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Arnie and Amy Mindell's home page

A 1995 interview with Arnie and another in 1990.

The Spiritual Art of Therapy by Amy. Both on deep democracy.

All sourced from Bill Kirns' page

WORKING WITH EXTREME STATES

Quoted from in full from http://www.gestaltinstitute.com.au/articles/0601mindell_lecture.shtml for readers in rural and remote Canada and Australia with poor internet connection

Severe Diseases and Individuation Lecture by Arnold Mindell, Ph.D. Huston Texas, July 1984

I am saying again for the purposes of the tape, because you never know where these tapes go afterwards, that what I am going to discuss with you this evening is not a recommendation of how to work with people who are severely sick. It's one possibility and to apply any of this particular type of material, a lot of training is needed. So, especially working with people who are severely ill, I want to put a grain of salt on top of what I am going to say and that it is not methods or things that I am simply going to try and not a prescription. What probably is possible to guess is what the future of psychotherapy and body-work and Jungian Psychology is likely to look like (or one angle of it) in the next 10-15 years. This is one lecture that has cost me more thought than anything that I have ever prepared in the past and because it brings up as many questions as it answers.

The title of the lecture is Severe Diseases and Individuation. I am going to see if we can develop what we have been talking about the last couple of nights to the point to where we can apply Jungian Psychology in extreme cases in life for people who are really blocked or dying and see what the implications are for the living as well, in healthy people. I am just going to mention that the first lecture that I gave, for the sake of completeness, was developing bodywork from Jung's ideas and psychology, his final point view, the concept that is located in alchemy and his belief in the individual process.

Last night as you may recall, we were talking about childhood dreams in the connection with chronic body problems and today during the exercise some of you discovered how some of the old time problems are still with you even though you thought about them and worked on them. Lots of history is still located in your shoulders and that the momentary situation that you are experiencing is organised probably by your personal myth ­ the child who dreams.

It's funny, this lecture began about a year and a half ago when one of my dying patients said to me, she turned over in bed about half an hour before she was supposed to die, everybody was ready to say goodbye to her, she rolled over in bed and said, "You know inspite of the fact that everybody has done as much as they can for me something is missing." I went outside and I walked down the hospital corridor and I just about threw up. "What the hell is going on, why did she say that? What have we missed."? And I got the intelligent idea of going back and asking her "What?" The idea that the client knows something is like something that flips all therapists' mind. I hate to say it but it is true. And then she says to me "You didn't push." I thought now, what is the relationship between direct confrontation, interaction and severe diseases and states?. So I decided to review more or less everything that I knew. That was like a background to this lecture.

Until now the governing paradigm for my own work has been Jung's concept of individuation. I want to tell you briefly some of the things he said about it and the things we have learned about it to now. Individuation is in terms of what we have been doing is realisation of your childhood dreams. Coming to grips with these allies and demons and figures and early childhood experiences. Empirically they found in analysis that Individuation is a confrontation with the childhood dream. However you like to make that, whether it is physical, through relationships, through all the different channels. Jung said that his definition of individuation was the path of wholeness. He also said that it is an integration of conscious and unconscious and he said that it is the process of realising the self. That is what he wrote and also Von Franz told me one day when she was walking down the street with Jung in Zurich and she said, "What is individuation for you really? What does it mean for you now?" He said, "Dam don't you know yet?. It is just becoming a stone.!"

Now she had done all her alchemical studies with him so she knew what that was about and what I think he meant was that the stone is just something special, solid, within itself and very individual. With two stones it is hard to see if they are the same, of course polished stones can be made the same. In nature they very rarely look similar. Now what has happened to the problem of individuation or the definition of individuation is that people try to look individuated and it's the inevitable problem that happens with all psychologies is that first the leader has a great idea and the followers dogmatise it and the later followers start to argue because they like following the dogmas instead of the leader.

This is not just a Jungian problem; people all over the world are trying to look enlightened and individuated. It is a big problem actually. I've also worked with disciples from gurus and Zen masters and so on. Everybody wants to be enlightened and whole, and depending upon the given theology or psychology or religion that someone is coming from, people are trying to be together in their own inimitable way and aren't. So the question is "What really is Individuation?" What is the difference between looking whole, which in America means "cool". The European has a different concept of wholeness. The whole European is ultimately "civilised". That for him is like the height of personal growth, the head goes up and the eyes are looking forward. The American tries to be cool. Not emotional. Somebody who has affects but not emotions.

