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#1894 - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Featured is Part 5 of the review/summary of The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, edited by John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila Krystal. Information about this book is available at http://www.paragonhouse.com/catalog/product_info.php?authors_id=218&products_id=315
There is also a press release for a new book and an introduction to a Guru with whom I hadn't been familiar.
The In Nonduality Salon series will resume in the next issue.
The Sacred Mirror
Chapter 5. A Nondual Approach to EMDR: Psychotherapy as Satsang, by Sheila Krystal
Introduction: Psychotherapy as Satsang
This section lays out the nondual approach to therapy. These are the main points from this section. They could be elaborated with material from preceding and following chapters to form a more complete listing of foundational points, and the reviewer will do that at a later time:
-- Nondual therapy has roots in traditional spiritual discipline: Dzogchen, Advaita, Taoism, Kabbalism, mystical Christianity
-- Nondual psychotherapy is a coming together of therapist and client in a way that is like satsang (association with truth).
-- Nondual psychotherapy begins dualistically or conventionally with identification and description of the client's problems and the development of a personal history.
-- In the nondual approach to therapy there is the absence of promotion of method, theory and mind. "The Self meets itself in the sacred mirror of satsang."
-- Though no method is promoted, methods that are part of the therapist's repertoire are used. Their use arises spontaneously within the moment. They are not held to any more than a sip of tea at an appropriate time is held to as method. It arises. The therapist's focus is on that which exists prior to thought and emotion. It is naturally on Presence.
-- The practice of nondual psychotherapy can be a sadhana or spiritual practice for the therapist.
-- Over a period of time the client comes to rest in Presence and the idea of the problem becomes deconstructed in that space.
EMDR and Nondual Wisdom
EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. For the reader who has some familiarity with EMDR, this chapter gives an excellent, sometimes sizzling, introduction. Having no knowledge at all of EMDR or the associated terminology, I had to search online for background information, which helped me more fully appreciate what Krystal has compiled. There is a good article at http://netpsych.com/health/emd.htm: "(Francine) Shapiro, an unknown clinical psychology graduate student, discovered EMDR (in 1987) while walking through a park in California, preoccupied with old memories and disturbing thoughts. She discovered that as her eyes moved rapidly back and forth, her memories seemed to dissolve spontaneously. Amazed, she experimented with 70 volunteers, obtained similar results, and then organized a formal research study one year later."
EMDR today is far more intricate and comprehensive than when it was first developed. It consists of eight phases, described in the article at the above link:
"The first phase involves taking a client history to evaluate the suitability for treatment. The clients ability to deal with high levels of disturbance, the amount of external stress in his or her life, and medical conditions are all considered. The treatment plan is then designed.
"Phase two is the preparation phase, in which the clinician introduces the client to EMDR procedures, explains EMDR theory, establishes expectations about treatment effects, and prepares the client for possible between-session disturbance. At this point, clinicians often give the client an audiotape of relaxation exercises so that he or she can use it before beginning the EMDR sessions and between sessions. Guided imagery and relaxation are occasionally used during the sessions to facilitate the clients ability to deal with the recalled memories.
"Phase three is assessment, which includes identifying the memory and an image that best represents that memory. Then the client chooses a negative cognition that he or she has in relation to the event, such as 'I am useless/bad/unlovable'. The client then identifies a positive cognition to replace the negative one, such as 'I am worthwhile/a good person/lovable' and rates how much he or she believes this positive statement using the 7-point Validity of Positive Cognition (VOC) scale. Then, the image and the negative cognition are combined, and the client rates his or her level of disturbance on the 10-point Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS).
"The fourth phase involves desensitization. The client focuses on the negative affect and follows the clinicians rapidly moving fingers, sweeping back and forth approximately 12 to 14 inches. The procedure is repeated in sets ranging from 10 seconds to longer than a minute, until the SUDS level is reduced to 0 or 1. Recently, it has been noted that eye movement is not necessarily needed, because similar results have been found by tapping alternate hands on a chair rest or broadcasting alternating tones in a clients ear. Any of these strategies can be implemented at this point. It is also emphasized that these initial sets are often not sufficient for complete processing and that other strategies and advanced EMDR procedures may be needed to restimulate processing.
"Phase five is the installation phase, which focuses on cognitive restructuring. Here, the positive cognition is strengthened in order to replace the negative belief. The client holds the positive belief with the image in his or her mind and the eye movement sets are continued until the client rates the positive cognition at a 6 or 7 on the VOC scale. After linking the positive cognition with the target memory, an associative bond is created. Thus, the client believes the positive cognition when remembering the previously disturbing image.
"In phase six, the client holds the image and the positive cognition in his or her mind and scans the body in order to identify any tension. These body sensations are then targeted during the following sets of eye movements or alternative desensitization techniques.
"Phase seven is closure, which includes a debriefing reminding the client that he or she may experience disturbing images, thoughts, or emotions between sessions. The client is told that this is a positive sign and is often asked to keep a log or journal about negative thoughts, situations, dreams, and memories that may occur. If the client is not debriefed, there is a danger of decompensation or, in an extreme case, suicide.
"Phase eight is reevaluation, which is implemented at the beginning of each new session. Previously accessed targets are brought back and the clients responses are reviewed to assess if the treatment effects have been maintained. New images or memories are then targeted following the eight-step procedure."
EMDR is a controversial technique that produces long-lasting positive effects in some patients.
There are many other articles about EMDR available online, as well as books by Dr. Shapiro that one could obtain.
Since the author of the chapter under review, Sheila Krystal, reports on her own newly developed form of EMDR -- Transpersonal EMDR -- and describes its protocol step by step, it would have been of value for the reader unfamiliar with EMDR to be made aware of the step by step protocol of classic EMDR, as has been listed above.
