EMDR Educators of Florida https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com Helping therapists get to where they're going Thu, 06 Dec 2018 19:02:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-LogoNEW-cropSmall-32x32.png EMDR Educators of Florida https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com 32 32 Larry ‘Bulldog’ Jones was my friend: a look back https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/larry-bulldog-jones-was-my-friend https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/larry-bulldog-jones-was-my-friend#respond Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:50:09 +0000 https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=16624 Larry ‘Bulldog’ Jones was my friend

This blog entry was originally posted in July of 2014.

The headlines read, Aliquippa Grid Star Larry Jones Dies. That was in Saturday’s paper on August 26, 1972. Larry died on August 25th. People that knew Larry, his friends, family, and teammates won’t know me. They won’t know I was Larry’s friend. I doubt he ever spoke of me to his friends or family, and I never spoke of him to mine. I never went to his house, and he never came over to mine. But Larry Jones was my friend.

I initially met him on that first terrifying day at the Junior High School in 1967. This is when the seventh graders left the comfort of their neighborhood schools and went to one giant school that housed all the seventh, eighth, and ninth graders in the entire town. This was a rather overwhelming day for a scrawny, shy, and “unsure about everything” skin and bones kid.

Larry “Bulldog” Jones

We met on that first day in Mrs. Smith’s homeroom. Mrs. Smith was an elderly, small, dignified, yet tough woman who could manage a classroom. She was calling roll.

She got to my name, “Andrew Dobo.”

I timidly raised my hand and shyly said, “Here.”

Then it started; the kid across from me in the next row started to whisper.

“Doe! Bow!” And then he’d laugh.

“Doe! Bow!” With another whispery, Wiley E. Coyote laugh under his breath.

“What kind of name is that?”

“Slovak,” I said.

He wasn’t interested in my nationality.

“Doe! Bow!”

And even though he was laughing, it didn’t feel like he was making fun of me. He just got a kick out of saying my name. No one ever said my name the way Larry said it, and no one has since.

“Doe! Bow!”

Little did Larry know that Mrs. Smith was not amused and spotted his antics even though he tried to hide behind the student in front of him, which was a useless endeavor because Larry was a big boy and all muscle. I think he could probably lift me over his head with one hand if he wanted. She surprised him by tapping him on his shoulder, and he jumped.

“Mr.,” as she looked down on her seating chart, “Jones, is it?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, rather startled.

“Is something funny back here?”

“No ma’am.”

“Good. Let’s keep it that way, young man.”

Then she turned her back and walked to the front of the room and continued with roll call.

I’d hear in a whisper, as she walked away,

“Doe… Bow… Doe… Bow…”

The bell rang and, well, I survived my first homeroom in junior high school. That was my first encounter with my friend Larry Jones.

Larry and I were friends for nine months in seventh grade, and nine months in eighth grade. He was in my homeroom both of those years and in some of my classes. That was our friendship; first thing in the morning he’d say, “Doe…Bow… D’you do your homework for Mr. Owens?”

I can still hear the sound of his voice.

I’d reply, “No.”

He’d respond, “Doe Bow, What am I gonna do with you?”

“Did you do it?” I asked.

He’d laugh and say with a sly grin on his face, “No, but don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” Later in Mr. Owens’s class he’d raise his hand and tell Mr. Owens how much he had toiled over the homework.

“Mr. Owens, I tried all last night to do this homework, but I do not understand this ‘direct object’ stuff.” Mr. Owens would ask, “Anyone else have a problem with the homework?” Of course, we’d all raise our hands and we’d get another lecture on direct objects, and Larry just bought us another night to do our homework.

Or he’d ask, “Did you do Mr. Dzvonar’s math homework?”

“Yea,” I’d say. He’d look it over.

“Well, this ain’t right.”

I’d reply, “I didn’t say it was right; I said it was done.”

“Doe Bow, what am I gonna do with you?”

We’d laugh. Man did he have an infectous laugh, and a smile that would light up the room. He was always laughing, always telling a joke, or being mischievous. Messing with someone, but it was all in fun. It was a badge of honor, really, if Larry played around and teased you a little. It was never bullying. Larry was more about preventing bullying.

He just never took anything too seriously. He knew exactly who he was at twelve years of age. He was so confident, so funny, and he was my friend.

Larry’s been dead for forty-six years. This was in the ’60s, so I guess I should mention Larry happened to be black, and I happened to be white. Neither of us cared. We never mentioned it; it never entered into the equation of our friendship.

Larry’s close friends, the friends he grew up with, the kids in his neighborhood all called him Bulldog. I never did; I just called him Larry. If I was walking to class with him he was showered by what seemed to be a million “Hey, Bulldog, hi Bulldog, yo Bulldog, Bulldog, what’s up?” Everybody seemed to know Bulldog. If I wasn’t walking to class with him, but he’d see me walking the other way, passing me in the sea of other kids, I’d hear my name, “Doe! Bow!” and I’d hear that infectious laugh. It was Larry.

I wasn’t sure why they called him Bulldog until I played a basketball game in gym class with him. Bulldog perfectly described him. He was a Bulldog. He was fast, stocky, strong, and big. I remember watching him get a rebound, which resulted in three or four kids hitting the floor from an encounter with “Bulldog.”

“Wow, how does he do that?”

Sometimes I’d have to play against him in gym class. He had many opportunities to send my scrawny little body flying fifty feet across the gym, but he never did, because he was my friend. I guess sometimes friendship is more important than a basketball game.

I once read a quote that was attributed to Maya Angelou. She said, “When you are gone, no one will remember how big your house was, or how many cars you owned, or how much money you had. No, all anyone will ever remember about you is how you made them feel.” My friend Larry made me feel safe, accepted, and important. I mattered to Larry, and he showed me these things almost every day. Maya Angelou was right, because I remember exactly how Larry made me feel even forty-five years later.

I do not know how I would have fared in those years without him. They were two of the roughest school years of my life.

When I knew Larry he had not yet put on a football helmet. I was surprised that he did not play midget football or junior high football, because if anyone in my school looked like a football player, it was Larry. No, when I knew him, he was not a gridiron star, he was just Larry, and he was my friend.

I hate to confess that I have not thought about Larry since his death. I probably thought about him for a few months after he died, but in ninth grade, I changed schools, and when he died, I had not seen him in three years. Our time together had ended at the end of eighth grade. I got on with my life in my new school, and he did the same.

I’m not sure why I started thinking about him again in June of this year. I do not mean a casual memory popping into my mind about him. I mean a rather obsessive and unrelenting review of my life in those years with Larry. This article was writing itself in my head for days. It would wake me in the middle of the night. I am writing this now, and it is 5AM. It’s as if I could feel Larry’s presence, I’d think of him, and I would sometimes start to cry about how much he meant to me in those years, and the sad thing about it is, I didn’t even know it. I did not realize how important this kid was to me until forty-two years had passed. Today, I am sobbing as if he died yesterday. Today, for the first time, I am grieving the loss of my friend.

