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On the Value of Empirically Defining Wounds

More on Why Talk Therapy Takes So Long

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This emergence transcript is excerpted from emails in which I discussed the idea that therapies which do not empirically define injury take a long time.

On January 3, Kim wrote to me and asked...

Your site looks very interesting but I am have trouble wading though it all. I find all the personal anecdotes really slow down my ability to scan through the site to learn what it is about.

Is there a test to take some where?

I am also finding it quite difficult to read the italic font on a patterned back ground.

I am sorry for this criticism, but I really want to follow what you are presenting. I'll keep working on it!

Thanks, Kim

On January 5, I wrote back and said...

Hi Kim,

No apology necessary for the criticism. Without caring critics,I'd be lost.

As for your difficulties wading through what's on the site, first please know, I'm sorry for your difficulty. Also know however, that most people do find Emergence hard to grasp, at least at first. I, myself, have been exploring it for almost ten years now. Even so, every month I seem to discover new things, some pretty deep and exhausting in scope. And Ed, one of the master teachers, has been studying Emergence for more than eight years now. He too would tell you it took a long time before it made any real sense to him as well.

My point is, at times, I, too, find it all difficult to "wade through." And I'm the author of it all <grin>, (some six to eight thousand pages should you print it all out.)

At times, too, like now, the beginning of a year, this difficulty gives me urges to go back and revise it all. To make it clearer, more accessible to the reader who wants to get it quickly, like you

Sadly, I find that after ten years, there is no way to make it "more accessible," at least not in a way someone can get it quickly. You see, part of what implies Emergence is new is that there simply is no quick way to "get it." Why not? Because to get the concepts and how it all works, you have to personally experience them yourself.

Fortunately, this does not apply to those who simply want to heal something. All these folks need is a guide who does understand. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who does want to understand what is happening, or if you are the kind of person who wants to see the good in something before you invest in it, then know this learning can take a long time.

Said another way, in order to get most out of what is on the site, you must discover the underlying principles for yourself, similar to how people learn for themselves the underlying principles of higher math. Literally, you need to "reinvent the wheel" for the ideas you want to read. Why?

We say, to know Emergence, you must become a wheel maker of the ideas. In fact, this is an important part of what Emergence is all about. It's not just about some new way of doing things. It's about becoming the true healing beings we each have in us to become.

In order to do this though, you won't be able to reduce what you find on the site to what you already know. Why? Because if you do, all you will "see" is what you already know and none of what is new.

This, in fact, is one of the more important differences between Emergence and other healing philosophies: we teach people that no one can get Emergence by simply parroting the ideas, meaning, by memorizing them. Each person, in their own way, must have the ideas emerge in his or her own mind and heart.

Now if you substitute the word "emerge" for "have an epiphany," or have an "aha," then you'll at least get the basic gist of what I'm saying. In order to get what on the site, you must personally rediscover the ideas yourself.

So how can one know if "wading through all this stuff" will be worth your efforts? Well Kim, this is the million dollar question. Hopefully, in the process of exploring the site, you'll hit on something which grabs your interest. Or at least something you find personally connected to in a meaningful way.

For many people, this "something" turns out to be identifying with the people in the stories and the anecdotes. For others though, it is the more structural, theoretical stuff, like the Quik Summaries and the Visual Diagrams.

Please know, most people find these more theoretical offerings pretty hard to grasp. Still, there are those people who find technically oriented stuff the very doors through which their interest develops.

One more suggestion. It might help you if you were to sit for a minute and write down something you have questions about. Then, you could either write and ask me to point you toward some starting point, which I will gladly do, or if there is nothing as yet for me to point you towards on the site, then I will be glad to write you whatever thoughts I have so far. In fact, often, this is the very way people do get interested in Emergence; they write me with a personal question about and something they're stuck on.

My point? Please do write again, even if it is to simply say again what you are finding difficult about the site. Our dialogue could only help me to help others.

As for the italics on a patterned background, you're right. My point for doing it has been to try to slow people down when the reading is dense, for instance something which I suspect may be difficult to grasp in a cursory reading. However, know your comment has been in my head since the moment I read it.

So far, like much in life, I've found no easy solution.

Finally, I'd like to ask if I may post our little conversation on the site, anonymously, of course. I ask as I have been wanting to write a year beginning intro to Emergence and your brief email is so relevant to what I wanted to write; about the difficulty of wading through it all; that it may be the very thing to encourage others like yourself to "keep working on it!"

