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Terra Wise

Healing Through Hearing

by Elizabeth Schwyzer

Terra Wise “A woman’s belief in reproductive
freedom doesn’t negate her desire for insight and her right to
healing following an abortion,” saidTerra Wise, a certified
counselor, therapist, and body worker who calls herself a midwife
for the soul. For more than 20 years, Wise has worked as an ally
for women and couples facing pregnancy issues, as well as those who
have terminated a pregnancy. “In our culture, there’s more shame
about abortion than about nuclear weapons,” she said. “My aim is to
provide support for women to speak about their abortion experiences
without shame or blame.”

Wise’s background in healing work includes six years of study
with Cherokee medicine men, training in clinical hypnotherapy and
rape crisis counseling, and certification as a women’s
self-defense, qigong, and yoga teacher. Working as a counselor in
Toronto, she noticed more and more women approaching her with
stories of abortion. After moving to San Francisco in 1999, Wise
focused her healing work on this issue, taking out newspaper ads
for her services. “People called saying, ‘I’m so glad you’re doing
this, this is so needed,’” Wise said. What surprised her most were
the varied ages, ethnicities, and social, political, and religious
backgrounds of those who responded. She remembered receiving a call
from a woman in her seventies who had undergone an illegal abortion
decades earlier. “She held her feelings inside for a lifetime while
people told her she would burn in hell,” Wise recalled. “She cried
and cried on the phone — she was already healing just by knowing I
existed.”

Now in Santa Barbara, Wise continues her practice with
individuals and groups, and leads seminars for healthcare
professionals. She’s also working on a book. “I think this is right
on the edge of becoming mainstream,” she said. “Dr. [Andrew] Weil
and Deepak Chopra are writing about the connection between the
physical body and the emotions — this isn’t just new age, woo-woo
thinking.” The real solution, she believes, is to support women in
pursuing their deepest desires. “Women want to feel filled up,”
Wise said. “The key is to fill up not with sex or babies, drugs or
food, but with your own essence — what makes you feel productive
and content, wherever there’s a sense of excitement and meaning. My
work is about empowering women to know themselves and find what
will fill them so they are always enriched by themselves and in a
place of balance.”

4·1·1 Terra Wise will lead a public workshop,
“Unbiased, Integrative Post-Abortion Healing,” on Saturday, October
28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the S.B. Body Therapy Institute, 516
North Quarantina Street, and a weekend intensive workshop for
therapists on January 6 and 7, 2007. For more information, call
275-1803 or visit terrawise.net.

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