A week before I started thinking of Larry, a reporter from Florida Today wanted to interview me about emotion and film, about why we cry at the movies. I’m a psychologist; that’s why she called me. I talked with her for about twenty minutes. At one point she asked if she could ask me a personal question. I agreed. She asked me when the last time I cried was, and I told her.

This unexpected question stirred up some old emotions, and I also instantly remembered a time I had not cried, but should have. You see, I did not attend Larry’s funeral, nor do I remember crying over his death. My brother, who was a teammate of Larry’s when he died, did attend, as did the entire football team and practically the entire town of Aliquippa. My parents, who were notorious for making me attend funerals of people I did not know back then, did not make me attend Larry’s funeral because they did not know that I even knew Larry; like I said, he probably never mentioned me in his home, and I never mentioned him in mine. Not for any reason, except, that’s just how it was. We were friends at school.

Not attending his funeral is a great regret of mine. Not crying about his death, well, that’s what we’re told to do, right? “Don’t be a baby and cry, be strong.” So here I am forty-two years later writing these words with tears in my eyes for my friend. Larry’s probably here next to me saying, “Doe! Bow! What am I gonna do with you?”

Larry was my guardian angel forty-five years ago. I think he’s letting me know he still is. When my time comes to leave this earth, I’d want Larry there. I can see him in my mind’s eye.

“Doe! Bow! I see you’ve been doing your homework down there, and you’re still messing it up. What am I gonna do with you?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll have a talk with the man in charge. I’ll take care of it.”

“For now, we have to get to the other side of this dark tunnel, stay close, hold on tight to my shoulders, because it’s dangerous, but I’ll keep you safe.”

Then he’ll turn his head and look back at me with that contagious smile and a twinkle in his eye and say,

“Doe! Bow! Don’t worry. They don’t call me Bulldog for nothing.”

I never saw Larry play football. Football was the least of what was beautiful about him. I wrote this so those who knew him will remember him on August 25, 2018, and for those who never knew him, I want them to wish they had. It is my wish for everyone reading this that they will have someone, even for a brief moment in their life, who makes them feel safe, accepted, and important, but for me, well, I was lucky, ’cause, you know—Larry Jones was my friend.

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/larry-bulldog-jones-was-my-friend/feed 0
EMDR’s rapid results compare well with Accelerated Resolution Therapy https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emdr-vs-accelerated-resolution-therapy https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emdr-vs-accelerated-resolution-therapy#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 18:13:29 +0000 https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=16605 Accelerated Resolution Therapy or ART vs. the power of EMDR

I have heard good things about Accelerated Resolution Therapy. The early research is extremely promising. As a longtime EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist and trainer, I’ve noted the obvious similarities between these treatments. The ART protocol, which is delivered in two to five sessions without homework, provided significant improvements. This statement also can be said about EMDR therapy. In fact, this identical statement was said after the initial EMDR study was published in 1989. There, a variety of PTSD subjects were treated with only three treatment sessions with extraordinary improvement.

ART uses the psychotherapeutic practices of imaginal exposure and imagery re-scripting (IR) facilitated through sets of eye movements. This strategy has been employed by EMDR therapists for decades. In addition to ART’s brevity, a novel component of ART is use of IR to “replace” negative imagery (and other sensations) with positive imagery. EMDR does not impose the positive image; it allows it to emerge after the client has processed the maladaptively stored information.

It is always surprising when 30 years of research and hundreds of books and discoveries by EMDR researchers and practitioners are dismissed. It’s as if this body of work seems to not exist, then something that seems to be simply a reinventing of a well-established wheel, which has been riding along since 1989, presents itself as something new.

What seems to have been lost in the understanding of EMDR is that it is endorsed by most world health organizations for the treatment of trauma. But this is the least of what it does.

The treatment of a single episode of trauma is usually done in short order. One or two sessions are very common using EMDR, depending on the event, of course. Often the problem with all of us, whether we have a diagnosis or not, is that we are driven by one of two core beliefs: “I don’t matter” or “I’m not good enough.” You can disagree, but the first stage of this process is AVOIDANCE—so welcome to the party.

These schemas begin at a young age, often at birth, and are perpetuated and strengthened throughout the lifespan. These schemas affect just about everything we do. Mine was “I’m not good enough” and is probably why I have two master’s degrees and a doctorate. EMDR is the only treatment I have ever found that causes a permanent shift in these negative beliefs. And these shifts happen without talking. The shift has very little to do with what I say.

Once these beliefs change to the adaptive thought, “I am good enough” or “I do matter,” the real work begins, because the client is thrown into chaos because they have lost their identity. He/she has no idea how to behave in this adaptive way. In this stage, they almost always retreat to the old way, but now they have insight. Therefore, nothing quite looks the same—they can’t go back.

This is not trauma work, although traumas may be part of the work. This is transformational work. The client moves through six stages of transformation. It is a very real death/rebirth experience that happens at warp speed, and it happens right before my very eyes. It is the most incredible feeling that I have ever had as a therapist, to watch the rebirth, when the “aha” moment occurs. Immediately a client’s affect changes, a calm enters the room, and sometimes they even begin to laugh. Laughter is a sure-fire sign that we are headed to the promised land. These moments frequently occur with EMDR, which is why I never tire of the work. I just do not know why more therapists are not aware of the power of EMDR to permanently and adaptively change a person’s life.

Thinking EMDR is only for trauma is so 1990s. EMDR is not just a trauma treatment. It is a model of therapy: EMDR Therapy does not just treat symptoms, it transforms lives!

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emdr-vs-accelerated-resolution-therapy/feed 0
Emma’s hair https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emmas-hair https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emmas-hair#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:06:36 +0000 https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=16398 Emma’s hair

Embracing symbols of change

There’s a saying among therapists. We ask the question: What is the opposite of love? Everyone responds “hate” immediately, thinking, that’s a stupid question; everyone knows the answer to that question. It’s a trick question, because the answer is not hate. The answer is indifference. The research bears this out. Kids who are physically and emotionally abused have some kind of attention coming their way. If, however, you are completely indifferent to a child, as if they do not exist, these children fare far worse than their abused counterparts. I am not condoning abuse. Both of these parenting styles are horrible, and both get terrible results. It does seem that those who are ignored do worse.

My client is a miracle, because she overcame a life of indifference. She had no idea the that the rituals she recently had performed were related to our work, because she had done the rituals before we met. Her unconscious took her by the hand and prepared her for this work.