And thanks so much for writing. Since the site is not for profit but simply my way of trying to make a difference in the world, when people write me, it makes it all worthwhile. As long as what they write is said with as much love and respect as what you've written.

Thanks again. For the writing. And for the caring criticism.


P.S. If there's anyway I can help, as I've said, please do write again.

Later that day, Kim wrote back and said...

Thanks for writing back. I can see from your work that you very motivated. Also, you are quite welcome to print our communications. You decide if the personal stuff is relevant.( You're welcome to proof my goofs also.)

As for me, I think I'll go through or spend time with the structural stuff first and later, go back through the personal stories or inquiries.

I was thinking about the notion of traditional psychotherapy taking so long (but you also say emergence takes quite a while to comprehend?). I do see your point that therapy may not get to the cause because the therapist does not know what he/she is looking for.

I have experienced this. The therapist also has to spend time getting to know the person and understanding their unique circumstances and then it all gets filtered through their experience. I am looking forward to getting to my own understanding and healing.

I have severe joint problems and am not working right now. My husband has Asperger's and it is VERY frustrating for me. (He is not the sensitive type, he's the detached math genius type.) So I am working on emerging healthy from it all.

I have had aha's but had not been getting better. I have started to take responsibility for my situation and healing and to turn things around. This is part of it all.

Thanks so much for your time.

Love for the New Year,


Some time later, I wrote back and said...

Hi Kim,

Well, as is common for me with people who speak open-hearted words, your open-hearted words have been quite thought provoking and I sense, it may take me some time to get my thoughts together. I do have a few ideas to share with you so far though and also, a few questions I'd like to present to you.

I was thinking about the notion of traditional psychotherapy taking so long (but you also say emergence takes quite a while to comprehend?)"

Kim, these are two very different life situations. Thus, the first "long time" you mention is the time it usually takes traditional therapists to help someone to heal; it takes a long time if it happens at all. And the second "long time" you mention is the "long time" it takes to learn the theory and practice underlying Emergence, which in essence is how you become an Emergence Guide.

Said in other words, because no prior personality theory has empirically defined the structure of injury in the human psyche, therapists whose practices derive from those theories must rely on what I see as the statistically highest method of "randomly discovering injury." Obviously then, because these discoveries are random rather than self directed, helping people heal can take a very long time. If indeed it happens at all.

In the case of Emergence Therapists though, because we rely on a personality theory which clearly and empirically defines the structure of injury in the human psyche, the time it takes to heal an injury is most times much shorter than traditional therapies. In fact, there are times we can help people heal an injury in the time it takes to speak a few well chosen sentences.

Of course, knowing which few sentences to say and how and when to say them is a good portion of the second "long time" I've just referred to; the "long time" it takes to learn to be an Emergence Guide. In addition to these skills, we must also know how to create personal connections between the explorer and guide. Why? So we can jointly experience these few healing sentences. This, in fact, is where a lot of the power in Emergence comes from.

In the case of this learning, it can take a person years to become comfortably open and strong enough to remain conscious.

Given the person has acquired these few skills though, a guide can often create these personal connections, and speak these few healing sentences, even within minutes of meeting a person.

I do see your point that therapy may not get to the cause because the therapist does not know what he/she is looking for. I have experienced this. The therapist also has to spend time getting to know the person and understanding their unique circumstances and then it all gets filtered through their experience.

Here again, you mention something which takes a long time, the "long time" it takes to get-to-know-the-person. Kim, here is yet another important difference between current healing therapies and Emergence Therapy. You see, we Emergence Practitioners address the "cause of injury" very differently. And at the risk of confusing you, let me just say that this difference; how we address the cause of injury; is one of the main differences between us and pretty much all other therapies.

What's different?

We do not care what caused an injury and so, we do not look for it. In fact, we actually go to great lengths to avoid speculative processes in and around "what causes peoples' injuries."

Of course, when I say we do not care, I am not saying we do not care about peoples' suffering. We do. Very much. And at times, if a person needs to have me hear the details of their suffering in order to feel cared about, then I do listen. However, more times than not, we do all we can to discourage this "telling of the details," as we know that looking for the "cause of injury" most times does nothing but create unnecessary suffering in the injured person.

So how do we examine peoples' injuries?

We look for what we call a "representative event"; a scene, or scenes, wherein the injured person can visually relive the injury.

Are the scenes we uncover ever the actual wounding scenes?

At times. More often though, I believe the scenes which emerge in people are simply visual representations of the stages on which the original injury occurred. Further, I believe peoples' minds construct these visual representations from the raw materials they have stored in their mental repositories, bits of life their minds composite into scenes in the service of peoples' healing.

