Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Methods for Fundamental Change in the Human Psyche"
Support Newsletter # 11, July 6, 2007
"Expanding to the UK"
From the Editor...
New format for Spiritual Emergency course
Letter from Nemi
Student Agreement Reminder
News from the Research Team
The Scotland Workshop
A conversation with Grant McFetridge
From Monti Scribner, Student Coordinator
From Gina Chick
From Rob Egan
Letters from students on "after the training"
From the editor...
First of all I'd like to welcome the people who joined this mailing list after the latest workshop in Scotland, and the new people from Australia. This newsletter is vaguely regular, or vaguely irregular, depending on the editor's day-job schedule and the volume of crisis calls. (Gardening season is also a factor.) We aim for monthly publication and occasionally hit the mark. Discussions on the WHH mailing list complement this publication and sometimes spark a theme for a newsletter.
The buzzwords I heard about the Findhorn workshop were "intense, challenging, difficult, satisfying." These workshops are never easy. There are paradigm shifts to digest; traumas get activated by the material itself; and anyone who starts digging into the past inevitably rocks his own boat, kicking the old sense of comfort overboard. The writings from students at the end of this newsletter show the different ways in which the work continues after we go home and a new equilibrium eventually settles in.
These so-called 'Basic' workshops end up providing several levels of training to different people. This time again we had returning students who re-did the course from the point of view of their more advanced training and longer experience; people taking their certification as peak state therapists; instructors in training, instructors teaching other instructors, all sorts of fauna getting all sorts of benefits from having a group of people coming together to explore just what it could mean to be fully human. It is rich ground for all of us.
I'd like to remind new trainees (and the rest of us) to work regularly on themselves - I cannot possibly overstate the importance of this, especially if you're intending to take advanced training - and expect some overwhelming emotions from time to time; these, in themselves, do not constitute a crisis. Work on yourself, work with your classmates (see Rob Egan's contribution about a network of UK students that has formed since the workshop), and then, only if you have exhausted your own resources, email or phone Monti (monti at peakstates.com, Eastern U.S. 843-588-1305) to talk about additional support. The direct phone numbers for Tal and Grant are for emergencies only.
Until next time...
We're taking a break from teleclasses (in case anyone hadn't noticed...) because we're short of people and energy to run them. Yes, that's a drag... these things do seem to have an ebb and flow.
For a complete list of upcoming workshops, please go to the Institute's website at www.peakstates.com/upcoming.html.
New format for Spiritual Emergency course
For those who didn't receive the posting on the WHH email list, I'm happy to announce that Grant and Nemi have located a wonderful online course on spiritual emergencies.
"As you know, we require that students becoming certified have training in spiritual emergency - symptoms, interventions, and so on. Currently, we've required the reading of several books on the topic followed by a quiz by us.
"I'm happy to report that now we have a second option - Dr. Lukoff, the psychologist who spearheaded the inclusion of "Spiritual and Religious Problems" in the DSM-IV (the diagnostic manual for mental illness used in the US and Canada) has an excellent online course in spiritual emergency. We are happy to accept the course with its built-in testing as meeting our requirements.
"Dr. Lukoff recommends only one text for the class - Dr. Stanislav Grof's Spiritual Emergencies. Other than that, all the material is on the website. To review this excellent course, go to www.spiritual-emergency.com. The course name is "DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems". In addition, we recommend (but it is optional) Dr. Lukoff's course on "Ethical Issues in Spiritual Assessment". For therapists in the US, the courses give CE (Continuing Education) credit for your license requirement.
"We've updated the Peak States website to include this option, in case you want to find it again in the future."
Lukoff is, in Grant's words, 'a real mover and shaker.' Getting spiritual emergencies included in the DSM-IV is a major achievement, since all things spiritual had long been dismissed by mainstream psychology as delusions or psychoses. This situation, of course, led to much unnecessary suffering for people who sought help to integrate unusual experiences. The course material includes some of the history of the shift, and it's a very interesting read.
The second, optional course mentioned in Nemi's email, "Ethical Issues in Spiritual Assessment", overlaps the first to some degree but offers some useful background material for people interested in the subject.
One can audit the courses for free. To get official certification, you complete a quiz and send the tuition fee of $89US to the agency that administers the course. We recommend that you do this for the spiritual emergency course; this tells us that a third party has verified your understanding of the course. (This also helps support Dr Lukoff's work.) One can register online and do the financial transaction via a secure website, or send the tuition fee by mail with a printed copy of the completed quiz. If your professional status requires ongoing education, both courses count as credits.
One thing I liked about our in-house self-study and questionnaire is that it asked the students to interpret issues about spiritual emergencies in the light of the Peak States paradigm. I'd still like this synthesis to happen (ok, ok: I'm the one who wrote the questionnaire, so I'm not biased at all, of course not!). So you might see questions on this topic in your certification exam.