My client would not have been open to following her intuition had she not been experienced with her inner self. She is a writer who avidly kept a journal. Journaling about her life, her loves, her emotional reality—these inner reflections were as much a part of her life as eating and sleeping. When hidden aspects of the psyche’s reality begin to manifest, there is a powerful upheaval of energy that moves the transformative process forward. Transformation is rarely easy. Usually it’s more like a crucifixion.

Psychotherapists are privileged to witness these creative moments as we provide a safe space for our clients to create and experience these moments.

The act of a haircut comes up occasionally as a powerful ritual component in the process of change. The popular makeover shows that cut the long and overgrown hair of men and women, creating an entirely new look, often bring these people to tears. It’s not the haircut and clothes; it’s the symbolic power of change.

My bright and creative client is a gifted writer. She spent her entire life trying to get her father’s attention without success. She came to therapy in an attempt to come to terms with the state of this relationship.  She wrote about beginning the process of therapy and how she unknowingly began to make our therapeutic encounter sacred by using two rituals with symbolic power. She wrote the following passage after she understood the meaning of her behaviors. She went through the rituals without knowing why exactly she was doing what she was doing. This excerpt is a reflection back. She has permitted me to share her thoughts.


Freshly enlisted soldiers have all their hair cut off as a rite of passage into the role of protector. Buddhist monks often shave their heads before entering a monastery to erase any vanity. The day I cut my hair I stood balanced on a precipice between these two roles of warrior and spiritual pupil. “You sure you wanna do this?”  the stylist asked me as I returned to her after the shampoo. I ran my hands through my wet hair, starting at the scalp and moving downward through the ten or twelve inches of my beautiful keystone. It was now golden brown from the summer sun, fragrant with the salon’s apple shampoo.

I looked at myself in the mirror, my hair framing my face, and thought about how it moved with me when I danced and how ex-boyfriends used to bury their noses in it before falling asleep, but there was a difference between who I was and who I needed to be. My eyes wandered to the magazine clipping I brought in — a picture of a Winona Ryder lookalike with short, cropped hair.

“Yes, please, I want it like the picture.” I sat down and closed my eyes and tried not to wince as I heard the metallic scrape of the scissors opening and closing. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes. The other patrons were looking on with expressions of shock and curiosity as clumps of my silken tresses fell to the floor. The scissors moved mercilessly around my head. I thought of Henry Miller saying that freedom comes from cutting yourself free from the past, and suddenly I was afraid I was cutting too much and if that woman cut one more strand of hair, I would lift out of the chair and float away. I squeezed my eyes shut against my mirror image.

When it was over I thanked the stylist with downcast eyes and slipped out of the chair. I paid and watched her sweep mounds of my hair into a dustbin and then carry it back to the salon, out of my sight. I bit my lip, said a quick prayer and left the salon, trying to make myself invisible.


This young woman had created a powerful ritual for beginning the process of therapy. She had no plan; she followed her intuition, and, in so doing, she stumbled upon a transforming ritual—two acts that unknowingly were preparing her for battle.  She allowed the ego and her vanity to become less powerful and her inner reality to become more powerful by honoring its voice. The ordinary act of getting a haircut provided extraordinary results.

As a writer, this young woman regularly journaled and enjoyed solitude, so that piece of the process was already in place. She also informed me that around the time she cut her hair, she got a tattoo of a Korean dragon, which she explained protected warriors during battle. Initially, she did not understand why she had chosen this tattoo, nor was she exactly clear about why she cut her hair. I had never seen her with long hair. Her first session with me was after the haircut. She told me about these acts after a few therapy sessions, and we explored and understood them. The excerpt you just read was written months after the actual event had occurred.

I asked her one simple question: What is the first thing that happens when a newly enlisted soldier arrives for training at boot camp?  What do you think was the first thing that happened to your dad when he arrived that first day at boot camp in the ’60s?  When she figured it out, it was as if she had just received a jolt of electricity. She looked at me and said, “They get their hair cut. The soldiers all get their hair cut before they go to war.”

After some reflection, we discovered that she was preparing herself for battle. Therapy was the battleground and her father her opponent. One year later, after her hair had grown back somewhat and her treatment with me had been complete, she emerged victoriously. This young female warrior was not going to have it any other way.

Her actions, although not planned or understood by her at the outset, were powerful rituals that marked the journey of her holy war, which she had been fighting her entire life. This was her moment to put it to rest, and she did.

I recently read an article about Emma Gonzalez and her haircut. It reminded me of the client I had years ago whose story I just shared. I have learned over the years as a psychologist that when someone changes a hairstyle that they have had for a decade or two, something is going to happen. I do not have any research to back this up, I have just noticed it.

Emma’s story got my attention because it started with her hair. Emma sounds like a force to be reckoned with, and apparently, when she wants something, she makes her case. The article implied that you’d better have a good reason to deny her request. She had to get permission to shave her head from her parents. Remember, she is just a young teen.

She put a plan in motion to convince her parents. She prepared a ten-slide PowerPoint presentation to plead her case for being permitted to shave her head.

PowerPoint Frame One: Saves on shampoo.

Hmm, I think I know a kid like this. (Unfortunately, the article did not share more than frame one, but you get the idea. She was getting her way.)

In September, she cut her hair and began to sport her new signature buzz cut. She thought she was cutting her hair for more comfort in the Florida heat (and to save on shampoo, of course). In reality, her soul or psyche, if you prefer, set a ritual into action, preparing her for war, much like the young Marines my former client discussed. Yes, soldiers get their heads shaved as an initiation into warrior-hood. Like the song says, “God’s Plan,” not Emma’s. She had no idea that she was creating an iconic image for her generation. “We call BS” is this generation’s rallying cry. Her image will never disappear from our history any more than Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” image on that Mall, or John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” speech. Her speech is perfectly unapologetic, an “enough is enough” message or the most powerful silence ever proclaimed across the world. All delivered by a self-proclaimed bisexual Cuban American female. This kid captures everything that is wonderfully rich, diverse and beautiful about America that our leaders are trying to destroy.

There could not be a more remarkable hero in this story than Emma Gonzalez. And like all heroes, they are unlikely and reluctant heroes. All those thoughts and prayers our politicians have been sending out the last decades have finally been answered. Those prayers gave rise to a 5-foot-2 dynamo who herself is probably surprised by the heroism that she possessed. A heroism that exploded across the world to save the lives of children, because no adult would.

Yeah, when I see a dramatic haircut or tattoo, I have learned that something wonderful or something terrible is going to happen. But something is going to happen.

