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The Structure of a Dream

One of the most overlooked features of a dream is that it is functionally a narrative.  In the same way that a movie has a beginning, middle, and end, a dream does as well.  Dreams are telling a story that in some way is related to wholeness.

Why we frequently have difficulty in ascertaining the storyline of a dream is because its language is unfamiliar to us.  We expect a linear rational story which makes immediate sense.  Dreams however are non-linear and not necessarily sequential.  Coupled with strange imagery and visceral impressions, symbols, play on words etc. dreams are like entering a new world with a completely different set of rules and a differing language.

It takes time, patience and a considerable amount of hard work to become adept at dream interpretation.   A first step into understanding how dreams work is to consider that the narrative of a dream has four main […]

By |Friday, September 19th, 2014 |Psychology, Spiritual|0 Comments

Past, Present, Future

The past is already past.
Don’t try to regain it.
The present does not stay.
Don’t try to touch it.

From moment to moment,
The future has not come;
Don’t think about it
Beforehand.

Whatever comes to the eye,
Leave it be.
There are no commandments
To be kept;
There’s no filth to be cleansed.

With empty mind really
Penetrated, the dharma’s
Have no life.

When you can be like this,
You’ve completed
The ultimate attainment.
Layman P’ang (740-808)

By |Friday, September 19th, 2014 |Spiritual|0 Comments

Getting Rid of Identity

Isn’t it ironic that many spiritual seekers are attempting to get rid of their personalities/identities while the Nazi’s were particularly adept at stripping away every aspect of personality and identity? As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

 

Concentration Camp

By |Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 |Psychology, Spiritual|0 Comments

The Other Side of Emotions

We often blindside ourselves by not looking at how emotions can be utilized in different ways.  For example, anger is almost exclusively viewed in very negative terms.  It is a thing to be avoided and when it does rear its head as it inevitably must it has to gotten rid of straight away.  When anger is handled in such a manner, what tends to occur is the opposite effect.  Anger tends to fester and is built up over time which is often the opposite of what we intend.

It is rare that people take the time to utilize anger in constructive ways.  The same applies to other negative emotions.  We do not utilize them rather we allow them to dominate us.

One of the best things we can do to turn things around is to begin to recognize that the ‘negative’ emotions carry with them a beneficial side which is often overlooked.  […]

By |Monday, September 15th, 2014 |Psychology|0 Comments

Francine Shapiro EMDR for Trauma Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Francine Shapiro is the founder and originator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).   EMDR has a lot of good solid scientific research to back up its claims and is often the tool of choice for clinicians working with trauma.  It is also a very good tool for breaking up persistent ingrained long term patterns of behavior.  In the attached video Francine demonstrates EMDR in a counselling session with a client.

Note:  The way I use EMDR with clients is a little different because I have an EMDR machine.  I have also accommodated EMDR to be a little more specific to my style and also incorporated some findings from different research, but generally speaking the video gives a good idea of how EMDR is used in a psychotherapy session.

By |Sunday, September 14th, 2014 |Psychology|0 Comments

Stopping Rumination

Although my emphasis when working on people is depth, sometimes taking a more symptom based approach helps to clear the way for latter depth work.  For example, I have helped a few teenagers with school refusal problems this year.  The school refusal is often a symptom for a deeper underlying issue which the teenager has difficulty in coping with.

Initially, it is good to address the issue of going to school as the longer this aspect of the difficulty is left unaddressed, the harder it will be for the teenager to overcome.   The underlying and deeper problem can be addressed later on in psychotherapy.

The reason why I might place emphasis on the symptomology initially is because of the way the brain works.  When we repeat problematic behaviours they become wired into our brain.  Not going to school becomes a pattern, which in turn gets reinforced in the brain through neural pathways.  […]

By |Saturday, September 13th, 2014 |Psychology|0 Comments

The Woman With a Hole in Her Brain

Technically this should be impossible according to our current understanding of brain functioning.  A woman has reached the age of 24 without anyone realizing she was missing a large part of her brain.   She was missing the Cerebellum.  See the image where the top portion is her brain scan and the bottom a normal brain.

The Cerebellum is the part of the brain is located underneath the two hemispheres. Its function is to coordinate and regulate muscular activity and stability.   It also plays a role in regulating speech.  It is extremely rare and has only been detected 9 times previously.  The advent of new technology has made detection easier, but even then it is a very rare condition.

The malleability of our brains is a remarkable thing, yet the malleability in these cases points to an extreme end of a spectrum.  In other words do not go losing part of your brain!

I […]

By |Friday, September 12th, 2014 |Psychology, Science|0 Comments

How We Read

Accdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe

By |Thursday, September 11th, 2014 |Psychology|0 Comments

Relationship Stereotypes

The short animated film was made by some students at the famous animation school Gobelins.  Its animators describe Mortal Breakup Inferno as “an angry girlfriend’s infernal hunt of the man who broke her heart.”

I suggest viewing it once just as pure entertainment – the animation is brilliant.  Then go back to it and study it a bit more closely.  What are some of the stereotypes this film plays on?  How accurate are they?  Are you able to discern between the accurate ones and the not so accurate ones?  Most importantly, do you play the role of any of the stereotypes in your own life?  These are just some of the questions you could be asking.

By |Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 |Multimedia, Psychology|0 Comments

It May Get Worse Before it Gets Better

When working with a client who in some way has been traumatized or there is some significant issue which needs to be worked through, I tell them that it is likely to get worse before it gets significantly better.

Often, the reason I will say that is because usually there are many powerful emotions and sensations trapped within the psyche.  A way to understand the phenomena is as so.  Consider a child who in some way is being abused, let’s say the child is being physically abused.  When the abuse occurs there are powerful emotions and thoughts which go along with the physical assault.  Because these feelings and thoughts are overwhelming a child might initially dissociate from the assault.  It is a way for the child to survive without breaching psyche to the point of madness/insanity.  For a child it is an appropriate and useful coping strategy given the circumstances.

However, dissociation […]

By |Monday, September 8th, 2014 |Psychology|0 Comments