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Life & Work with Chris Hancock of Franklin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Hancock.

Hi Chris, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Thank you! I really appreciate this opportunity. Well, I grew up on suburban Long Island. But my father was raised in a small town in South Georgia, so my affinity for the South runs deep! I feel totally at home here. Growing up it was really all about music. So much so that after graduating college, I reunited with old mates and we gave it go up in Boston, MA. We achieved a modicum of success through the 90’s recording two records, one for a major label, and doing a good bit of touring. But the lifestyle and the malarkey of the industry left me cold. I made my exit in 1997 to answer a loudening soul call to something higher. I returned to New York, got into therapy (again), and began taking classes. The first 10 minutes of my very first class in human development showed me I was exactly where I was supposed to be. What a feeling! Rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, spending a few years as a professional musician was a privilege. No regrets. The good, bad, and ugly of it all taught me many priceless things and people and the world I still utilize almost every day in my work. After graduating from NYU with my MSW in 2000, I worked for a few years in outpatient substance abuse and community mental health treatment in NYC before relocating to Nashville in 2002. After a few more years in outpatient child and adolescent psychiatry and adult community mental health settings at Vanderbilt, I started my own practice in 2006/7. I’ve never looked back. Yet, the story hardly ends there.

In 2009 my wife and I began the process of adopting our children from India. While we knew this wouldn’t be fast or easy, we had no idea what we were in for. The beautiful outcome of course justified all the emotional and legal struggle, and the excruciating years-long wait. But the trauma of the process and the ensuing years of being so adrenal fatigued and largely ignoring the signs took a toll. For too long I stayed head-down running my f/t therapy practice in decidedly old models–working harder, not smarter, long days, years-long intensive therapy groups at night, and taking on anyone and everyone who contacted me. Ultimately, this did me no favors and the piper finally showed up for payment. Slowly burning out coincided with rounding the mid-life mark and the onset of an insidious, albeit atypical mid-life crisis. The result was a colossal Dark Night of the Soul/existential, spiritual emergency, and bona fide psychological crisis I should have seen coming but didn’t until fully enveloped by it. Fortunately, I knew of such rites of passage. I knew what to do–surrender, surrender again, and surrender some more– and what not to do (fear, pathologize, medicate, give up on everything). As I navigated this thankfully temporary madness with the help of my tribe and every tool in my arsenal, clarity began to emerge. Slowly I understood this was no accident. And it was right on time. In Jungian and astrological terms, this was my Chiron Return– the true healing and awakening of the archetypal ‘wounded healer.’

Thus began, and continues, my ‘rebirth,’ so to speak, on more levels than one. I experienced some weird, wild, and decidedly mystical turns during the surrender, meditation, and integration process. Higher guidance came online. Spiritual guides, masters, mystics, sages, and multi-dimensional galactic energies would begin connecting with me in my meditations. My head started spontaneously wobbling around in sacred geometrical formations as I sat and communed with these energies, liken to kundalini energetic phenomenon, yet not. And there were spontaneous mediumistic interludes of contact and messages from deceased loved ones. All of this was nothing new to me on paper at least as I’d been a student of world religions, spiritual traditions, and esoteric mystery schools for decades. I just never thought I’d connect personally with the higher realms in such a visceral and dramatic fashion. From there, it became clear that like it or not, I was in an initiation of sorts. And there I remain to this day. I believe I am being prepared to become some type of trance channel.

This process also graced me with an ever-evolving claircognizant (clear knowing) and clairsentient (clear feeling) ability that I now utilize in all aspects of my life, including my work with others. Where it’s all leading, I know not. I only know I’ve never been more grounded, clearer-minded, more fulfilled, at peace, sure of who I am and how I’m here TO SERVE. Although I suspect this will continue to evolve, as well. This led to embracing newer, more modern (and re-discovery of ancient) therapeutic and healing methods I employ today, as well as a ‘rebranding’ to Therapy Outside the Box. More about all this and information about the different services I currently offer can be found on my website: www.therapyoutsidethebox.com.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think I probably covered that in the previous answer, but I’ll add here that every single pain or problem I or another experience is a challenge and opportunity in disguise. Everything is your teacher. The real secret is to embrace this and sit at the feet of your own life and be humbled and taught by it. As Rumi said: “The cure for pain is in the pain.” It’s my pleasure and privilege to utilize through my therapy work all I’ve experienced and learned thus far to assist others in making the same perspective shift and awakening to the highest version of who they really are—to discover their Self.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Since rebranding as Therapy Outside the Box, the essential thing is that what I now offer is rooted in the personal experience of one who genuinely loves people, loves this work, and who has answered the spiritual call to awaken and embrace all that I was always meant to be. This meant letting go of old conditioning, old, tired models, the playbook, and the old limitations either self or socio-culturally imposed as to who or what a mental health professional is supposed to be, and how they’re supposed to do it. While my ethics and integrity remain, of course, the rest has been re-written. You could say that’s where I went astray: in delaying the authentic embracing of all my outside the box weirdness–metaphysically speaking. Spirit had to bring me to my literal and proverbial knees to get me to wake up to the truth I was denying or keeping at bay out of fear. Fear of how I’d be seen, judged, thought crazy, and being unable to support my family. The Dark Night of the Soul/Awakening crisis showed me it was high time to jump and trust the net would appear, and that I would be supported by the highest and holiest if I did my part, claimed, and went forth with all of who I am. And by the grace of God, that’s what’s happened. I now work from home in Franklin, do telehealth-based consults worldwide, and run a waitlist most of the time. Those who are ‘sent’ or magnetically attracted to me these days are by and large the spiritually curious, intrepid explorers, those interested in psychedelic medicine for healing and consciousness expansion, those deconstructing and healing from religious trauma/dogma or abusive ideologies, those wanting to identify and dissolve unconscious energetic blocks, and get to truly know, accept, and bring healing to all ‘parts’ of themselves. My clients these days tend to be perfectly ‘in alignment’ with me and what I offer. I am, as they say down here, truly blessed!

Four different but inter-related pathways of help and healing:

–INTEGRATIVE COUNSELING (A comprehensive, integrative counseling-based approach for a range of human struggles)

–SUPPORT FOR EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE® (SEE) (An assessment, exploratory, support and integration service for those having experienced anything non-ordinary, mystical, or potentially spiritually transformative, as well as for those needing help preparing, setting intentions, and integrating psychedelic or plant medicine healing journey).

–SUBCONSCIOUS HEAL AND RELEASE® (An energy psychology, somatic, and solution-focused-based healing and alignment approach).

-And a creative and transpersonally-oriented application of INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS THERAPY (IFS), a compassionate, trauma-focused, evidence-based, comprehensive approach to bringing healing and harmony to all different parts of our psyche.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role you feel it’s played for you?
I don’t believe in luck in the conventional sense. Then again, as Robert Anton Wilson said: ‘I don’t believe in anything, but I have some seriously strong hunches.’ Kidding aside, I think all roads lead back to intuition and spirituality. So I trust my ‘feels,’ my intuitive sense, synchronicity. I trust the higher guidance I’ve been blessed to connect with. I’ve always seen all closed doors as new and better ones waiting to open. I don’t necessarily subscribe to “everything happens for a reason,” but that there’s a reason for everything–a meaning to be constructed. And that’s mainly up to us individually to assign, interpret, and act upon. If there is anything like a force we call luck, I’d say it surely favors the courageous, the risk-takers, those who take leaps of faith, who dare to travel down the roads less traveled– as long as the path ‘has a heart.’

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