I tried to rethink and to redefine individuation and also to take into consideration a lot of body states that one sees. This is the notion of congruence. That means that what you're feeling and saying are relatively the same but you're not tired and acting spontaneous. That you are not feeling spontaneous and acting tired but whatever you are feeling and acting are some how coming together. That is a moment-to-moment congruity that is useful in thinking how developed the person is. You can see somebody who is really congruent, who has a stomach ache inside of himself, that is very impressive. We are inevitably touched by somebody who is really together.

Another way of looking at individuation in a more complex way in some senses, also in a more inquiring way, is that it has to do with awareness. I want to define awareness in two ways, two very separate ways. One is short-term awareness and the other is long-term awareness. Long term awareness is a thing that Jung was masterful at in his work with alchemy and dream work and so he was able to take somebody's dream and show the great overview of life, this is the meaning of your life, this is the direction and you can see what is happening and so that basic long term awareness and the significance of why you are living. To be in contact with the meaning of life, he stressed the meaning so much and that was why he was in love with the I ­Ching of Richard Wilhelm (ed.).

Short-term awareness is to do with signal awareness. It is relatively a new kind of awareness especially in the West and has to do with where you're at this given instant, this very instant. It connects with long-term awareness but in developing it, it is very separable. What are your cheeks doing are they hanging or are they up? Are your shoulders forwards or backwards? Q: Can you tell me where is short-term awareness especially important in your life? And also where is long-term awareness important. Let's start with short-term awareness. Where is short-term awareness essential? Where do you use it? The ability to be in contact with what you are feeling while sitting viz a viz with somebody you are having trouble with is like amazing!. It has wonderful effects that you can bring your unconscious in then and there and not continue to act like you are doing one thing while feeling something different. It has a marvellous affect on relationships.

What is an example of where long term awareness could be really useful? Planning your life. What should be the next step in my life? Also near death, also at the age 15-25 where most people are making long range plans. The advantage in defining or thinking about individuation in terms of how aware you are of your short term things and long term plans, the advantage is that as far as body things are concerned it makes it possible to understand where symptoms come from. One useful way of thinking of symptoms is that they are information from your dream world that are coming up and not finding enough expression for some reason or another, block or it can't quite reach the surface so there you see the relationship between individuation and illness. Being ill means that you have a lot of dreaming happening that it is having its problems coming over the threshold to awareness. One way of looking at an illness is that you are in great luck.

As I have said several times, there are a lot of things trying to happen to you and it is possible that some of your awareness is blocked. That is why all of us are ill at one time or another. I am really just about ready to get this awareness, after all of my experiences, (I must have now seen thousands of people) that I am on the verge of really taking the word 'illness' and doing something with it. I don't know what, throw it out the window and put a new word in there. I haven't gotten to that point yet and I don't know what it is going to be but something that brings up the agony and the pain in it and also the information that is buried.

Also this idea that the information that is coming up that has blocked the awareness shows why very frequently relationship problems go along with illnesses. Because when you get sick something can't quite reach the surface and simultaneously that since information can't come up, the information is usually found in another person. You are usually projecting the thing that is trying to come up onto the other person or the environment. So relationship difficulties are almost always tied up with body problems. Now I am going to tell you the four very specific types of blocks that I have come across behind symptoms and behind terminal illnesses and then I am going to describe to you four or five cases and I am going to ask you to see if you can locate these blocks in these particular case stories.

The first block to awareness that comes up frequently or you could say the first individuation block if you like is fear. Fear of your childhood dreams. Do you remember the woman I talked about last night, Marge?. In her dream, she has this witch chasing her. One of the things that have blocked her from integrating that witch is terror. A lot of people are afraid to see anything. Strangely enough especially men. Men are supposed to be stronger sex, at least up to 20 years ago, but men are especially afraid to look at certain things. Women also have their fears but men are afraid of awareness. I am talking in generalities. Terrified of really feeling something. This is one of the reasons, and one of the reasons that body stuff is very exciting and still very split from the main trends in psychology is not because of simple cultural prejudices, it is because people are terrified of what they are liable to feel. When you finally and really feel, it is rare that anything really terrifying happens. Fear of a childhood dream, fear of feeling something inside. That is why you can't just say to people you should get into bodywork.I usually respect the kind of client who says "I can't do it, it is not for me, don't touch me." There is a lot of fear in there and there are reasons for it.