Letter from Nemi
Dear all who receive this newsletter,
The first half of the year is gone and it has certainly been really full for me. I just took a forced rest as my body was saying stop… straining under the signs of burnout.
Here are a few items of news.
I actually can’t remember when the last newsletter appeared, so lets start in December. We had a training here in Australia with 10 participants. This training marked a milestone in ISPS history as we had our first certification graduate, Samsara Salier. Then a small WHH and a small Basic training with 5 participants each. I welcome the Australians on board, wishing you lots of enjoyment in the work.
The May training in Scotland brought 23 new people! Thank you Rob for getting this huge event up and running. It also marked a milestone. It was the biggest training we ever conducted so far, with three facilitators and Monti, who you all know from cyberspace, joining us in the flesh at last! Sara from Poland and Karl from AU/Poland assisted and took their certification tests, taking themselves a step closer to being certified.
There were other highlights in Scotland, like making a promotional DVD, having a ISPS organisational business meeting and other things that happened behind the scenes…and surely some of it will get talked about in this newsletter.
A Certification update
As you already know the basic certification PDF has been updated to include the online course for spiritual emergencies.
Please note the criteria for working with sexual abuse and violence have also changed. The text is clearer now and reads:
"2. Certificate of attendance for training in suicide prevention and intervention (or equivalent).
"a. If you intend to work with crisis intervention, or clients who have suffered sexual abuse, domestic violence or general violence, you need to supply proof of training in that field (RPL - Recognition of prior learning - or certificates of newly attended courses). Without proof of certification in that area you need to refer clients with these issues to therapists with appropriate training. "
Student agreement reminder
At the end of the Basic training a new reminder form is now used to advise people of what they can and cannot do. For those of you who trained earlier, here it is:
"Student Agreement Reminder
"Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Australia, May/June 2007, Revision 1.1
"I understand that I am in training, and have been learning techniques which I have agreed to use only with other trainees. I shall not use these processes with anyone who has not taken this training – the public, friends, family or anyone else. After I am certified, I will be informed of the restricted techniques (and their protocols) that I will be allowed to use with clients and others.
"I understand that I may use material in the Basic Whole-Hearted Healing Manual and Peak States, Volume 1 (all material available for purchase by the public), on myself and clients, as legally and ethically appropriate.
"I have been warned that specialized training is needed to work with clients who have issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, domestic violence, mental illness and spiritual emergency.
"I understand that the in-class Basic Peak States Therapist Manual is for my personal use only. Due to legal and safety concerns, it is not to be shared with anyone else (including family).
"I understand that the following processes are not released to the public:
All Peak States processes except the old version of Inner Peace from volume 1
Rapid Whole-Hearted Healing
Laks Peak Experience to Peak States
Gaia command processes
Any and all other processes not available for purchase by the public
"I understand that Whole-Hearted Healing and Distant Personality Release are processes that have been trademarked by ISPS and so cannot be taught in a workshop without approval by the Institute (just as with any trademark – you can’t sell a soft drink that you make and call it Coca-Cola, for example).
News from the Research Team
We've been running tests on updated versions of the Schizophrenia and Multiple Sclerosis processes, with very promising results. We demonstrated our process on volunteers from the Hearing Voices Network in Scotland. We also ran the Silent Mind Technique on a schizophrenic volunteer as a demonstration for the Vancouver Island Health Authority in Canada.
Gina Chick visited Hornby Island for advanced training, with a focus on healing schizophrenia, with the goal of opening a clinic. The Scotland team is working to open a clinic this Fall.
The Scotland Workshop
A conversation with Grant McFetridge
Newbold House was a grand summer house for some very, very rich person before becoming a retreat centre. The group literally led 'la vie de château' (castle life) for the duration. It was a larger group than usual (22 people), which presented some challenges. 3 students were professionals in psychology; most of the others had some experience with alternative therapies and wanted to integrate WHH to their practices. Two students attended as part of their certification; a few more were taking the workshop a second time, to deepen their understanding of the vast quantity of material after a period of practice.
Grant followed his plan of getting away from teaching basics, and mostly supervised the newer teachers (Nemi, Tal, and Monti). "They did a great job; it's always nice to see different styles of teaching. I think we reach more people that way. But as always, there was too much material to cover in the allotted time." Grant also was amused to see how the overall learning styles differ in various countries. "In Australia, the instructors weren't getting any sleep because the students insisted on keeping the work going into the wee hours. In Scotland, on the other hand, people wanted time to integrate the material as they went -- meaning less class time daily-- instead of cramming it all in and hoping for integration later. "
Still, with so much to learn, a new paradigm to digest, and such a large group, some of the students had their anxieties triggered. ("All this new work to do... so little time... Is it safe?" Sounds like conception, doesn't it?)
The team taught Rapid WHH to a large group for the second time (the second Polish group was the first to learn it). "Everyone seemed to get it. It's still too new to be taught in teleclasses for now, though; I'd rather teach it live, with people in a residential workshop, accessible if they run into any problems, until we've tested it on enough people."