Most people who come to see me are in great distress. They want help. I smile internally, because I know they are special—chosen. They received the invitation to change. They have had enough. They will change, and they will thus change the world. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways. Yes, they received an invitation. Not everyone gets invited. No, some people keep the same hairstyle for 70 years.




https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/emmas-hair/feed 0
Loss of identity in Stage Four of EMDR: A client’s experience https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/loss-of-identity-in-stage-four-of-emdr-a-clients-experience https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/loss-of-identity-in-stage-four-of-emdr-a-clients-experience#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 14:44:37 +0000 http://www.www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=15823

Stage Four: Loss of Identity

This client was kind enough to write what stage four of the EMDR process was like for him.

It was hard and painful work to dismantle the self-defeating beliefs and actions that were no longer working for me. I had come to Dr. Dobo in sheer desperation and I was grateful for what I learned through this EMDR method, but I was not counting on losing my identity when I dismantled my old self.

To say this was a confusing time is an understatement. I was more than confused. I felt a void inside and a horrible sense of detachment from everything that had ever meant anything to me. This was progress? This sense of being in neutral was the most confusing feeling I had ever experienced. I missed my old self; even though my suffering had brought me to therapy, there was at least some familiarity, traditions and routines in my previous identity. Now everything was wide open, a blank slate, and I was not ready for the ambiguity. Was I becoming an unrecognizable someone to my family and friends and, even more importantly, to myself?

About the time I had entered this dark tunnel of confusion, I came upon an armadillo that was lying in the middle of the road. He was roadkill, and the buzzard intermittently picked at his innards between the scurrying of cars. The fate of the poor animal became a fitting metaphor for the death my old self was experiencing. Darwinian evolutionary thinking would argue that the armadillo had spent millennia developing its armored body to protect him against predators, but on this day it was woefully inadequate to shield him from the overwhelming force of a speeding car. I had spent my lifetime carefully creating an identity that would deter worry, unhappiness and failure, but it had not. As my old self became exposed as the charlatan it had been, the spiritual buzzards picked every bit of it clean and had transformed me into an empty carcass.

Dr. Dobo had warned me when I started EMDR that change was inevitable and that I would lose my old view of the world, but I was not expecting this. With this much internal confusion, I doubted that I could recover from this seemingly horrible loss.


Happy to report my client is happily in stage six, with incredible positive changes going on in his life. Perhaps I can talk him into writing about where he is nowadays as our work together comes to a close.

These few years after I wrote my book Unburdening Souls at the Speed of Thought, in which I explain this six-stage transformational process I’ve discovered, I always thought stage three would be the worst part: the grueling dismantling and revisiting the horrors of the past to be free of them. But at least you understand what is happening and why.

As time goes on and I have worked with many people who have taken the journey, I think stage four is the most difficult. This stage four, this “everything should be great now, but nothing is” stage, seems like some sort of cosmic joke, but it is not. It is the necessary time of incubation before the rebirth. It is the pregnancy when the growth is hidden below the surface.

I find two things that are necessary for this part. And when I tell you, it won’t really help that much, but I think you will know it to be true. You must trust and be patient. Trust that whatever the next chapter in your life is supposed to be will appear and you will know when you see it. And be patient while you work to discover it. It is descending into hell before the resurrection, it is lost in the desert for 40 years before finding the promised land and a thousand other stories that warn of this period in our human journey. It is a sacred path, and everyone does not get an invitation to this party. Some never change; some are always unaware. So perhaps reframe it as what it truly is, the hero’s journey.

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/loss-of-identity-in-stage-four-of-emdr-a-clients-experience/feed 0
The Anatomy of the Dream https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/anatomy-of-the-dream https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/anatomy-of-the-dream#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:43:53 +0000 http://www.www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=15787 The following is an excerpt from Dr. Dobo’s work in progress, Transformational EMDR: A Death Rebirth Sequence in Six Stages.  It continues the discussion begun in the post DREAM AMPLIFICATION AND INTERPRETATION

The Anatomy of the Dream (The Components)

  1. Symbols
  2. Signs
  3. Images
  4. Metaphors
  5. Emotions
  6. Thoughts
  7. Themes
  8. Motifs
  9. Fantasies


Not all dreams will have all these components, but these are the parts that your unconscious has available to deliver its message to you, the dreamer. You can read several different books about dreams where this list might look different. I am not saying this list is an end-all way to work with a dream, but it has worked for me for decades. The first step in understanding the anatomy of the dream is to understand each component. To do this, it is important to understand what each component means and what the overall anatomy looks like when examining each element of the dream.

The Nine Dream Components Briefly Defined

A symbol is an expression for something that is unknown, represented by something that is known. It represents something other than itself. It is more than itself. It is familiar but has a meaning more than the obvious. For example, we are all familiar with a cow. We know what a cow is and does. For most of us, we do not think of it as anything but an animal that gives milk, is butchered as a source of food, or an animal we notice in pastures as we drive along on a road trip. Nothing symbolic here.

In India, the practice of Hinduism teaches that the cow is sacred. It represents one of the primary tenants of Hinduism, which is, to do no harm to an animal. If someone of the Hindu faith dreams about a cow, it will have a much deeper meaning for them than if a non-Hindu dreamed of a cow. For Americans, the bald eagle is a proud symbol of patriotism, but for other countries, it is just a bird.

Archetypal symbols are common to all people and are powerful like a serpent, cross, sword, blood, etc. We will talk about these types of symbols in later chapters.

A sign is often related to a symbol. The difference between a sign and a symbol depends on the perspective of the dreamer. A person might dream of a STOP sign as they drive along in a dream. The meaning of the sign can simply be to stop as the dreamer moves along in this dream. It can, however, be perceived as a symbol if there is something in the dreamer’s life that they are doing or about to do that is dangerous. Then this sign is much more important. In this case, the STOP sign is something more significant. It is a symbol.

Fantasies occur while awake. Fantasies are like daydreaming. Jung developed a strategy employing an active fantasy; he called this exploration “active imagination.” In this activity, the dreamer would reenter the dream or fantasy while awake. The person is to be calm and quiet with their eyes closed. The person is actively engaged in the fantasy to understand it. In this situation, the dreamer can ask characters in the dream anything they want to ask. If a dream feels unfinished, this strategy provides an incredible way to get answers. A passive fantasy is something that might happen as you drive along on a long road trip. Passive fantasies can be valuable, especially if they contain dreamlike material. One must know that these experiences are valuable and should be examined or at least considered as something to examine.

Sometimes the fantasy can be the inner singer. If a song pops into your head for no apparent reason and you’re not sure why, it is a good idea to pay close attention to the words, because they are almost always relevant to something going on in your life.

The image is the scene. It is what the various pictures conjure up in your head as you read the dream. It is the picture your mind conjures up in your mind’s eye. Images are snapshots of scenes. Images are pictures. The image from our first dream might be seeing the scene of a lake with two boys fishing and a man watching them. That is an image. The picture you see in your mind as I describe that scene is the image—your image. Symbols can create images. For example, the sea is a body of water, and water is a symbol. Sometimes symbols create the image.