Another block is self-hatred, believe it or not. Everybody will know about this. People turn off their feelings because they hate themselves. This is how this works. You have heard this several times when your friends or partner, somebody says: "well you are not a good girl, (like a mother figure), you are not a good girl today". However, you are feeling like a good girl "but you are not a good girl" says the parental figure. This is something that frequently comes out of symptom work "you are not a good girl" or "you are not a good boy" or "you are not really the way you think you are". Or, an analyst who is a little 'off base' might slip and say to you "You are not really the person that you think you are". What happens inside is that your whole perception system flips. You begin to put your own perceptions aside. That is already the beginning of a problem. You think that you are so stupid and think that you are so worthless or you think the other person is better than you and you take your perception and put it aside. That is the second block.

The third is that a lot of the information that comes up out of the body and out of dreams sets you into an identity crisis. You are afraid or are in terror at really looking closely and becoming aware of what is going on inside of you because if you do you are going to have to become something that you are not in the moment and that you don't want. Better put a filter in front. And finally the fourth and the worst of the blocks in my opinion is the weakness of the signal. You see this frequently in childhood dreams where a figure appears and you can't quite see it or you will have a dream that you just can't quite remember. I call that a block for academic purposes. I don't know if it really is a block. It is what Jung would say: it is the unconscious that isn't coming across strongly enough. You can't just quite pick it up or it could also be a body thing, you can't just quite feel the damn thing, or what is it that is trying to come up. And that is a really difficult block and takes a lot of skill on the part of therapist to amplify those signals especially in extreme states before you feel them and see them.

Work on blocks in definitely the darkest part of psychology, I can tell you. It's like a grave yard It is an amazing experience to see somebody blocked face to face. Everybody who is blocked, and all of us have been blocked at one time or another, has the following expressions: "Well what can I do?" - from the outside looking in you can see 1,500 things but the blocked person is blind, deaf, and dumb. All the normal (and especially with adults) adult perceptions, that are here are thrown away. The person stands hypnotised in front of the problem. It is amazing to see it face to face. So the kind of things that I am going to describe to you are methods (call them block busters ­ I don't know what else to call them), they are already in the nature of the process of being blocked and they are present. I want to describe to you four cases and specific ways of dealing with block situations and I want to say that the kind of bodywork that I will be describing is probably archetypal. That by itself is a research project. There are very specific forms of physical behaviour people have. It appears again and again and they are not typed or categorised. I just know from practice that these things appear a lot.

CASE MATERIAL Let's talk first about Joan. This is a case from about 10 years ago. Joan had melanoma. Melanoma is a skin cancer, black, it is one of the most rapidly developing cancers and especially 10 years ago had an awful prognosis. Today it is a little bit better with all the surgery techniques but it is still a big killer. I am going to read you verbatim reports from video tapes because I want you to hear some of the specific interaction that went on because the interaction itself gives the method of working with it. Her psychotherapist in Zurich sent her to me because she was going through a second operation for melanoma. Therapist: "Joan how do you experience your melanoma?" Joan: "Melanoma you cannot feel. You only see its blackness. You must believe the doctors. They tell you that it is pretty bad and then you fantasise that in time this blackness will spread all over your body." The reason that I read that to you is because of the words that she uses. Melanoma you cannot feel it you can only see it. So she is describing the fact that she is in a visual spot and not to work with her body (in the sense that I don't know what body is anymore) probably it is a proprioceptive thing, theoretically. So I said to her, quite intuitively in those days, because I wasn't working as accurately as I am working today. I said to her, "Since you don't feel it fantasise more about it. What is your vision of it."? And she said "I see it as a great witch, a bewitchment blotting out me as a person and leaving me in a trance." And then she said, "Melanoma covers the entire world." And at that moment she burst out into a rage (a channel change) against her mother. " My mother was a witch." (naturally, mothers get hell). Being a parent is tough. Anyway, she said, "my mother is a witch" and then she said "My mother said to me: I just love you darling, I just love you" and then Joan said to her: "You really love me?" And then Joan said to me "I always felt my mother didn't love me." And then I said, "What did your mother say?" "My mother says even today that she really loves me. So I must be wrong." Isn't that interesting? She doesn't believe what role her perceptions have. So I said to her point blank "You have perceptions, what are they, I don't know whether they are right or wrong but I would like to know the details of your perceptions." She said 'I feel like I don't like my mother." (Channel change) I said "Well how does that feeling operate and she took her hand and said, "I feel like I could take this blackness and throw it through the window." So I said "Do you want to try?" So she did she opened the window of my practice and threw the 'melanoma witch' out the window. And this is the one and only time I have every seen anything like that. She slammed it afterwards and put scotch tape over the cracks where the window is to keep it out and she said, "That's it." And that was it for her melanoma. That was more than 10 years ago and it hasn't come back. I don't know if it was because of the work we did or it was because of the other psychotherapy or because of the medication. I can just say it went well with her. Let's look at that in detail.

