My interview with Robert Waggoner, author of Lucid Dreaming

This weekend I attended Gateways to the Mind conference on lucid dreaming which took place in London. The event was held in the grand location of the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington. I had the pleasure of chatting to Robert Waggoner author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self.

The interview took place at the conference. Robert Waggoner  was one of the speakers at the event and demonstrated how we can all benefit from the non-physical realities.  Robert taught himself a simple technique to become consciously aware in the dream state. This took place over 30 years ago. Since then, lucid dreaming, or the ability to become consciously aware while dreaming, has been proven by the pioneering research of Dr Keith Hearne, University of Hull, and Dr. Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring the World of Lucid Dreams  at Stanford University.

Many see lucid dreaming as an important psychological and therapeutic tool. In the interview Robert tells us how he became involved in lucid dreaming, what motivated him to write the book and how lucid dreaming can be potentially used as a treatment tool for clients with anxiety or even post traumatic stress disorder.

I started by asking Robert how he came to write his hugely influential book. Click here to listen to the interview on Youtube or click here for the Podomatic episode.

You’ve been listening to an interview with Robert Waggoner.  For more podcasts please visit   



How to devise a treatment model for brief therapy or short term counselling


Last week we broke into groups to devise a strategy for a short term course of treatment for a brief course of therapy. We had been tasked as a group to tackle the philosophical question of whether we worked in a person centred approach or a more structured way when seeing clients within a short framework.

Essentially my group were agreed that we would first check that the client was happy that a short course of treatment was appropriate for them. We also agreed on the need for goals setting and to keep the sessions tight so that we kept sight of the outcomes of the sessions. This was in keeping with CBT techniques with daily and weekly tasks, thought monitoring and goals setting and reviews. We would set a formal review at session 3.

This is a summation of what we discussed as a wider group.

The initial meeting

The initial meeting with the client could comprise of the following questions:

1. What do they want from the sessions that would really change their lives?

2. What changes were needed to be made in order to accomplish this?

3. If they agree to change, what would they will be willing to do?

4. How much do they sabotage themselves?

5. How would the counsellor know if they were getting better?

Following a discussion based around these discussions you would then agree the contract of when, where, how much and the cancellation arrangements.

The next step would be to discuss the presenting problems.  Here your aim is to gather as much of the background information as possible, the back story.

Ways of working

You could ask the client at the end of each session how they thought the session went. You could also mention how many sessions are remaining each week.  This will provide a tight containing space.

During sessions it can be a good idea to reflect back to the client what is holding them back from making changes. But your job is not to open pandora’s box in short term counselling, merely to undertake some modest digging. Try to track dreams during the sessions too.

Avoid psychobabble.  Plain English is always best.

The review

At the midpoint of the intended number of sessions you could ask for views about how it is going.  We were here, now we’re here. What were their views?

It is also important to have a formal ending and to offer the client the option of coming back.

What is important is to devise your own model for short term counselling.

Next week:  TA and EMDR


Do I need short or long term counselling?
Short term counselling books
A six session model for short term counselling



Personal experiences of counselling

I have one more essay to complete before I complete year one of the course requirements. It is an essay on my personal experience of being on the course and what my understanding is of counselling.  These types of essays are a pleasure to write and often my struggle is to contain the word count to the required number (4000-4300).  Reflecting on the essay I began to take stock of my journey throughout the year.  Sometimes I think I haven’t read sufficient numbers of books.

My understanding of counselling is that I bring an integrative approach
to seeing clients carrying a basic toolkit of knowledge, skills, techniques and
understanding. The basic toolkit that any good counsellor should carry comprises of receptive as well as challenge skills.  The lectures on early development were very insightful and I am eager to learn more and more about myself so that I can better help clients.  I believe that every counsellor needs to go through the personal trans formative work themselves.

Ultimately I know true healing does not happen in the head. That is why I am attracted to experiential learning.  Real healing occurs through feeling toned realisations in response to a lived experience. That is why the analytic process, when pursued on an intellectual level, and that includes most self-analysis, is sterile.