The theme consists of a few words that describe the dream in a nutshell. The theme captures its cognitive essence. There can be more than one theme. Some themes are like a genre of a movie. (For example, a scary dream might be a “thriller.” Are you being chased by something scary? The theme might be, “I can’t get away.” The dead sea dream we are working on might have a theme of being stuck—unable to go. The dead sea dream also has another theme, that is, the idea of the tension of opposites, a hallmark Jungian idea. The boys were free, yet captive. They were fishing but not really, because there are no fish—fishing without fishing. My sense of a dream’s theme and yours might be different, but it doesn’t matter. They are both right but always concede to the person who had the dream. The dreamer knows.

Other common themes: People often have dreams of being in school for an important test, but they did not know about it, and they did not study. The theme might be “I’m in trouble.”

An “Oh, no” dream. Falling dreams are common. Falling dreams are like a genre. It is simply a falling dream. Something is trying to get your attention with a bam! Wake up before it’s too late!

Dreams of being killed. The theme can be more about the method and where the fatal wound occurs in the body. Beheaded, shot in the heart, shot in the back, throat cut. These methods of dying in dreams are metaphors for what is going on in the person’s life. So, the theme is often simply those few words. It was a beheading dream. It is a shot-in-the-back dream. This all might be pointing out the obvious, but slowing down and thinking about the dream and its theme can start to make immediate connections to your life.

Emotions are usually self-explanatory, but it is helpful to identify the feeling. The emotion is not overt; it is experienced internally by the dreamer. The dead sea dream might conjure up feelings of helplessness or confusion. No emotion is mentioned. In fact, this dream is lifeless just like the characters in it. The scary dreams are easy; that would be fear. The dream of being unprepared for a test in school causes feelings of anxiety and fear. The emotions can sometimes guide you to a thought. If you are afraid in a dream, you might think, “I’m weak.” The emotion that emerges for being unprepared for an important test at school is anxiety or disappointment. These emotions might create the thoughts: I’m stupid, or I’m a loser, or I’m in trouble, etc.

The motif is less robust but important enough to note and consider for interpretation. For example, in the dead sea dream, the motif might be the boys are free and not free. OR the statement, “They won’t go. They prefer to stay.” Not sure what that means, but often statements like that resonate with the dreamer, and they know exactly what these motifs in the dream mean in the context of their life.

This list is the basic anatomy of the dreamwork that I have used over the years, in addition to the three-part structure that provides the settings and characters along with the story, the conflict and finally the resolution of the story or lack of resolution. You are now armed with the anatomy and new understanding of these components of the dream.

Different Types of Dreams

Jung would call certain dreams “Big Dreams These dreams use archetypal images and usually are remembered throughout the life span. These dreams are often remembered without writing them down. As the person ages, the “big” dream has a different meaning. The archetypal dream has many meanings, often simultaneously. They often leave the dreamer with a numinous experience, as if they have been touched by God or the universe. They have encountered something greater than themselves.

Archetypal dreams and symbols

If you look at any dictionary of symbols, most of the objects you find there are archetypal.

For example, a serpent or snake, a sword, water, blood, certain numbers — 4, 3, 8. Geometric figures, circle and square. The hero, the villain, the trickster, colors, planets, etc.

Common archetypal themes could be war, lust or sex, death and destruction, greed, spring, Christmas. A holy quest is an archetypal journey. The list is almost endless.

The other dreams are personal dreams that deal with events of the day. The car is often symbolic for our ego; it is what we use to get around in the world. However, if you are an auto mechanic and dream about a car, it may be a symbol for the ego, or it may be more personal, processing something from a day at work.

Finally, there are, on rare occasions, pre-cognitive dreams. These are dreams that tell the future. The dreamer might have a dream that someone they love died in a car crash. Usually, this does not mean the loved one will be in a car crash. More often, the dream is about you “crashing” somewhere in your life, and the characteristics you might possess that are like this loved one in a dream is a hint at where your crash is occurring. But sometimes the loved one does have a crash, and the dream did predict it. Again, this is rare. If it does happen, first it might be a coincidence. Second, one can have an inflated sense of self if they believe they can foretell the future.

The chronological age of the dreamer is important to consider. Younger people have a focus directed toward making a place in the world. They have a strong link to material things and the outer world. Older people begin to withdraw, as they have already made their place in it. It is a more sublime look inward and coming to terms with what is next. Reconciling with God.

We already have already established the three-part structure.

  1. We broke down the dream verbatim into three parts.
  2. Now take each part and make a commentary—a thought or thoughts that come to you from reading the dream a second time.
  3. This commentary can be questions you might have.
  • What is the exposition trying to tell you?
  • A man has two boys at a lake fishing. Why two boys?
  • They are not fishing, and they do not seem to be related to each other.
  • Why a lake? Why fishing? What does fishing mean?
  • Why are there no girls or women in the dream?
  1. What is the problem/tension/conflict?

There are no fish. They seem to be prisoners who are free to go but choose to stay in this empty existence. The tension of opposites: The boys are in prison and not in prison simultaneously. They are fishing but not fishing at the same time.

5. What is the resolution?

  • They remain in this situation of fishing in a dead sea with no fish.
  • There is no resolution; it is a dream of waiting. How does this story end? We do not know.


What are the symbols in this dream?

  • Fishing
  • Dead sea water (with no fish)
  • Cages
  • All men in the dream — Animus is present in the dream.
  • Old man
  • Two boys
  • Two
  • Boys, a pair, duality — fishing and not fishing. Prisoners but not prisoners; they are free to go.


What are the emotions? Helpless, stuck, confused

What is the theme? Stuck, unable to go; the opposites. Fruitful on the surface. Desolate under the surface.

What is the image? The sea and shore. Seeing the cages. Seeing little boys fishing. The image might seem like the man is a caring father, but he is a captor. He is not a father, but is a father in the image. He is not a prisoner but lives in a cage. Opposites.

What is the motif?   Free but not free. They choose to stay. They don’t mind not catching anything. A worthless vocation.

Dream amplification

With this new understanding, let’s look at the mechanics of dream amplification.

Dream amplification is exactly that: You expand the dream by exploring its symbols.

To begin, it is best to sit quietly and let your mind contemplate the symbol. You can do this with pen and notebook in your lap. It is ok to write while you contemplate. Sit quietly. This is not meditation, it is just an attempt to stop the distractions of the day. Just a few minutes to quiet the noise in your head and try to recall the dream. You are the one who has the answer to the mystery locked.