What were the different blocks she had? She was really angry. She was blocked against being angry. Where was the anger in her? In her skin. The blackness and the witch, her mother could be angry, her mother could be monstrous and acting but she couldn't. She needed to integrate the mother. She needed herself to be more like a witch. She was hypnotised. She would go to the hospital and everybody is serious, even if a doctor hasn't said a word most patients are straight out hypnotised. She has a block, she listens to other people, she puts her perceptions aside and she has a block against her anger. Because that would have brought up a different identity than she normally has. Looking at this psychologically or sharmanistically this woman was in a hypnotised state: "I am going to die". People get hypnotised really easily. The face of the doctor or therapist is enough to hypnotise a patient. This is one of the reasons people don't talk about their diseases because they are terrified of their reactions.

If somebody today tells me they have melanoma I go: "Oh Wow!" It is not necessarily the end at all. Now I want to tell you about another case that I think I handled very poorly and I want to tell you this because I think I acted like a very normal psychotherapist and I think it is always good especially in books and lectures to always a describe a case that didn't go the way you would have liked it to go because they are the places that you learn the most. So I am going to learn together with you now.

This is a case of Mrs. Muller, living in Switzerland. She came to me because she heard about me from the neighbours. She was having her second recurrence of cancer. She first had breast cancer and they operated and it came back as a lung tumour or a bunch of lung tumours and she was in a state of great agitation like people who are blocked and are looking for help. One the major characteristic of someone who is blocked is that they will do anything or practically anything. They will go to the Philippines for a magical cure, or they will open themselves up to just anybody, hocus pocus or anything without reservation. So a lot of the people who are rushing to the doctor or rush to see me are people who are at the end of their line and will do just anything to get help. That has its advantages too, because if treated with proper process that desperation can be used in favour of the individual. So, Mrs. Muller came and she said to me according to her own report that I also took from the tapes, she said: "I became ill the day my mother died" ­ which is very frequent by the way, a person gets sick when somebody else dies or gets sick. I could tell you a whole list of synchronistic stories like that. "My mother was a very dominating person who also insisted that others serve her and when she died I developed a pain in my breast." Then I asked her how she experienced her cancer today. She said, "I don't understand you". I said " Well how do you experience having cancer now? Why did you go back to get checked up again?" She said, "Did you say experience." I said "What do you feel, how do you know you have cancer?" She said, "I don't understand what you are talking about". I thought to myself that is like a perception block and then I said "Do you have any hobbies?" and she said "Yes I like drawing." Well at least I was smart enough to say to her "Why don't you draw your body image and show me what your body looks like to you." So she drew a body picture and when she got to the chest area she put all sorts of red dots throughout the lungs and breasts where the bones are. The ribcage etc. was relatively empty but up here where the lungs are, she had also lots of red dots and I said to her "Frau Muller what about those red dots what do they want, what do they say?" She said "Red means assertiveness." Then I got intelligent "If red means assertiveness, what if you could assert yourself?" I want to tell you the paradigm in the back of my mind if she is painting her body red especially the problematical areas then the idea is very much like a dream idea then there may be a compensation for what she can't do. Especially if she had a dominating mother whom she had to serve. So, I said: "If you had to assert yourself in one way how would you assert yourself, what would you do if you could talk assertively?" She said "Oh, well you know, what I would do this summer, if I could, is go travelling north with my husband." I said to her "Well, what do you think, how about travelling north this summer (it was May now, we are talking about the coming July) and I said how about planning a trip north while you are still feeling well. Why don't you do it?" "Oh no" she said. " I can't do that my husband doesn't have vacation until the fall." And I said to her "Well now aren't you serving your husband like you used to serve your mother?" "What are you talking about?" she said. I said to her "Well why don't you just go ahead and take your vacation this summer?" "No, no she said my husband hasn't time." I said, "What two weeks would you like to choose?" She said "I would like to choose two particular weeks in July." I said "Okay have it your way" - and like a normal therapist I just did my best and said: "Okay, I recommend that your be more assertive". That is all I said and bit my tongue and let Mrs Muller out the door.

She died at the beginning of that two-week period and her husband spent his vacation mourning her. She would have taken a vacation during that time - instead she died. Well, if psychology is applied in a way to that particular case you could say that part of her which was assertive died. The servant died at that time. She was together with her husband for two weeks. That is like karma or something like that. But to tell you the truth I am not at all satisfied with myself and I of course did what everybody else does in these cases.

