Six Stages of Psychological Transformation and The Christian Parallel

by | Feb 27, 2013 | 2 comments

Ok here are the six stages of transformation. This is a bare bones look. These will be compared to six moments that Christ lived that parallel this six stage psychological process. Christ seemed to be concerned with our souls and our psyche’s. Later, we will see what Jung says about such things and then a look at these stages from a Sufism point of view and a Kabbalistic point of view. It is shocking just how alike it all is. Mysticism and psychology follow very similar patterns, and EMDR accelerates the psychological transformation to an almost warp speed.

The psychological stages will not seem remarkable. Jung says in the Red Book that knowledge is superior to argument and reason. He says the soul is where intellect is not. So we start with the intellect, and reason, which is far less interesting than the soul, but a good place to begin. It’s where I begin with my patients. I never talk about religion with my patients unless it’s something they prefer.

In my first excerpt, Georgia was working her way through Stage Three. It can be very dramatic. Simply naming the stages does not do this painful process justice. Each stage is filled with high drama, precisely like each stage experienced by Christ. You can say Christ was born, died, and resurrected but that hardly describes His Passion. So keep that in mind.

The Six Stages of Psychological Transformation

Stage One: Avoidance or denial

Stage Two: Surrender to the reality

Stage Three: The psychological work with EMDR, which dismantles the old self.

Stage Four: Incubation, which is a period of suspended animation. There is a shutting down, a time of confusion, quiet, and chaos sets in. Jung said chaos is a necessary ingredient for psychological transformation—he was right. This is the stage it is experienced.

Stage Five: Rebirth, a view of the new self begins. It’s still uncomfortable because it is unknown. The person sees the world differently, engages the world differently, and determines how they will permit the world to engage them, which is of course–differently. The authentic self begins, and the chaos subsides.

Stage Six: This is an assimilation of the new self. The old way is destroyed, and the new way is embraced, while the old way becomes a distant memory. There is an overwhelming sense of peace that sets in and a sense of unbelievable self-acceptance. There is this previously inconceivable sense of “okay-ness” that is embraced.

The Christian Counterparts to the Six Psychological Stages

Stage One: Avoidance: from the Christian perspective, it is Gethsemane. “Father, if possible can this cup, please pass from Me.” Christ himself asked to avoid his reality even if for a moment.

Stage Two: Surrender: from the Christian perspective, it is Christ accepting His Cross, His Crucifixion and freely surrendering to the work at hand. “Not my will but yours.” He accepted the process and began dismantling the old way.

Stage Three: The Work: from the Christian perspective, it is His Death; His crucifixion.  There is a death process in psychological transformation. Patients often dream of death, dying, destruction in this stage.

Stage Four: Incubation: from the Christian perspective, it is the time in the tomb. Christ descended into hell for three days. It is a time of confusion, chaos, and fear of the unknown. Everything is suspended.

Stage Five: The Rebirth: Christ is resurrected from the dead, and a fresh understanding begins for His followers. The new way has begun.

Stage Six: Assimilation of the new self: This is the Christian Ascension, when Christ takes on His transfigured body, and nothing in the world is ever the same.


  1. Ian

    This is very interesting. I never really thought psychology had much to do with Jesus but this makes a lot of sense. I’m waiting to read more.

  2. Ben

    Such a short synopsis, but it packs a punch. Jung’s point of the soul being separate from the intellect couldn’t be more true. This is great, it confirms what I suspected I’ve been going through, and can more than aid others in overcoming trauma and conditioned pathologies.


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