The first example below demonstrates the correct way to amplify a symbol and a good place to start. This technique is followed by the second diagram, the incorrect way to amplify and work with a symbol. You do not have to make a diagram; you can just make a list of ideas. You can write the ideas in a journal in paragraph form. This is your journey, so document it any way you prefer. I would encourage you not to use any electronics in this process. It is best to touch a pen and paper to create this document in your own hand, not though a keyboard-to-screen approach. It is sacred work. There is nothing sacred about digital storage and plastic.

You may have many more associations with a symbol than the five in the example. The diagrams below are just to demonstrate the right and the wrong way to begin the amplification process. The more associations the better. You must always return to the symbol for an association. Each of the five associations is generated by the stimulus “fishing.” Fish-water/fish-productive/fish-apostle/fish-food/fish-fulfilling.

The Proper Way to Amplify a Symbol

The example below describes how not to amplify a symbol. In this example, the symbol creates an association, food, which is correct. Then, however, the next association is not from fishing. In this example, food is the stimulus word, which is associated to pizza. Do not generate an association from an association. Always return to the original dream symbol for the next association. Do not do this: Fishing-food-pizza-Italy-spaghetti-Grandma Marie (makes the best spaghetti)

The Improper Way to Expand on a Symbol

You can see how ridiculous it can get by chaining association of an association to an association. Next thing they’ll be at Grandma Marie’s, who makes the best spaghetti. Never generate your association from an association. This incorrect way to work with dreams will take you into the abyss and completely in the wrong direction. Always go back to the symbol as the stimulus for the association. Of course, there may be genuine associations related to relevant associations, but these links appear in the interpretation phase, not in this “looking for something to click with the symbol” phase.

You are now armed with the basic skills needed to start unlocking the meaning of your dreams. Next we will be able to deliver our initial comprehensive interpretation.


https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/anatomy-of-the-dream/feed 0
Dr. Dobo to sign books at September conference https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/conference https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/conference#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 17:48:56 +0000 http://www.www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=15780 Dr. Andrew Dobo will be signing his book Unburdening Souls at the Speed of Thought and offering information about EMDR Educators of Florida’s training programs at the National Conference of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association.

The conference takes place Sept. 21-23 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Dr. Dobo will be an exhibitor. Learn more at HealingDividedHearts.com.

About the book

Unburdening Souls at the Speed of Thought: Psychology, Christianity, and the Transforming Power of EMDR is about the transformative journey to wholeness that was modeled by Christ and is accelerated by a ground-breaking therapy known as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). You will see an emotionally scarred surfer recover from the ultimate loss, the tragic death of his son. You will learn how dreams and images gave subjects the courage to change careers and enrich their lives. And you will discover how a woman accessed a buried traumatic memory during a therapy session and gained an enduring sense of peace.

The process described in psychologist Dr. Andrew J. Dobo’s book occurs in six stages, which are mirrored by six moments Christ modeled in his Passion. Psychology and religion collide in the book’s incredible tales, which move from despair to hope, hate to love, and fear to contentment. This is a book that will give hope to those suffering mental anguish as they are exposed to a new map of the soul modeled by Christ and shared by psychology. It shows how survivors of trauma can heal and overcome negative beliefs about themselves. It’s for those who want to better understand the workings of the soul and for those who do not even imagine such a thing exists. And it will fascinate any reader interested in the power of the mind.

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/conference/feed 0
Dream amplification and interpretation: an ancient skill for the new millennium https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/dream-amplification https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/dream-amplification#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 01:35:01 +0000 http://www.www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/?p=15752 The following is an excerpt from Dr. Dobo’s work in progress, Transformational EMDR: A Death Rebirth Sequence in Six Stages.

Dream work is much like other lifelong artistic endeavors: One lifetime is not enough. Fortunately, in this six-stage transformational EMDR process, the dreams seem to follow consistent themes in each stage; therefore, it is much easier to understand them. Much easier than if a friend asks you to interpret a dream without knowing anything about what is going on in his/her life.

Three Important Rules as We Begin

1. Write the dream down. It is essential to bring the dream out of the mysterious world of the unconscious and into the three-dimensional world of time and space. You need to have a dream to interpret. Writing them down is the only way you will remember them. It is the only way you can ponder and work with them. Bring them into the three-dimensional world, not the two-dimensional world of your cellphone or iPad. Write it with pen and paper.

2. Take your dreams seriously and spend time trying to understand them. As you read this chapter you will develop skills that will make it easier to understand your dreams, in fact, it will make it exciting and fulfilling to spend time in this endeavor. In doing so, you will discover just how meaningful and serious this work is for you.

People say, “I do not dream” or “I do not remember my dream.” If the inner dreamer provides important dreams only to have them ignored, it will stop providing a memory of them. If you are rested at night and go into REM, you dream. As you read this chapter, you will see just how much time it takes to examine a dream comprehensively. You will also feel the rewards of understanding them with great accuracy. You will have a sense of accomplishment as you begin to understand this new language. You will also understand yourself in ways that you never would have imagined.

3. Keep a pen and paper next to your bed to record it. I will discuss the documenting of the dream in more detail later and make some suggestions in this regard in a later chapter. Even if you scribbled a few words in the middle of the night, you usually will remember the entire dream. If you don’t write it down, you will almost always forget it minutes after waking up to begin your day.

The Structural Characteristics of the Dream

Dreams usually have a consistent three-part structure, but not always. We might think of this three-part structure as the vessel in which the contents of the dream live. This structure is the skeleton of the dream. You might find this hard to believe, because most people just say, “Dreams are weird.” This, however, is only because most people have no understanding of dreams. This is a sad state of affairs, because dreams are not weird; dreams are brilliant, mysterious and a wonderful resource throughout the life span. The dream’s truth and wisdom is there for the taking.

Dreams have a definite beginning, a middle and an end, although these things are not always immediately apparent.

Carl Jung believed that the dreams are a force of nature, a natural phenomenon. Dreams are not moral. The dream does not care if you die in the dream or live. It just shows you the truth. There is nothing more natural than something with a beginning, a middle and an end. Our lives can be seen in three stages. Sex has three stages — beginning; middle, when intensity increases; and resolution. Literature and music have forms that are in three stages. The Catholic Mass has three parts. You do not have to look hard for this natural three-stage phenomenon; it is everywhere.

Most dreams can be understood in this three-stage structure. It is important for you to be able to identify each stage as you examine the dream. Identifying each stage is your first task in this process of dream analysis. We must first examine the dream; the structure is first followed by a detailed examination of the content of the dream. Only then can we give an accurate interpretation of the dream. Once it is broken into the three stages, it is much easier to examine and digest. This examination is done one part at a time.