Doctors and analysts when faced with difficult situations like to comfort themselves. I said to myself: "well Arnie you did your best". She simply couldn't do this thing and maybe her time was up. I thought of the mass of books coming onto the American market right now about the beautifulness of death and the enlightened experiences and stuff like that and I comforted myself certainly for months and months and I was never satisfied with it. I thought to myself, I think I did a lousy job looking back and what I would have done today if I was with her is I would have said to her "Mrs Muller, I want to really get you to feel what is really in that body even though you may not be in a position to do it". I would have challenged her. I would have said to her probably, it is hard to say theoretically, I would have said I would do it. I would have worked with her perhaps more physically than I would have even a couple of years ago. Somebody who is ready to die will then really put you off and say you are on the wrong track.

Then you know as a therapist you have to bite your lip and you have to go back and do your mourning and do you business and let go. But I think of letting go that I have done and lot of letting go that most doctors and therapists do is letting go out of their own hopelessness and out of their own inability and lack of knowledge of how to work with these things. Today my sentimentality around dying I think, to a great extent, has gone and I don't feel sentimental any longer when I am called to somebody's bedside who is dying. I feel really fascinated and interested. Now what is going to happen?

Maybe I will tell you one story about something that did happen. I was called to somebody who was in a coma. It was the second time that I was seeing her. This is a couple weeks ago in Switzerland and she was in an oxygen tent and everybody was standing around doing the Last Rites and all that and I was like busy that day and my life was in a rush and I decided to take my own process seriously and I came close to her and she was in the oxygen tent and there were all tubes all over the place and I put my head in the oxygen tent and I said 'Hey, what are you doing there?" It was like a super thing. I was a little timid at first. I got a really good response from her her skin colour changed even though she was still out they said "Hey make a decision your doctor who is a buddy of mine is thinking about making it quick for you. Do you want to go or do you want to stay?" I waited and waited and waited. Let me make the story short - suddenly she gave different eye signals and blinks and so she was really giving me subtle feedback that we were on the right track. Her husband just about fainted as she began to open one of her eyes. In the end, it was like a party. It wasn't like at all playing the violins while somebody is leaving this room. This woman came out of that coma in about 1-1/2 hours and she started talking a bit later and she said she did have stuff that she had to clean up.

As far as I know she is still living and cleaning up the stuff she had to clean up. One of the rules that I broke is the idea that when somebody has their eyes close you don't talk to them and another that if someone is really sick and dying is be respectful. Sure there should be and if there is time maybe we can deal with this question at the end this evening "When is it right to take your hands off altogether?" There are some central questions here, "How do you know or do you ever know if it is time for somebody to die? How do you know, do you feel it, do you try it?" And a second question that I want you to think about is "What is the difference between working with somebody and pushing to heal?" There are a lot of analysts and doctors in the healing profession who are obsessed by helping and healing, "How do you know when it is time to let go.?" Healing and letting somebody have their death because it can also be very right for them.

Let me tell you about the right of somebody to have their death. There is this guy who has leukaemia and he was a fairly clear case of somebody who should have been allowed to die and I think he did the right thing by saying:"do your own thing". He had leukaemia for a long time and also a severe depression and we got into a game somehow and the game was ­ the guy who has leukaemia is sitting in an island and the game was I and his girlfriend are on a motor boat and we are going to come from the mainland and we are going to the island and see if we can pick him up. We come to the island and say, "How are you doing there?" "Nice" he says. "It is great here, sunny, palm trees, I'm having a great time." "Yeah but you're alone on the island. Do you want to get in the boat and come back to the mainland?" "Well I don't know." "Well you think about it for a few minutes because when we leave we are also going to take the food with us. You check out if you want to stay there or not." He is smiling and his girlfriend broke out into tears and she said "you are queer!" He said "I know this is as queer as I want to be." That was the dying ? Very quickly thereafter I said to her "let him be there." It is like he is congruently there. He didn't want to come back. He was having a severe depression because he actually wanted to die. As far as I could see from the outside this guy's process was like he doesn't want help. All the help that was coming to him he was going against. He had a whole team of physicians. He was a very famous musician in Switzerland, a famous guy. Teams of people working around the clock with this guy and he was putting the whole thing off ­ his trip was let me go.