How can we help if these scenes are not the actual scene though?

Because we do not look for the "cause" of the person's injury. We look only for the structure of the person's injury. Why? Because this structure is the actual wound itself. Thus, healing is simply altering this structure.

So what is the actual structure of peoples' injuries?

The life sequence of [1] hyperawareness, [2] being startled, and [3] going into shock; a sequence we fully describe in the theory of personality which underlies our therapy.

Said in yet another way, you could say that the scenes which emerge in a person's mind during the course of our therapy are simply where we look for this structure. In other words, rather than looking for some scientifically cold and precise "source" of peoples' injuries, we treat the scenes people visualize during therapy as the "source" of their healing.

Yet another way to understand this idea is to know that the scenes which emerge in people during our therapy are very structurally similar to the scenes people see in their night dreams. More over, you could definitely say that the scenes Emergence Therapists work with are a form of "awake dreaming." In fact, because what we work with so resembles peoples' dreams, we sometimes refer to Emergence Therapy as "scientific shamanism." After all, this is the basis of the shaman's healing; conscious, visual, connected experience.

So what about the idea you've just referred to then, the idea that "the therapist also has to spend time getting to know the person and understanding their unique circumstances and then filter it through their experience."?

First, as I've already mentioned, we Emergence Guides can often connect to an explorer within minutes of meeting them. Permanently? Like knowing them for years? Of course not. We can not know peoples' histories and personalities in a matter of minutes.

Fortunately though, this doesn't matter. You see, because we look for an easily recognized psychological structure, we need know people intimately only on the stages of their injuries and even then, only for the moment they wish to heal.

In other words, yes, we do need to know people intimately, but only as far as who they were and what they looked like in the moments just before, during, and just after the particular BLock we are working on occurred. Thus, the long time you refer to here; the time "spent getting to know people and their unique circumstances"; while personally enjoyable to me, is not necessary for healing. Why? Again, because we know so clearly what we are looking for. We are not looking for cause. We are looking for an empirically defined structure.

Do we ever get to know people this intimately though?

Yes. In fact, we often get to know people far more intimately than therapists employing normal therapies. After all, we literally experience their injuries right along with them, often as if we had been there witnessing them.

Is this witnessing painful?

Yes. This witnessing is often quite painful. On the other hand, being willing to do this is why people often tell us their "deepest darkest inner selves" even as we meet. In fact, I've often had people tell me they can't believe they are telling me so much so soon. More over, what could better develop trust than to go through peoples' pain with them.

Said in other words, although many people choose to use Emergence to explore their personalities deeply and so, develop long term, intimate relationships with us, because each BLock is but an instant in time, healing requires we be intimate with people only for these few brief, albeit painful moments.

Further, because we let ourselves be guided by the structure of each individual's exact injury (and not by some vague metaphor like their "issues"), we usually need not know all the details and unique circumstances of their suffering. In fact, as I've said, most times, we avoid these details entirely and ask that people focus on only the briefest of details, only on is necessary to reveal the BLock itself.

How can this brief look be effective though?

Remember, as I've said a number of times now, we Emergence Practitioners do not look for the "cause" of peoples' injuries. In fact, we see such efforts; the sifting through the details of peoples' lives looking for the "causes" of their suffering; as the modern equivalent to doing "stone-aged brain surgery."

For the most part then, we see this sifting-through-the-painful-details process as grossly unnecessary, and more times than not, simply sophisticated finger-pointing.

What do I mean?

Think about what people believe causes their injuries. Aren't these "causes" usually something some did wrong? Often too, don't these searches for "cause" more resemble "witch hunts" than therapy.

What I'm saying is, many therapies lead people to believe they suffer the way they do because their fathers were drunks or absent or because their mothers were critical or mentally ill. Kind-hearted therapists may add to this, "but they didn't mean to do this to you. They were sick, or ill, or had a disease and so, didn't know better."

Are these ideas true?

The facts referred to here may be true. These events may have even occurred. Moreover, yes, for most children, living through these kinds of events is very painful. Even so, if these painful events were what therapists have led us to believe; the actual cause of our injuries; then what accounts for the fact that children raised in the same environment often have widely differing injuries? Even children raised in the same household have injuries which vary widely.

The truth is, while people may have been injured during these events, just as often, the injuries we find occur during otherwise ordinary life events. In fact, I know this last idea to be personally true. It happened to me. My worst injury occurred in an otherwise ordinary life event.