The Three-Part Structure

Part I: The Introduction or The Exposition — “The scene opens.”
The exposition consists of two things: the scene or setting and the characters. The characters are not always human; often they are animals or unearthly beings. You will be surprised how often the first sentence of a documented dream sets the scene as if the curtain has just gone up, and the actors are there to deliver their first lines. Do not overthink this. Trust that the dream has a beginning and it is the first sentence or two of the dream you recorded and decided to examine.

Part II: The conflict or problem – This middle section is where all the action happens.
The plot is revealed, tensions build, and the story begins to play out. Jungians call it the peripeteia, that is, a sudden reversal of fortune. The drama begins often with building tensions as the story develops.

Part III: The resolution — This is the lysis, that is a gradual decline of tensions.
It can resolve itself or it can lead to calamity. The dream can also end without resolution. It is not the unconscious that creates the end of the story. Remember, the inner dreamer reports the news, it does not create it. It simply expresses what is going on in the dreamer’s life. The dream does not lie. It is not capable of deceit. If you want to know the truth about yourself, begin to attend to your dreams. When you divide the dream into these three parts, you do not make any commentary. Use the exact words from the dream that you recorded and divide those words into three sections.

In summary, as you examine a documented dream, almost without exception, the first sentence or two reveal the exposition; the proverbial curtain rises. You immediately have the setting and the main characters. Then something starts to happen—the conflict or tension of the story plays out. Finally, there is the resolution or lack of resolution. These are the three parts of the dreams structure.

Let’s examine a dream and break it down into these three structural sections.

The Dream
A man has two boys fishing at a lake.
An older man comes by and asks, “Why are you fishing here? Don’t you know there are no fish in this lake; it’s a dead sea.”
The man responds, “These boys like to come out here to fish. They don’t care if they don’t catch anything.”
The old man asks, “What are those two cells, those cages on the shore there?”
He answers, “That’s where these boys live.”

“Why do you keep them captive in cages?”
“I don’t keep them captive, the cell door is never locked. They can leave anytime they want, but they choose to stay here and fish in this dead sea.” The dream ends.

Identifying the three stages of the dream

1. What part of the dream is the exposition?
A man has two boys fishing at a lake. (Scene and characters)

2. What is the problem/tension/conflict?
An old man comes by questioning and informing, “Why are you fishing here? Don’t you know there are no fish in this lake; it’s a dead sea.”
The man responds, “These boys like to come out here to fish, they don’t care if they don’t catch anything.”
The old man asks, “What are those two cells, those cages on the shore there?”
He answers, “That’s where these boys live.”

“Why do you keep them captive in cages?” (Plot—story unfolds)

3. What is the resolution?
“I don’t keep them captive, the cell door is never locked. They can leave anytime they want to but they choose to stay here and fish in this dead sea.”

Exploring the content or anatomy of the dream

Now that we understand the three-part structure of a dream, let’s explore the contents of the dream. The contents give the dream life. Just like a human has a structural skeleton and organs that make the person a living thing, well, the same is true with dreams. The anatomy of the content of the dream is what gives the dream life.

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/dream-amplification/feed 0
The Power of EMDR an Astrological Perspective https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/power-emdr-astrological-perspective https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/power-emdr-astrological-perspective#respond Sun, 10 Aug 2014 08:22:10 +0000 http://andrewdobo.com/?p=334 Leslie McGuirk, internationally renowned astrologer, author, and artist discusses why EMDR is such a powerful tool for many of her clients. She agreed to be a guest blogger on my site. Her thoughts are below:

As a professional Astrologer, the number one thing I suggest, to my clients who have experienced traumas, or patterns that they can’t seem to break, is EMDR.  I have over 30 years experience with reading Astrology charts, and I have clients all over the world.  I often see situations and patterns that my clients can’t seem to change on their own.  It is like a needle getting stuck in a groove on a record in a record player.  Regular talk therapy is like talking about the needle being stuck in the groove.  It can be useful to understand that this is a problem.  However, EMDR physically lifts that needle so that the record is no longer stuck in that one place.  There is nothing else that heals at this deep physical and emotional level. I have sent many clients to EMDR practioners around the world and all of them have been profoundly grateful.  An Astrologer can only see patterns.  With EMDR the pattern can actually be broken.  It is an invaluable tool and one that more people need to know about!


https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/power-emdr-astrological-perspective/feed 0
“Did You Say Your Astrologer Referred You To Me?” https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/say-astrologer-referred https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/say-astrologer-referred#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:25:19 +0000 http://andrewdobo.com/?p=324 As a psychologist, a scientific-practitioner, imagine my surprise when a parade of new clients arrived at my door and stated that they were referred to me by their Astrologer. Who? Huh? What?

Most of them are very knowledgeable about Astrology and speak that language fluently. Sometimes they will share their chart with me that looks like something from an ancient alchemical manuscript. They start by describing their chart in astrological terms saying something like, “Well, unfortunately, I have a lot of air in my chart with no earth, and my mother is in my first house with no sun. (This isn’t accurate or exactly what they say, I’m just doing my best to demonstrate what this language sounds like, and remember, I do not know anything about astrology, so astrology experts, forgive me.)

As I have said, I do not understand what any of this means, but then they’ll say something like, “So therefore my mother preferred my brother to me.” Oh, so that’s why they were referred. That’s all I needed to hear, and I know exactly where to begin. This client is here because “they’re not good enough” a common negative core belief that EMDR reconciles. Perfect, let’s get to work.

I might add, the clients she sends are very open to EMDR and to the process of change. They are a pleasure to work with as they are very committed and courageous in this work.

These clients catch on quickly to my astrological ignorance and often invite me to learn about it. They recommend books and bring me handouts. They are very kind, wanting me to explore that world, but I usually say I have my hands full with psychology and theology; I do not need any more “ologies” in my life at this time.

I do have a new, albeit cautious, respect for Astrology and especially the Astrology Ms. Leslie McGuirk practices, which seems to be extraordinarily accurate in diagnosing a need that EMDR can heal. After so many referrals, I met with her, and she explained a little about what she does. She explained, “I don’t tell the future. I just need to know the place, time, and date of birth of the person, and I go to work. I only see them once. Many times I don’t even meet them, it’s all done by telephone.” “It’s a one-time thing. I would never read a chart and start telling people what to do tomorrow or next year; that’s not what I do.”