A lot of letting go could be right and a lot letting go and giving up with patients, clients and your friends too, is not simple, because we don't know what to do and we should admit it straight out instead of hypnotising ourself with the beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not so sure about that because I have seen lots and lots of people, 20% of the people that I have seen die, have light and beautiful trips at the end and others don't. The fact that they don't isn't brought up enough in the whole public research angle around dying and bodywork therefore isn't stimulated sufficiently. There is a lot we don't know. What is the place for psychology and its relationship to medicine and relationship to hospitals and hospitalisation? In this country it is a very unusual thing that psychologists are called in when somebody is physically ill. In the United States it is unusual and the context that I had with these dying people comes in part of just seeing them in my practice and part that a lot of my clients have been physicians who later have gotten into bodywork themselves and are interested in this and have encouraged their patients to learn more about it themselves.

However, everybody knows somebody that is dying so psychologists have a greater role but until now psychology have taken too little interest in relationship between symptoms and general psychology. I wondered about myself wile I listened to the takes of Mrs. Muller: Why did it take me years to listen to those tapes and to begin to become self critical? I don't know myself all that well but I began to tell you before was because I was trying to tell myself that it was a hopeless situation and I think another reason was just plain laziness and a lot of you people here are professional people and are interested in becoming professional analysts and therapists and doctors and whatever you call yourselves and I can only tell you that one of the worst diseases that therapists and doctors have themselves is I think is laziness. And it is very very easy to quickly assume that once you get your diplomas and doctorates and medical degrees and therapy degrees it is really simple to think you have made it. Many people can't go much further I think but most of us could do a lot more.

The reason that we don't I think is laziness. If there is a problem that you have been dealing with a client that isn't improving over a period of 6-8 months then you should continue your studies. You need to learn more and if there is nobody around you should stay up at night with coffee and try to figure it out. Take a videotape of what you have done. Videotapes are awful teachers. I would never videotape my work with an intimate client in the private one to one work. Studying Mrs. Muller's case and other people I have begun to develop different ways of dealing with dying processes.

The dying process is already well outlined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a lot of dying process is wrapped up with the fighting process. So by the time somebody comes to see you as a therapist asking for help they are in the middle of a fight. The fight is an important thing. This is the case with Eugene. Eugene is the patient of one of my clients who is a physician, internist in Switzerland and he has had three quarters of his stomach removed because he had a malignant cancer there. His doctors said," I want you to go and have a little chat with Arnie and see what happens there." Eugene comes in, he is all smiles, and this is about a month after his operation. He has come back because they have discovered more stuff. He has pains and they are not sure if the operation has really been successful and they are thinking about opening him up again. There is a medical debate going on around him. Eugene comes in anyhow and he is smiling at me and he says, "How are you?" and I said, "Fine thank you" and then he says 'It's nice to be here." Ten minutes of the hour have already gone by and I am getting impatient and I say, "Eugene, what are you doing here?" "Well you know my doctor said I have this chronic skin condition." I know the diagnosis and the background and I know he knows but he is telling me about his skin condition. He has got bad skin. Eczema. "I have had this skin condition since earliest childhood." I think following the patient's process, individual process would be the best thing. So I say to him "Well let's work with your skin problem." Thinking that it is also a chronic skin problem since childhood I say "Did you ever have a childhood dream?" and Eugene says, "Sure I had a childhood dream. I saw an ugly figure coming after me." And he just described his ugly skin condition. This ugly figure is coming after him. And I say, "What did he look like?" "Can't see it." he said. Perception block, no visualisation. "Can you feel it?' "No." "Have you ever had an ugly thought.?" "No". And as he said that, he belched and excused himself and I said "All my studies and signal theories are telling me that your stomach may be talking. Does your stomach want to disagree? Is there anything ugly down there?" Hoping that he might say something about himself. "No, I just ate the wrong food for lunch." Then I thought about all the things I had been learning in the last 24 years. I said to him "Man to man as far as I know the kind of problem that you have usually wipes somebody out after a few months. The way your doctor has described this thing to me it seem like you are having serious problems. As far as I know there isn't much of your stomach remaining and point blank, I can't understand why you are smiling at me."

We are having a really straight conversation. People with cancer often have all the doors closed. It is hard to open them up. So I say: "I'm saying this to you because I have been thinking to myself if you go out this door and afterwards I am going to be unhappy, I am going to find it difficult to let go of you". And I also say to him: "Eugene was a nice guy, he went his way and now I don't want to spend my time at your funeral." And he looked at me "What are you talking about?" "Death man, death you might not be around much longer." I said, "Now will we go back to your dream work." One of the simplest straightforward conversations with somebody. I went back to his dream work and said " Well now what does that ugly thing look like?" He gave me the most minute description you could imagine ­ it was this and this and this. We painted him up like the figure. He was ugly. We painted his face and he got into that first with terror and then later with joy. He was dancing, having a good time being this thing that had been chasing him since childhood. I asked him if I could use his case material and he is part of a 10-year study to see what the effects of this type of work are on people who are terminally ill. He is in super shape and didn't go back for a second treatment. His doctor also let him go and some therapist has picked him up and he is having a lot of fun. Integration doesn't mean that the earlier personality disappears, it is still there. There is something good about the first personality and the second thing is coming up to as well. What were his perception blocks? Total denial of childhood fears. He was terrified of his colourful personality. Another signal which is very typical of the childhood dreams that we have done in Switzerland, is the weak signal. He could hardly see it, it took a lot of effort to go back and see it clearly.

