solve Your Emotional and Physical Problems (Piatkus Books, September 2001). Ulli has worked many years as a counsellor and Buddhist meditation teacher and has written two further self-help books - Make your Dreams come true - The Art of Wish-Practice (Piatkus Books)published in 2002 and Soulmate Relationships (Piatkus Books) published in 2003. Ulli is available for sessions, talks and workshops and can be contacted on Tel: 01435 874744 or

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