Then too, there is the idea that the stage itself never creates the injury. Yes, these painful periods in our lives may indeed have been the stages on which our injuries occurred. But saying these stages create our injuries is like saying the stage creates the play.

This idea is simply absurd.

What does wounds us then?

Well, what we call it depends on which hat we wear.

For instance, if we are exploring life as Emergence "consciousness theorists," we call the structure of wounding, "the Three W's": [1] hyperawareness (What is happening), [2] being startled (When it happened), [3] and going into shock (Why it happened).

And if we are exploring life as Emergence "personality theorists," we call this sequence, "reliving the moment of birth." Here, we call the three events [1] layer 10 / 9 - connection, [2] layer 8 - aloneness, [3] and layer 7 - need.

Finally, if we are exploring life as Emergence "Guides," we represent these sequences visually, and call them "P Curves." In this case, we refer to the wounding sequence as [1] the onset ramp, [2] the peak, and [3] the plunge into shock.

Regardless of what we call this sequence though, it is literally what we look for during the course of our therapy. How different, then, for a therapist to be looking for an empirically defined structure rather than for some vague and elusive events called a "wound."

How about healing then? How does Emergence define healing?

Traditional therapies call these events, "breakthroughs"; not too far from the truth. Even so, how empirical is this?

Again, Emergence defines this event empirically. To us, "breakthroughs" are simply "emergences." Or "epiphanies." "Or "aha's." Or "eurekas" Or as we have been referring to them in this conversation, we might simply call them, "the moments of healing."

So how do we actually find these structures?

We look for the blank spots in the peoples' movies, the missing pieces in their inner lives. Again, this is a literal rather than a metaphor. All injury includes these non-visual parts.

What comes next?

We look for the junctions between these missing pieces and the first thing the person can picture just prior to these missing pieces.

What does this do?

It literally reveals the structure of peoples' injuries, one "instant" by one "instant." In a way, it's like finding the cracks in the foundations of peoples' lives, or the errors in their addition, or the "skips" in their phonograph records.

Regardless of what metaphor I use to describe these "missing pieces" though, finding them locates the structure we use to define the actual wound.

And healing?

Healing becomes the simple act of helping people to picture something on the screen of their minds in the portion of the event where they once saw nothing.

This last idea is the basis of Emergence Therapy and what makes it so different from other therapies. We empirically define not only the wound itself but also the nature of healing.

This is what allows us to refrains from the painful process of digging through each and every detail of peoples injuries. We don't need to do this to help them heal. We need only help them to visually fill in "the missing pieces."

At this point, you might answer, "Well, if you don't find the source, how will the person keep from suffering this wound again?"

Kim, this is a very good question. The answer. The suffering we all experience from injury occurs from the good we can not see, and not from the suffering we can see. This accounts for the common experiences we all have wherein we repeatedly fight the same argument with the same person and can't seem to stop it or see the good in doing it.

Where is the good in this?

It's hidden in the missing piece. It's in the blank spot; in the piece of life which has been BLocked on the screen of our minds.

But how is "filling in this blank spot," "healing?"

Because once we no longer have the missing piece, we no longer make the same mistake, no matter what the origin of the injury.

In a sense, it is what we are blind to that causes our suffering. In other words, the "injury" IS what has been BLocked and not so, has little to do with the original event other than some historical connection. Further, this holds true no matter how seemingly painful the original event was.

So how would any of this apply to your life?

Well, let me ask you. How did you do "wading through" my long reply? Was it frustrating? Was it difficult?

If it was, again, I'm sorry. However, please try to now consider this:

I wrote all these words to "you," a person I've never even met. Why? Because I care.

How can I care? Like the cause of injury, It doesn't matter, really.

What does matter is that you try to feel the thing I'm now saying personally; I wrote all these words because I care.

Now know this. If you can not feel this care, then you have a BLock in and around feeling care. In fact, these BLocks are the heart and soul of Emergence. Thus, if I can get you to actually experience the care I've tried to put into these long, repetitive, digressive words, then perhaps you may find the love in your marriage, love which I'm sure is there but has been hidden all along. Even if your husband has Asperger's. Even if he's a "cold math type."

Love takes many forms, Kim. And even when we are sure there is no love, more times than not, it's really just us missing the love that is there rather than that the love is not there.

As for writing again, please do write again, Kim. You see I, too, have "started to take responsibility for my situation and my healing, and to turn things around. And this writing is a part of it all for me."

Love to you and yours this year as well,


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