One of the reasons people get blocked is that the opposite is not clearly coming forth. He didn't say "I had a far out dream about a horrible demon". He had to really work. And that says something about psychology as a whole that the dreams you have, the little tiny ones, they need work. A lot of your dreams need energy. They are not finished products. Jung's idea about active imagination means you have to put energy into it. We are like as David Baume the physicist from England recently said, "The Universe is a pattern that is unfolding itself. The job of physics and people today is how to help it unfold itself in the most useful way. In psychology the case is the same. How to help people to unfold these processes. It takes a lot of energy to get inside and find what is going on. Encouraging this process and then letting it unfold. I also used his fear of death in his favour, my favour, in our favour. He was really afraid of dying and that could be accessed through just being straight and then say: " how can you use that fear in favour of perception".

Let's consider Terri. She came to me just before surgery to remove a disc. She had a bad automobile accident and she has been crippled since. She can't stand up straight. In a couple of weeks she was planning on having a disc operation and they were going to put a piece of iron in her spine to help her out. I ask her "What is it like to have such a back problem?" 'Not bad' she said. "It is tough and there are a lot of tough things in life an you got to take it the way it goes." I said, "You sound like you are pretty tough." "Yeah you have to be pretty tough in this world to get along". "Good" I said, "Now I want to tell you what I really think. I think that your being tough has been useful and I don't want you to let go of it but I would like to see if we could add something to it and I want to work directly with your body." "My body" she said "I'm shy about being touched.' I said "Okay what kind of touch would you allow?' And I explained: "The reason why I would like to introduce touch is that I see that it is a channel that isn't being used. Maybe it will help, maybe it won't. But if we change channels we are likely to get down to new material and unconscious material which could be useful to you. It is a possibility, you needn't do it." She said, "What does this mean changing channels?" I went through a long intellectual discussion with her, favouring her intellect and understanding. If I don't have the help of her intellect then what is going to happen won't be integrated afterwards. She said, "Okay after talking about channel changing and how you get down to deep experience let's try it." I said: "This is the movement I want to work with. I'm seeing that you are making it a lot and it is one of the strong signals in the foreground and it would be easiest to work with that. Would you let me touch your shoulder and you tell me how to touch it." She said "Very, very gently. I have a lot of pain in my back. I said, "Well let's do it." I just touched her shoulder with just a couple of fingertips, just moved her shoulder back ever so lightly and she said 'oh oh" and I said "Well lets go back, take a deep breath and let's go back and see what's there." "I will just touch it gently." She replies: "I don't know if I want to go into that" I said: "Let's change the subject and talk about the weather." Going back and forth between this strong experience and every day reality is really important with this kind of work. She talked about the weather and said "Let's do it, I'm bored" So I had won her willingness and I went back to moving her shoulder a little tiny bit and out poured a whole bunch of pain which was personal and it was not necessary to note the content of it.

A lot of painful memories emerged. Childhood memories and difficulties she has had in the past. The pain therapists look for this and never want to see. I don't know what to do I just sit, listen, and look at the floor, out the window. Just try to make myself be present and out comes all this stuff and finally she stopped after a while and she took a deep breath and started sitting up a little bit and so I amplified that motion and touched her shoulder a tiny bit, she went up like that and said "I'm sitting" and I sad: "Great!" When she sat up straight she was pain free and I can't explain that to you physiologically, I don't know the details. (It would be good to present this in a case history with x-rays etc to make the point.) She said she was pain free and really happy and she walked straight out of the office. This held for a good 1-1/2 to 2 weeks. It didn't hold longer than that. The other therapist she was working with did his best with her and said it didn't hold all the pain she started swallowing again and it was tough to bring her pain and be in contact with that and she decided not to get the operation and is going back to physicians for the time being and using her back problem to grow all around. Whether she is finally going to make the decision or not about the operation is now not the point any longer for her. In her own words she isn't interested in that.