Ms. Leslie McGuirk is a nationally known Astrologer if you would like to know more about her and her work see her blog at luckystarsastrology.com.  She has a new book that will be out soon. See details on her site. Also, she has agreed to do a guest blog to explain a bit more about why she feels EMDR is a wonderful adjunct to her astrological work so stay tuned.




https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/say-astrologer-referred/feed 5
Jung, EMDR, Soul, and Other Four Letter Profanities https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/jung-emdr-soul-four-letter-profanities https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/jung-emdr-soul-four-letter-profanities#respond Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:47:08 +0000 http://andrewdobo.com/?p=308 I am proposing the possibility that perhaps psychology has lost its way. But so has just about everything else. We are all somewhat a slave to someone’s bottom-line. As one trained as a composer in the 70s, I tend to get much of my inspiration from artists. Let me quote one of America’s Greatest Poets as a place to start, and then I’ll make my case. A short excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s “The Little Gidding”

We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.

I have had this feeling recently about many things in my life. I have come to accept many things deeply, things that I only superficially understood thirty or even forty years ago. I have explored and traveled far from where I began, and then returned to the same place, but now it feels like I really do know it, and if I do not know it, I can at least accept it.

As a psychologist, I was introduced to the world of psychology from the writings of C. G. Jung and some Jungian writers who I continue to read, respect, and love. This introduction began in my early twenties, as I studied music, which I was passionate about. During this time, I became increasingly interested in religion and psychology. I began to record and work with my dreams trying to understand Jungian psychology and myself. I continue this practice today. From this inner exploration, I had many mystical and synchronistic experiences.

How does one describe these experiences? They are the moments in my life that I can never forget. They make me feel connected to something greater than myself, to something that seems to be looking out for me, to keep me on track. Imagine my surprise at mid-life when I had the opportunity to return to school to become a psychologist and was told there was not one class on dreams. There was little or no discussion of the unconscious mind. There were exceptions of course, but mostly it was learning to collect symptoms, diagnose, write a treatment plan, and administer treatment. The mystery and wonder were difficult to find in graduate school. I just kept these things I held so true and valuable, like dreams, synchronistic events, and active imagination sessions that have transformed me during the first half of my life, all to myself.

When Jung or dreams were mentioned most professors had not much to say. They’d say something like, “Just score this MMPI by Friday, so we can discuss the results.” It’s as if I spoke a terrible profanity. I think psychology has made incredible scientific strides. I respect and appreciate the empirical approach. I use EMDR every day in my work, which is a highly scientific, and greatly researched approach. I am forever grateful for the brilliant and careful way Francine Shapiro has stewarded her discovery out into the world.

I have noticed that EMDR sometimes brings people to, what Jung would call, an encounter with their collective unconscious. As you will see as I continue through these next pages, that everything Jung describes as the process of psychological transformation occurs during comprehensive EMDR work.

Once all the original symptoms are resolved, chaos and confusion sets in giving rise to an entirely new set of problems and struggles. This occurs because as EMDR heals the client, it also begins to dismantle their negative core belief. Not only does it dismantle this old view, but it shifts this negative belief that drives their every decision to the positive, adaptive, and authentic core belief. Clients rarely know how to live their lives with such a sudden dismantling of their old world view. It doesn’t matter that it was an incorrect view that created havoc in his or her life; it was their view, and it’s all they knew or understood for their entire life. I cannot go into the details of this struggle here, but it is all laid out in my book.

It is during this in-between stage of chaos and confusion that Jungian psychology and techniques become essential. Jung knew all about this, and I imagine this is not news to Jungian analysts; however, more mainstream psychology programs have no interest in this. It’s to “New Age-ie” or something. The first client that this happened to, confused me. I thought we were finished. Everything that we had set up as treatment goals had been accomplished. Success, right? Wrong. The client was experiencing a rather severe loss of identity, filled with a sense of confusion, depression, and internal chaos.

Hmm, no one told me about this one. Really? After all the EMDR sessions and all the initial symptoms are gone there’s more to do?

Jung said, “chaos is the fundamental ingredient of psychological transformation” (Collected Works Vol. 14 Paragraph 252). Well was I glad to read that line. As the client moves out of this period of chaos and confusion, which can only be done through contemplative activities by the client, the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel begins to emerge. This cannot happen without a total surrender to the process. This work must be done without intention. The only intention is to surrender to the discovery of what one finds there and accepts it as their truth and their reality.

Jung again tells us, “Do you still not know that the way to truth stands open only to those without intention?” (Red Book, p. 236b) I realized this long before I read this passage in the Red Book.

EMDR is extremely compatible with the Jungian model at this stage. You cannot successfully do EMDR without a complete surrender to the process. If you try to control it, if you enter it with intention, you will fail. Jung warns of this with active imagination as well. He warns that one should not use images of people who are real, even if they happened to be in your dream. Using a known person may be a self-serving approach and most likely ego driven, therefore, dangerous. No, these inner encounters with the collective unconscious that are facilitated and accelerated by EMDR, must be done without intention. EMDR is this stage of the work is like Jungian Analytic Psychology on steroids. Shadow material becomes available quickly.

You see this is what it means to lose your life to save it. This is what it means to be born again. Step one, the crucifixion of the old self. Step two a period of chaos and confusion, and step three a chance at the rebirth, the resurrection, the banquet. There is no other way. Those who spout, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my own personal savior” if they really mean that, then they should hold on to their hats because that road lead through a period of chaos and confusion.

Morton T. Kelsey said in his book titled Resurrection that, “People who claim to have had an experience of Christ, which only made them feel wonderful, full of goose bumps and happy, may be imagining a Christ of their own making. Christ forces us to deal honestly with ourselves and thus makes it possible for us to deal honestly with others” (Resurrection, page 192). EMDR requires honesty. You may not want to look at some of the things, but you will see them and their effects on your life in the processing. You will acknowledge them, accept them, feel them, and be free of them.

It is a sad thing really, Jung once said that the discovery of the unconscious mind is as significant a discovery for psychology, as radioactivity is to physics. Physics continues to investigate and utilize radiation, but the unconscious mind has been dismissed as nothing one has to worry much about. What you can’t see can’t hurt you right? Of course, there’s money to be made with radiation not so much with stuff like the human soul, the mysterious nature of the psyche, so let’s distill it down to its simplest form. Better yet, let’s just act as if it doesn’t exist.

I have seen far too many mystical things happen to my clients during EMDR sessions as well as the processing sessions in between. I have experienced them myself. I am convinced that their reality is as real if not more real than anything one can quantify and measure. So perhaps psychology should do what I did, what T. S. Eliot said we all should do, and that is after all the exploring, we should return to where it all began, (the unconscious mind), and maybe there will be a sense of really knowing and understanding it for the first time. I’ll close with another artist, a poet, William Carlos Williams who wrote:

It is difficult to get news from poems
yet people die miserably everyday
from the lack of what is found there.

I hope we will learn to bring the poetry back into many vocations not only psychology. Perhaps we can push back against the worshiping of the bottom line.

https://www.emdreducatorsoffl.com/jung-emdr-soul-four-letter-profanities/feed 0