EMDR was originally used to treat trauma but is now used to treat all clinical compaints. I've strung together some quotations from this section by Krystal on nondual wisdom and EMDR:
"EMDR is useful in dissolving fixated attachments and in bringing to the surface unconscious distractions, often associated with trauma, from present awareness of Self. As clients' mindfulness develops, they begin to discern more clearly and quickly when awareness has become distracted from itself. Clients learn to come back from suffering and dysfuntion to the eternal present, underlying peace. They learn that life takes care of itself effortlessly in the moment. ... In EMDR therapy, behavior modification and symptom removal are often the results of treatment. The mind is directly influenced, filtering out reactivity and intense emotions so that the client is more peaceful... . ... From the nondual perspective, EMDR reprocessing can invite entrainment via the interconnectedness of the therapist and client and can naturally recondition the client around the universal themes of impermanence, trust in Self, nonabidance in the mind, loving kindness, forgiveness, compassion, freedom, creativity, well-being, detachment, and the renunciation of habitual preoccupations of mind. ... EMDR gives clients the direct experience of emotions arising out of nothing, growing, peaking, subsiding, and disappearing into emptiness. ... (Clients) learn to disidentify from the personality's vicissitudes of thought and emotion and to identify with a deeper stratum of Being. Although formless, it goes by all names and shows up as all forms, so call it awareness, openness, or Presence; it is eternal and provides the only true security."
It is clear from the above quotations that EMDR supports the arising of nondual awareness.
A Transpersonal EMDR Protocol
Realizing the nondual effectiveness of EMDR in her practice, Krystal redefined the acronym to "eye movement disidentification (from the self and its apparent problems) and recognition (of the one Self)."
Krystal likens EMDR to an alchemical container which structures the therapy session so that the "great work" can simmer and the spontaneous arise. The protocol does not impose form but flexes and evolves as the client deepens in nondual awareness. Even with that intimacy between method and nondual perception, Krystal asserts that EMDR is not to be limited to transpersonal psychotherapy, nor is it to become established as method of "nondual EMDR." She says, "It is a suggested form to help discover and dissolve distractions from the formless." Since both client and therapist mingle in the alembic of the EMDR protocol, satsang is promoted. That is, both client and therepist benefit from the protocol.
In this section of the chapter the protocol for Transpersonal EMDR is described. Enough detail is given, along with a bibliographical reference to the complete protocol, so that a potential client or practitioner can decide whether or not to pursue their interest in the nondual approach to EMDR. In any case, the reader becomes informed and will probably find resonance with the author's approach and her commitment to Transpersonal EMDR as a vessel for transformation.
Both classic and Transpersonal EMDR were used to treat phobias and traumas experienced by a 55 year old professional, successful woman who had had "plenty of therapy" over the years. The results were beneficial and long-lasting. Details of the client's problems and verbatim transcripts from the sessions are given. The client reported:
"I have had a radical alteration of consciousness which is not a small leap. My normal fear state is not what it used to be. I've lost it. I can't find anything to be afraid about. Fear just comes from images in my mind. There is a bigger opening."
Krystal concludes, "I hope that this chapter shows that nondual wisdom enhances and transforms any form of psychotherapy." Krystal has clearly demonstrated that.
~ ~ ~
The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, edited by John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila Krystal. Information about this book is available at http://www.paragonhouse.com/catalog/product_info.php?authors_id=218&products_id=315
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V. V. Brahmam
Sri Brahmam was born in 1944. Since childhood he always questioned the purpose of life, knowing that everybody will eventually die. When he was about six years old, the mantra "Om Nama Sivaya" arose naturally in him and kept repeating inside spontaneously at all times.
At the age of 25 he saw a photograph of Ramana Maharishi at a friend's house. He was strongly attracted and immediately travelled to Tiruvannamalai to the Ramana Ashram at the foot of the Arunachala Hill. So far he hadn't read any books about spirituality and hadn't met any spiritual teacher or guru. He was a very pure young man - he hadn't been influenced by duality of the world, since the mantra was always repeating inside. Once he arrived at the Meditation Hall of the Ramana Ashram, he sat in front of Ramana Maharishi's photo. In his heart he fully surrendered to Ramana and gave up all his desires. A strong force pulled him inwards, his breath and thoughts stopped and silence and peace filled him completely. After he got up, thoughts gradually came back, but inside there was no attachment to them. This state was new to the young school teacher. He went to Sauris, whom many people regarded as an enlightened being and was told that his Self-Realization was completed. His life was transformed. Within the following period of his life the remaining tendencies, desires and attachments were destroyed by the grace of the Self for ever. Only the Self remains.
People who are lucky enough to come in front of Sri Brahmam experience deep inner silence, peace and bliss. There are no words which can express this Peace - Self - God or Love.
~ ~ ~
Advice for being in self-abidance
Be quiet. See the mind as it is. Grace action starts. Then Peace occupies your Heart. Then be still. The Grace of Self burns all your tendencies. No question or any practice is needed. You already reached the destination. That is the Source of thought. If you lose your Awareness, immediately sleep, deep sleep or thought will come. Stop just for a few seconds, see the covering, and immediately Awareness will come. Then if you question, 'To Whom?', and wait, the question and thought will vanish. Again we will get Peace. Then be quiet and still.
While you are in Peace, see the experiencer of that Peace or question, 'Who is that experiencer?'. The experiencer will disappear. But it rises again and again. As and when it rises, see it with Peace and Awareness or question, 'Who Am I?', until it burns. When the seer or the experiencer or the questioner burns permanently - that is Jeevanmukti (Self Realization).
--V. V. Brahmam
~ ~ ~
Very interesting website: http://www.brahmam.net/
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