Tools & Definitions

The following are a representative sample of some of the tools I might utilize as appropriate to a clinical need as well as definitions of terms we typically use on our website and in our practices of Psychotherapy and Hypnosis. Many of the terms also appear in the channeled messages from Jeanne and, in fact, the term Big Baby has been given to us through her insights. Whenever I speak of shamans or shamanic traditions, I am referring solely to the shamans of ancient Mexico, specifically the knowledge taught to Carlos Castaneda by don Juan Matus. This is the only practice of shamanism that I am personally familiar with, having practiced Tensegrity, the magical passes of this lineage, for many years.

Active Imagination

This is a technique developed by Carl Jung, where one interacts directly with different parts of the self to achieve reconciliation and balance. The critical component is a real dialogue between two separate entities, not a dialogue played out alone by the conscious mind. Inner child work, ego states, and parts work all utilize this method to consciously access, process, and reconcile, either fragments of the self, or independent parts of a coordinated self.

Big Baby Factor

We have coined the immature, dependent, self-centered needy side, which exists in all of us, the big baby. It can appear as the saboteur, as resistance, teased out in times of stress or when triggers ignite it, although it can also dominate the adult personality, covertly or overtly. It is an unevolved aspect of the self that overshadows the adult self until it is fully recapitulated, integrated, and laid to quiet rest. Occasionally the big baby wakes up, needs to be acknowledged, tended to, and put back to napping. It interferes in relationships, interactions with others, the ability to function as a mature adult in the world, and often interrupts and delays the inner work. Eventually, when recapitulation is achieved and maintained the big baby recedes, rarely interfering in life. The Jungian analyst Esther Harding coined the term autos, to represent a primitive ego state or a highly narcissistic early ego state, which we feel parallels our concept of the big baby.

Channel

The ability to channel, to volitionally suspend the ego or rational mind, to allow direct connection to energy or energy bodies no longer in human form is an innate potential resident in all humans. This non-rational state allows access to more comprehensive truths and understandings than the boundaries of the rational mind can permit. This ability is most often accessed while in a state of trance, but can also be spontaneously achieved with no preconceived effort or intent.

Dissociative State

A clinical term, dissociation denotes the separation of ego awareness or control from other states of potential awareness and experience. It is accessed in trauma when the ego is suspended, unable to assimilate the experience. This results in memory loss or fragmentation, which requires recapitulation to access and reassemble the whole self.

Dreaming

Passive Dreaming

“The royal road to the unconscious.” — Freud

All people dream. All have the capacity to remember dreams once they intend to remember them. In classical dream interpretation, dreams are explored and analyzed to discover inner truths previously unavailable to consciousness. The key to this wisdom is resonance, an aha moment, where a truth is known and change is now possible.

Active Dreaming

Derived from Native American traditions an individual consciously intends to take on a challenge in a dream, intending and rehearsing a plan prior to sleep. In dreaming the dream ego remembers and carries out the plan, which then leads to a fundamental change in waking life. Here the dream world is utilized as a valid playing field for real change.

Shamanic Dreaming

Shamans have a vast knowledge and experience of the energy body, essentially an energetic option for consciousness. Shamans state that we are, at once, both concrete objects and sheer energy. In fact, modern physics now validates this reality. Many people experience this energetic state at a traumatic moment, i.e.: I watched myself being operated on from the ceiling. Out-of-body travel is part of our evolutionary potential, which can be accessed through intent. Such exploration allows for travel and experiences that may augment one’s energy and knowledge, aiding in the ability to meet challenges in the realm of everyday life. Dreaming is a natural entry point to the energy body and can be cultivated. Many times people inadvertently stumble into energy body states in dreaming, which can be frightening if one lacks knowledge of this natural state.

EMDR — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR caught my attention when I was very focused in the shaman’s world. The magical passes for recapitulation included a sweeping breath, incorporating a bilateral head movement as you breath in and out, reliving your past. EMDR employs a similar bilateral stimulation as one encounters the free flow of experience while processing a past trauma. This mind body technique accesses a definite inborn human potential for resolution and refreshment also evident in REM sleep, where rapid eye movements and dreaming prepare us for the next day. REM deprived sleep for three days creates psychosis. EMDR activates this inborn potential for mind body healing in a conscious state.

Energy body

Ultimately, everything is energy. The life force of an individual, in its purely energetic state, is often called the energy body. Once this state is reached, it is possible to separate and travel away from the physical body, which exists in solid form or a very dense energetic state. The energy body can be reached in states of heightened awareness, hypnotic trance, and in dreaming. At death, one’s entire energetic being is transformed into the energy body.

Fragmentation

The splitting of experience under traumatic impact into manageable components is called fragmentation. For example, an experience might be partially or fully visually recalled, yet have no emotional component attached to it. Fragmented components remain separated for defensive purposes yet seek reintegration with the whole through associative triggers in everyday life. Some components lie dormant for decades and suddenly awaken and intrude in consciousness, apparently signaling the appropriate time for recapitulation and integration.

Heightened Awareness

This is an extraordinary state of direct knowing of the truth, an altered state of awareness, with access to non-rational abilities, such as leaving one’s body while still in the human form. This state of awareness is devoid of ego participation or processing, which likely accounts for the absence of memory of the experiences encountered in heightened awareness. This state can be reached through intent, hypnosis, in OBE, in dreaming, in meditative trance, and in recapitulation. This state is also reached through major onslaughts to the rational mind, such as in traumatic experience. These are experiences coveted by shamans since they are the gateway to deeper knowledge, which offers the ability to explore other worlds.