The planes of consciousness

The experiential nature of the training at CCPE was full of interesting topics such as the seminars on the planes of consciousness.  My challenge was was to ascertain what is a meaningful definition of soul for me?  That question is essentially a big part of the transpersonal journey.  Neuroscientists may typically have a materialistic and reductionist view of human evolution – in that who we are is merely defined by the interaction of neurons in our brain – but those in transpersonal circles believe in the movement of energy, soul journey and deeper existential feelings concerning meaning and purpose.

Some general points made by facilitators:

Soul is receptive by nature, it absorbs impressions, takes on impressions, consciousness starts to identify.  The ideas of Almaas :  Morphing capacity of soul? Can shift and take on different shapes.  Soul has a wonderful fluidity. It can be dynamic and ever changing.  Our minds like to compartmentalise things in our everyday life. When we enter life, we require limitation, (parents, culture, race etc), but soul does not know limitation.

Socialisation means taming our animalistic nature. Children attending nursery school settings and coming up against rules.   Soul has to deal with restriction and gets overlaid with impressions with its journey through life.

Key Qualities of the Planes of consciousness

 Level One: The instinctual/mind/self

• Associated with the earth and the physical world.
• The soul’s experience is one of encountering limitation and the existential suffering of being human.
• The test of limitation offers the possibilities of mastery, of discovering meaning and
purpose and the opportunity to manifest latent qualities.
• The test of limitation may also be a lesson in surrender and acceptance of the
• Distortions of this plane are greed, materialism and a limiting identification with the
instinctual nature.

Level Two: (b) The lower mind or the “computerized self”

• Thinking is logical, concrete and conventional.
• Thoughts are mixed with feelings which are largely unconscious giving rise to outbursts
of irrationality.
• Distortions of the lower mind are confused, muddled and circular thinking. There is a dense, dull, murky and sluggish quality to the mind.
• The test of this level of the mind is to learn to listen to our intuition.

Level Two: (a) The creative mind/self

• Thinking is clear, creative and makes connections and links.
• The person is insightful, understanding, perceptive and can be inspiring.
• The person has a quality of genius and imagination finding creative solutions.
• This is the realm of Jung’s archetypes.
• Distortions of this plane include being hard to pin down, changeable in mood and
frequent change of mind. Souls who resonate with this plane find it difficult to commit, become bored and restless easily and are often one jump ahead.
• The test at this level is of being resourceful, creative and insightful.

Level Three: The loving self

• Souls impressed with this plane are loving by nature, innocent, connected to nature and
beauty, trusting and have a strong desire for harmony. They are often gentle, playful and
childlike. They are often romantic and find meaning through relationships.
• Distortions at this level include a lack of discrimination, an inability to tolerate conflict, being easily manipulated and in turn are manipulative. They often attract abuse and adopt a victim identity. They can be sentimental, needy and dependent.
• They are often tested in love and must learn to assert themselves and to discriminate.

Level Four: The wise self

• Qualities at this level include truth, justice, mastery, faith, power, will, a desire for
authenticity and an inner idealism.
• Meaning, purpose and accomplishment are of great importance along with independence.
• Distortions include abuse of power, dominating, controlling and being driven.
Dishonesty, obsessive behaviour, violence, wilfulness and fundamentalism are also
distortions of the fourth level.
• There is a battle to free the soul from the ego’s grasp.
• Wisdom and compassion arise as a result of the tests and lessons encountered.

Level Five: The angelic/religious self

• The emotion of this level is one of peacefulness, sacredness, glorification, ecstasy, majesty and sovereignty.
• There is a longing to worship, pray and praise the splendour of the Divine.
• The memory of the splendour of the soul and the negative self image acquired in the experiences of life, often leads the soul attuned to the fifth level feeling flawed in their self image. A soul impressed strongly with this level finds life jarring and there is a deep longing for peace.
• The spiritual lesson is of recovering the connection to the splendour, majesty and
sacredness of the soul.

