The Access Health Therapy Logo is a symbol with meaning. Chosen for its simplicity along with the adequate and poignant connotation attached to it.
It is of West African origin, known as an Adinkra symbol. As in most cultures, the use of symbols predates the written language and Adinkra Symbols are still taught for cultural awareness today.
The common story is of a King named Adinkra that was defeated and captured for copying the design of a Golden Stool which was representative of absolute power. His wife began to wear dresses with the symbols woven or dyed into the cloth to demonstrate her sorrow. This tradition continues predominantly with the Asante peoples of Ghana a former empire before colonial times.
The symbol is called EPA in the Twi language of Ghana; it is representative of two links to a chain or a set of cuffs. In the original language which often has a proverbial meaning for symbols, it is explained as “Onii a ne pa da wonsa no, na n’akoa ne wo.” This translates to English as: “You are a slave to the one whose handcuffs you are wearing.”
When I first saw this translation, It reminded of a song that I have always liked “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” This was, of course, a song from the late great Bob Marley who very likely had ancestral roots with the region the symbol hails from.
In therapy, I often find that the current problems a client faces in the present are rooted in the past and that to be free of the problem that has brought them to my therapy room, we must remove the mental chains that are being carried. I often explain this to clients as throughout their lives every unresolved problem, trauma or painful experience has left a lasting mark on them. If they see these past events as links in a chain, some small some very large, it is not difficult to understand how the sheer weight of the chains makes progression in life difficult as the burdens continue to grow heavier with each unsavoury occurrence they experience.
Generally, many sessions aim to identify the deep-rooted emotion that is causing a negative belief, behaviour or emotional response, this is not always easy to find and can take some careful probing into the clients past, being ever mindful that to re-experience the past in many cases could be counterproductive. After identification then we work to find a way to resolve the past and release the bonds we struggle to carry in the present. It is common to hear that “it feels like a great weight has lifted off my shoulders” or “I feel like I could fly”, “I have slept deeper and longer than I have in years.”
It is never easy to release the mental chains we put on ourselves. A commonly used sentence I offer for my clients when experiencing an Abreaction or a state of catharsis (the expression and emotional discharge of unconscious material) would be “This is pain and suffering leaving the body; tears are the physical manifestation of that pain.” It is not always easy for clients to accept the tears. Tears are associated with sorrow and sadness by many, but can just as easily be tears of joy or in the therapy room tears of freedom, in a play on the Twi word for the symbol: Emancipating Past Antagonists and of letting go forever.
Adrian J Basford
Practitioner Access Health therapy