I Ching

Perhaps the oldest book known to mankind, the I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle, which literally translates as The Book of Changes. Through an in-depth study of nature and the changes in nature the Chinese sages identified sixty-four archetypal arrangements of nature, each of which can change in six different ways. Through the ages, the sages have commented on identical stages and changes in human life. Through the principal of synchronicity a person can pose the intention of a question, while throwing three coins six times to arrive at the hexagram of change which reflects an answer to their question, or the real question they should be asking. This method, which I have utilized for 35 years, is especially helpful in bewildered moments of not knowing where to go next in treatment, and in life. Personally, it has always drawn my attention to my blind spot.

Intent

In the shaman’s world intent is seen as an independent energy which can be accessed through intending it. Other spiritual traditions have discovered methods of repetitive prayer or mantras to galvanize energy for an intention. All thought generates energy. Focused thought can manifest physical change as is evident in hypnosis. Developing a link to intent, through whatever method, is central to all change.

Magical Passes

Discovered by the shamans of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage in dreaming, these are sets of physical movements, which enable the practitioner to reconfigure their energetic being, to achieve heightened awareness. These passes resemble forms in the Martial Arts, which reconfigure the energy of the human form for fighting purposes. The intent of the Magical Passes is to redistribute energy to achieve heightened awareness, and to gain free access to the energy body.

Martial Arts, Tensegrity, Yoga

These are all physical methods to effect change by accessing energy independently of mental processes. The marital arts connect to ancient forms or patterns of movement intended to ground, defend, or assert the self. Tensegrity utilizes ancient passes, like forms, for different intents, such as dreaming or recapitulation. Yoga offers postures, breathing, and meditation to gain deep conscious connection and control of every aspect of the physical self.

Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)

This is an experience of the energy body beyond the confines of the physical body. An innate alternative to the dense physical body, the energy body is reached accidentally through traumatic impact or volitionally through intent. The energy body can also be accessed in dreaming, which is most common, or through hypnotic trance, or deep meditative states. In this out-of-body state one can leave one’s physical body, travel in other worlds, and encounter other energetic beings.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

In the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) the American Psychiatric Association states that the diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. A fifth criterion concerns duration of symptoms and a sixth assesses functioning. The criteria follow:

Criterion A: stressor

The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:

  1. The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.
  2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: in children, it may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.
Criterion B: intrusive recollection

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:

  1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
  2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content
  3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
  4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
  5. Physiologic reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
Criterion C: avoidant/numbing

Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three of the following:

  1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
  2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
  3. Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
  4. Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  5. Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
  6. Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
  7. Sense of foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)
Criterion D: hyper-arousal

Persistent symptoms of increasing arousal (not present before the trauma), indicated by at least twoof the following:

  1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  2. Irritability or outbursts of anger
  3. Difficulty concentrating
  4. Hyper-vigilance
  5. Exaggerated startle response
Criterion E: duration

Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.

Criterion F: functional significance

The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Reference: American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV-TR (Fourth ed.). Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Projection

This is a dynamic identified by Freud and Jung, where the world becomes the screen, our unknown inner selves the projector. The unrealized potentials and dynamics of the psyche frequently reveal themselves in the people and situations we are either attracted to, or repulsed by, but in either case are obsessed with. This dynamic is especially helpful in disentangling the truth of the self from the limitations we are so frustrated by in others. Relationship therapy must progress to ownership of projections to achieve real growth and resolution.

Recapitulation

This is a practice from shamanic tradition, which involves reliving, versus remembering, or reflecting upon, one’s entire life. The goal is to learn all of one’s lessons and free all energy attached to prior experience for use in this current life. The shamans undertake this practice in an orderly fashion. I approach recapitulation in the flow of everyday life, as it is presented, through the triggers and symptoms in a client’s current experience. These experiences can then be recapitulated in treatment.

Shaman

Shamans are human beings who have gained the ability to access their energy body and non-ordinary states of reality, with fluidity, at will.

Synchronicity

This word means literally: same time. Jung applied this term to events he observed happening simultaneously, which were meaningfully related, though not causal to each other. Hence, meaning might be derived, by examining two seemingly unrelated events occurring simultaneously in one’s life. Some physicists believe that synchronicities reveal a hidden connectedness between mind and matter. In treatment I approach all events in one’s life as meaningful and instructive, manifesting as a result of one’s intent to grow. All events have potential meaning and value, occurring to further our awareness and growth. I always pose the questions: Why did this happen now? What does it mean? What is it attempting to show us? What is the test? What do we need to learn from this?

Trauma

Trauma is the experience of an unexpected physical, emotional, or cognitive event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to assimilate; hence the ego is partially impaired or suspended. This allows heightened awareness to access the needed survival mode, i.e. dissociation: leaving one’s body and entering an altered state of awareness.

Trigger

Everyday events which associatively attempt to awaken one to the deeper truths stored in heightened awareness, in the memory and the body, are called triggers. These are generally experienced as intense emotions, reactions, compulsive thoughts, or projections. To retrieve the inner truth of the trigger one must recapitulate.

Chuck Ketchel, LCSWR