Level Six: The Pure self

• At this level, consciousness is impersonal, immaculate, detached, serene and clear. The soul experiences solitude, clarity, freedom and spaciousness. Consciousness is impersonal and detached giving rise to the Witness. The soul is pure and free of impressions.
• Souls impressed with this level find it hard to incarnate experiencing the world as
imperfect and there is a distaste of the instinctual aspects of being human.
• Distortions include perfectionism, fastidiousness, indifference, coldness and rigidity.
• The spiritual lesson of this plane is forgiveness.

Level Seven: The transcendent state

• This is the level of unity, eternal Oneness beyond the existence and the manifest state. It is impersonal, transcendental – all is absorbed back into Oneness. There is no personal sense of self.

CCPE Notes Angela Gruber

It is important to realise that these planes represent a spectrum along which we can potentially flirt with each plane without being fixed on any particular one. It is also important to appreciate the distinction between stages and states.States are free and temporary (can be arrived at by engaging in peak experiences or by artificial means such as by taking drugs) but perhaps stages have to be earned (by undertaking a regular spiritual practice). 



The week-long creative imagination set of lectures and workshops

I had an amazing experience at the week-long creative imagination set of lectures and workshops.  What has delayed me posting updates was that I developed a nasty bug at the end of the week (perhaps this was my body telling me something). My workshop group is quite dynamic and supportive so six days together exploring our personal issues was a real treat.  I found the pebble imagination to be very deep and meaningful as well as the drawing material that followed. What occurred to me was that it will be useful to compare the personal drawings over the length of the course and how they might change over time.   The body mapping produced some insights as well as the anima and animus drawings.  However, the sub personalities creative imagination was more powerful. We then acted out psycho dramas based on what we came up with from the lectures.  That was very powerful too.

More soon…..

Resource list for creative imagaination:


The alchemical process is only for those who are deemed spiritually adept masters?

I have had knowledge of the mysticism of the higher planes from a previous lecture which gave me the necessary insights into a basic understanding of myself, particularly the relationship between my essence (soul) and personality (temperament). Years ago, alchemy in the West was primarily an experimental scientific process dedicated to transforming physical, material lead into physical and actual material gold. The alchemists from ancient Greece had been cited as among the chemists of their day. Then, much later on, during the European Renaissance the primary goal for many alchemists had evolved and had been transformed into something of a very different nature. For many of the alchemists in these times, the alchemical process became part of bringing about a mysterious corresponding inner transformation process within the human psyche.  Jung, by accident,  discovered in the images of alchemy further validation of his ground breaking psychological theories regarding the universal nature of symbols. This was essentially a development of his earlier discovery of universal symbols contained in sacred religious writings, myths, fairy tales and  in dreams.

Inner Transformation

Jung valued alchemy for its rich symbolic content and imagery.   The transformation of worthless metals into precious gold unconsciously reflected an internal developmental process of “wholeness” and health in the human psyche (which Jung termed as “individuation”).

For Jung, what really set apart the symbols of transformation found in alchemy was due to the early alchemists’ beliefs that they were strictly dealing with physical, chemical, material processes. He  found psychological gold in the writings of the alchemists.  3 large volumes of Jung’s Collected Works had been devoted to alchemy and alchemical symbols in relation to the development of the human psyche and individuation.  Jung’s alchemy is only directed toward emotionally healthy people having established a strong and solid sense of ego identity and having a strong and solid grip on reality.

The alchemical process is only for those who are deemed spiritually adept masters?  Not for me.  But answers on a postcard.

Remember what the philosopher William James said, it is by listening to people’s stories that we get to understand people.



1 Jun 2002 Prepared as a class for Spring Quarter 1986, Rogue Community College. This class provided feedback and interaction which fed into my Phanes. 

C. G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal

“The Chinese Connection” thus revealed to Jung that alchemy is based upon universal archetypal principles which are of equal relevance to ancient Gnostics 

Carl Jung – Alchemy

Jung’s interest for alchemy starts from two directions. One is the necessity to find a historic parallel to his own discoveries of the unconscious psychic 

BBC – h2g2 – The Secret Art of Alchemy

30 Nov 2001  The Swiss psychologist, Dr Carl Jung, who began studying alchemy when aged 53, realised that the alchemist was really working symbolically 

Alchemy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alchemical symbolism has been occasionally used by psychologists and philosophers. CarlJung reexamined alchemical symbolism and theory and began to show 

Carl JungAlchemy and Neo-Gnosticism

The New Alchemy Website – Jung on Active Imagination: “But active imagination, as the term denotes, means that the images have a life of their own 

On Alchemy, C.G.Jung and Ecological Intelligence « Heidekolb’s Blog

10 Feb 2010 To his surprise Jung found in alchemy a model that he identified as the basis of our modern way of perceiving things.