What blocks did you notice there? Conscious shrugging off and what was it she was afraid of perceiving? Pain. A religion of pain. To this day I still think of religion as a dream that hasn't come true. To me religion is like a great dream that hasn't come around. We have a picture of a guy hanging on a cross, in pain, having a bad time and looking that way and suffering and now the humanistic psychology in the US decrees that everybody is against suffering now. People don't want to have it. I hate to suffer myself. The more you put away painful items the more they seem to drag into your body. You can also put away joyful items and fun. Painful stuff that you put away never gets repressed everything goes into the 'garbage can' that is the body. I want to mention one more case. John is a football player. He is no longer a football player. He is in his mid forties. He is about 6'8, powerful and he comes in. I know why he has come. He has had a couple of bad heart attacks and took a long time to recuperate and now, even though his heart is better he complains again about pain in the same area. Around the heart - a stabbing pain. His physicians don't know what to do with him. They are going to drug him more, give him medication for Angina. John says to me." My problem is that I am a nice guy." I said to him, "What do you mean by that." He said, "Arnie, my problem is that I am a nice guy." He goes down, tummy comes out, pelvis shifts. He talked about his being a nice guy for a while and I said to him "What's wrong with being a nice guy? I'm glad you are a nice guy. I'd hate to have a fight with you." He said, "Well I hate being a nice guy." I said "Well how about working with the nice guy problem? And one way of working with it (I should say he has been in analysis for 12 years and has been talking about his problems around the nice guy and has analysed it and is apparently blocked for some particular reason.) is this: "You're job, I am going to challenge you to find out what is the pain in the heart area about and why are you blocked with a nice guy?" So I say to him: "You have been talking about your problems for a long time, how about working with them physically.? Would you like to do that?" And I said, "If you don't want to do it we won't do it." He shook his head again and said 'Well, okay but what is going to come out?" I say: "I don't know. Chances are that your heart pains may get a little worse but I checked out ahead of time with your physician that the chances of you having a heart attack in my office are small. As therapist, it is important to protect yourself.

If someone is physically ill you are foolish to work with them without their saying so and everybody else around them. He said "Okay". How do you think I worked with it? - The nice guy? ­ I went with it. I put my hands on his pelvis and here and I helped him with a swinging motion "What happens to you when you say you are a nice guy? I feel like a really nice guy." Stabbing pain, it happened right there. He said, "Is this a heart attack?" and I said, "This is whatever you want it to be." People with heart problems think they are going to die right away when they have a body signal. Heart problems terrify people even when they are not associated with breathing difficulties. I said" What would happen if you weren't allowed to have heart pain? What would be missing?" ( That is another way of forbidding a signal). If you can't have that signal you have to have something else, like pushing the shoulder back amplifies what is really there. And he said straight out taking his hands off his chest "I'd be angry with myself." "Why am I angry at myself?" ­ the whole heart problem is gone for the moment. So we talked about something in him is angry with him when he is against being a nice guy. He could hardly accept being a nice guy. He wants to be a total brutal figure. He wants to be the football player that he was when he was a kid and a lot of him happens to be a nice guy and when he goes against being a nice guy he gets heart pains. You follow the paradox?. He wants to be whatever it is to be a man, the old image, and tough. He doesn't want to be a nice guy.

So we had a long conversation on what is the useful part of being a nice guy. He is very successful in business, he is successful in his life and in many, many ways, he has this negative parental figure in him, which is killing him for being a nice guy. I talked to him again about it and went back to the bodywork and put my hand on his shoulder, stomach and that was months and months ago. That was the last time he had a stabbing heart problem. He went back to his male therapist who has been working with and now they are working on accepting the nice guy. Everybody is so nice in the world, therapists are happy to work on people bringing out more shadow and this is the opposite. This guy needs to accept his niceness.

One more statement I want to bring in about John's case before I let it go. I want to tell you the dream that he had. His dream was about a red cross protecting a weak man against the pack and taking care of him and healing his wounds. Second part of the dream is a big strong guy walks down the street. Why is the red cross protecting the weak guy? That is it. That is the dream body problem. He attacks himself for being a weak guy. He is angry and he doesn't want to be a nice guy. He is against it then he has problems because of that. His weakness needs protection and afterwards he can act strong. For him it wasn't an option to be weak. He wanted only to be a strong guy. So he was constantly against his weakness. Another possibility about dream research: There was a conference in LA recently about dream theories. They went through different dream theories and one possible way dreams seem to behave is that dreams are like processes trying to happen. That is an empirically verifiable fact in bodywork. That they are all processes trying to happen. Weak guy needing protection and after doing that he is able to be strong again. Dreams are processes trying to happen and are reflected in the body. End of lecture.

 

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