June 2014 | by
Review on Bruce's Book...
Book Pusher by Rebecca Goodrich [about 1200 words]
The Deep Healing Process: For Those Who Dare by Bruce Bibee, LPC. $ 13.95, Infinity Publishing, West Conshohocken, PA. ISBN 0-7414-2366-9.
“When one of my nieces needed to undergo sexual abuse recovery, I knew I needed to provide her with a map of that territory.” With this, the first sentence of The Deep Healing Process, you know right away Bruce Bibee will give you only the best of his knowledge.
Another reason he gives for this overview of therapy for the worst life can dish out is that the world and its mental health practitioners have been slow to recognize Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.
Many people believe PTSD is something that happens only from being in combat, but regular living can also deal out this kind of trauma. That car accident, where you were sure you were going to die. Living in your car as you recover from breast cancer. Dealing with depression, even suicidal thoughts after a loved one dies. Abuse by a significant other. Getting trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Watching the TV as people fall out of twin towers in NYC.
Ideally, as artists, we digest all this bad and all this good of the world, and transform that into Art. But we’re human too, and tragedy doesn’t always fully metabolize.
Bibee’s path into healing started in 1978, when he first began teaching women’s self-defense classes in Los Angeles. Those were the days of the Hillside Strangler, and Bruce taught six-week classes, back-to-back, for a good two years. “I refused to teach men,” he said.
With a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology, more than two decades as a counselor, he’s passing the torch. His own healing has included Reiki, meditation, various forms of bodywork, dreamwork, drumming, talking circles, and other shamanic formats. The net result of “working in the deep unconscious mind” was his training in “spiritual emergency.”
Finding that all these varying techniques are grounded in “the same over-arching principles,” Bibee compiled his book. He calls it a simplified unified field theory about deep healing.
It’s organized into five chapters: Prerequisites, The Healing Process, Integration, Healing Strategies, and Conclusion. In the back of the book are a bibliography, glossary, and end notes. Putting them in the back helps keep the reader’s focus on the meat of the matter.
Bibee’s that kind of guy, who would say, “Let’s get you going on healing, but if you need any background info, I have it right here.”
Homo Sapiens: An Owner’s Manual, $15.95, can be found at BookLocker.com, Inc. Bradenton, FL. ISBN 978-60910-238-8.
- Feb 2013 | by Bruce
Bruce Bibee, LPC
The first thing to appreciate about emotions is that they follow the laws of water. They can build up behind a dam of denial and eventually break through the dam into a flooding mess, or they can be directed into focused use -- like water going through a fire hose to put out a fire. Therefore, the energy of emotions must be used, or it will burst the dam and cause a destructive flood.
An emotion arises to let us know what is going on between us and the environment. Think of it as the totality of me (my genetics and my life history) encounters something (either internal thoughts or external events), and my emotions tell me how I’m responding to that something. For example, we walk out to the parking lot after work and a bad guy shows up with a knife and says, “Give me all your money.” Because of who you are, you may freak out and run away, or tremble as you hand over your money, or whatever. Because I’m a martial artist (the totality of me includes fight training), I may laugh and take his knife away.
So, an emotion is unique to you, but it is also unique to the situation that produced it. Since the feeling is tied to the event, it won’t go away until you use it to deal with the event. The whole arena of repressed memories is also filled with the repressed emotions that attend to those memories.
An emotion is what gives us the energy to solve the problems that confront us. For example, how many times have you laid in bed telling yourself, “I have to get up... I have to get up...”? Your mind can’t get you out of bed. The mind is there to fashion solutions to problems; whereas your emotions are what motivates you to actually do something. Therefore, learning to use your emotions in the way they are meant to be used is one of the skills an adult must master. You can think of this skill set as having five parts.
First, a person must give himself permission to feel. Many people are uncomfortable with certain emotions and refuse to feel them. The healthy person has permission to feel every feeling there is. If you grew up in a dysfunctional family system, this can be a difficult step to take, because emotions were liabilities when you were growing up. This can be especially true for anger. I’ve had people tell me that if they ever let themselves get angry, they wouldn’t be able to stop. They would be flooded with anger and it would probably drown them. While this isn’t true, it is wise to schedule anger work to channel one’s rage out in a healthy way.
Second, a person must actually feel the emotion -- let the energy of it fill up his entire body, relaxing into it like settling into a hot bath. While this isn’t difficult for ‘good’ feelings, it can be a problem with not-so-good feelings. It helps to deal with those feelings by retreating to one’s Observing Self and notice the changes happening in your body as the feeling enters it. Fear, for example, will tighten muscles; anger will feel like energy shooting up different parts of the body; shame will feel like being trapped in a tar pit; and so on.
Third, a person must then own the feeling. He will say, “This is my feeling. This is my energy. You may have triggered this feeling into being, but it is now my energy to do something with.” In other words, the person doesn’t blame others for ‘making him feel’ a certain way. What this means is that someone may actually be trying to make you mad, or make you cry (and that’s on them), but the emotional energy is coming from you. It’s your emotional self telling you how you are reacting to an event. In other words, it’s you communicating with you. If you give ownership of this feeling to someone else, then you have also given that powerful source of energy to them as well. You have made them responsible for your emotional well-being, and that situation never works out very well.
Fourth, a person must label or name the feeling. By naming the emotion, he claims the energy of the feeling as he gets ready to use the feeling in a positive way. Also, by naming the feeling, he knows what he must do with the feeling. For example, if he knows he is feeling fear, then it indicates he needs safety. If he’s feeling confused, he knows he needs clarity. If he’s lonely, he knows he needs companionship. And so on. Where this step can get tricky is when we have conflicted emotions -- we feel two or more ways about a situation. For example, “I love him, but I can’t live with his drug abuse (which produces feelings of abandonment and/or competition with the addiction, which, of course, is a competition we always lose).” It is useful here to write about each feeling we are feeling to get clarity on the complete emotional hit. With that clarity, a way can open up. For example, “Since I love him, my best option is to get out of his way and let his addiction progress so he hits his bottom sooner.”
Fifth, a person must channel the energy of the emotion into action. The action is dedicated to solving the problem he identified by naming the feeling. If he doesn’t do this, then the feeling will spill out and splash on those around him -- such as guilt-trips, blame, anger, and so on. When he uses the energy of the feeling for problem-solving, he makes his life better. In this step, we are gaining emotional responsibility. What I mean by that is in a literal interpretation of the word ‘responsibility’ -- the ability to respond. I’m claiming the ability to respond to my emotions and using them to solve my problems; rather than letting the emotions do whatever they want, squirting all over the place. Or, another way of saying this: either you will use your emotions, or they will use you. Therefore, to use your emotions in a good way, you let your mind come up with a solution (which, to return to our fire hose analogy, means that your mind is what manufactures the fire hose), and then you channel the emotion through it to solve the problem (put out the fire).