Gift of the Gods: Download Jung’s Alchemical Red Book | Mysterious 

For nearly a quarter of a century following the death of famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s, his family kept the Red Book locked in a safety deposit box,


Can life coaching be worthwhile?

There are a lot of people who swear by the benefits of life coaching and how life coaches can be their saviour. The stereo type is that life coaches are American and charge loads of cash to tell you the obvious. However this stereotype is probably outdated now that life coaches have become part of the holistic therapy team. For me, life coaches serve their purpose if they essentially help their clients to firstly identify and then break down the negative  thoughts and belief systems stopping them from living the dream. This entails a kind of cbt intervention by assessing and helping overcome the blocks or distortion when seeking to find the dream job or role in life.


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Immortality: some questions …….

Is it possible that with advances in technology future generations can cheat death? Is that desirable? Are we hardwired to believe in our own immortality? Do our religious traditions offer any relevant answers?

Is the best yet to come or is this it? Will our mind and consciousness survive the death of our bodies?

Is the extinction of the personal identity the ultimate outcome of spiritual growth? Is there transmigration of the soul?

Are humans death defined animals? Are our brains wired to receive or produce god? Or is this the natural antidote for the fear of death?

Is immortality desirable? What is human? Is it to die?  …. the immortal beauty of mortal things including human beings.

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“What keeps happening?” – Michael Jacobs

I am in the middle of a weekend course on archetypes. It is fascinating.

Some observations:

The truth will be revealed regardless of the costs.  How?  Through archetypes. Plato wrote about archetypes. Jung was concerned with the psychological, our lived experience. The function of archetypes is to help and transform our personality and character. The purpose of the spiritual archetypes is to reveal our true nature (soul). James Hillman referred to deepest patterns of pyschic functioning. A typical archetype can be a “mother complex”.

See this list for more on Jungian archetypes

Our lecturer alluded to the image of a garden. The personality is what we plant in the garden, the trees and shrubbery etc. How do we become a true reflection of who we are meant to be. Our character is defined by how we tender the garden. We get reminders from people who really know us that we are not being ourselves. What is our dream? Do we sabotage that ideal? Is the soul here for its own joy? Indeed what is soul? (the whole issue of the soul will be a another topic for another day).

How do we manifest that which is within us? Our group work dealt with the physicality of walking. What are we showing in our walking? Air, Fire, water or earth? Can we uncover stuff from creative imagination?

Are we all inherently pure and innocent? Is there evil?

More soon…….

Topis related to archetypes

  • archetypes list
  • female archetypes
  • brand archetypes
  • story archetypes
  • definition of archetypes
  • archetypes movies
  • archetype essay

Why transpersonal therapy?

Why transpersonal therapy?  Spiritual essence: Pay attention to your feelings. Why God? Feelings are more primary (basic) than thoughts. Not rage (survival) but interpersonal (spiritual) that is what is the theme that draws us. People anchor themselves to spiritual search. Although some people anchor themselves to religion,  out of fear. Different place to say that you can drop anchor, to have a spiritual experience. We have faith, impulse, yet we don’t know where it is coming from? Most people are scared, so to feel safe, they seek institutions but it is an illusion.

People suffer from losing their fix, then enter therapy. Real reason people come to therapy is because their deepest nature is not being satisfied.  That is the transpersonal perspective. Transpersonal therapy won’t give answers but will encourage you to ask the questions. Therapy can help to solve the immediate problems. But its deeper than that.  Ultimate point is seeking essence, real self.

Health warning: we need to go through cracks. Therapy exposes underlying cracks in our psyche and we need to go through them and grow.