We'd like to remind people who learned the technique that it's still brand-new and that they are not to use it on clients under any circumstances.
From Monti Scribner, Student Coordinator
Monti attended the workshop as student support and instructor-in-training. She had some previous teaching experience; most notably she co-developed a way to teach 'triune brain therapy' in workshops, and acted as instructor in some of the teleclasses. But this was the first full-scale workshop she'd attended since hosting a Basic PeakStates workshop in the US in 2004. "This is such uncharted territory, the students basically approached it on faith; they had no idea what to expect. The most amazing part was to witness the difference between the first and last day; to watch the transformation in the students, from fear and frustration and disorientation, to getting their sea legs, experiencing some first successes, and in the last days as we did the peak state processes, enthusiasm, excitement, and unbelievable changes."
From Gina Chick
"I attended the Peak States 1 workshop in Scotland as a step toward certification as a Peak States therapist. Although I had previously attended a workshop 18 months ago, there were parts of the work that I consistently had trouble with, namely regressing and WHH.
"I am incredibly grateful to have taken the course again. It has been streamlined and improved and Nemi's influence is a great benefit. I learned a lot more this time around and would recommend anyone take the course again. There is so much information and the Institute seems to be updating all the time. Some of the processes I learned the first time have been superseded and are vastly simpler, safer and more effective.
"These techniques are so powerful and wonderful, I'm looking forward to incorporating them into my business, and working toward opening a clinic in Australia. Thanks to Grant, Tal, Nemi, Monti, Sara and Karl for all their time and patience."
From Rob Egan
"Yes I survived - just about. As I'm sure you know it is very intensive and as organiser I had to learn and integrate all that material around the edges, which made it even more challenging.
"However, the workshop was amazing - the extent of the tools and theory together with the practice were exhausting - bringing up some of my traumas! - but so inspiring.
"We have two more 9-day Peak State courses in March and August of next year, as well as a WHH course in England, hopefully early November. We are also hoping to set up an ISPS clinic in Scotland by the end of the year.
"A local 'dirt time' practice group meets every Wednesday with 9 participants and we have now set up a business development group to organise trainings, set up clinics, disseminate information about Peak States, etc. Tina is taking a sabbatical to help set things up and learn the techniques. I'm working full time on this already and Jewels is also leaving her current employment to dedicate herself to the work. So lots of activity and excitement here!"
Letters from students on "after the training"
The first letter conveys well how all this transformation can mean subtle - and sometimes not-so-subtle - readjustments in the way we relate to other people, especially in close relationships. These often become destabilised when one of the partners suddenly leaps forward in emotional growth. (One thing to remember is that it's not necessary for your partner to do this work unless he or she wants to; you can use the projection technique or DPR to solve a lot of potential problems unilaterally. This is a way to take full responsibility for your own path.)
Some peak states don't make us feel drastically different; instead, they become more apparent when we catch ourselves failing to rise to old baits or remaining peaceful in situations we would have called inherently upsetting. This student - who remains anonymous because I hadn't yet received permission to use her name at publication time - gives two great examples of this.
"Just to let you know that I have found myself working on basic WHH since the workshop with someone who would have liked to have been on the May course and is planning to do the October one. This is proving to be very suitable and clarifying for me. It is also useful for her to gain experience in the basics before the next course. I had planned only to work with students from the course but obviously God/Gaia has other plans. I plan to be at the next course and would love to go for accreditation if possible.
"I had arrived home after the Peak States workshop in a very expanded space and noted that I was stirring my husband's inner disturbances just with my presence and chatter. The next day I received some of D's fantastic spinal treatment which really shifted stuff for me and expanded me even further. That night my poor husband was really stirred. He suffers frequently from nightmares, screams and lashes out in his sleep, often hitting me. Normally when I get suddenly hurt and shocked out of deep sleep, I go into a space of seething anger and storm off to our bed to calm down while he just goes easily back to sleep. I often sleep very poorly afterwards. Well, this night, within two hours of going to sleep he was in a stunner of a nightmare. He screamed the loudest and longest I've ever heard, hitting me in the eye. I watched myself jump out of bed screaming along with him, then return to bed. I did not feel pain where I had been hit, and settled rapidly into amusement at what had happened. We just talked and laughed while we both let our heart rates settle. He was then feeling frightened to go back to sleep so I spent time doing my body work for him together with basic WHH to release the knot in his solar plexus and ease his fear. He rapidly went to sleep and I got up and happily did some writing until I felt sleepy again.
"The next morning I learned that our next door neighbor was about to have our dividing conifer hedge severely lopped. When I first heard of this plan a few weeks ago I was upset and angry at the loss of these lovely trees. Love for and Intimacy with trees is a frequent peak experience for me. Indiscriminate tree cutting and butchering is BIG STUFF for me. This day however, I watched the workman set up, had a cry as I said goodbye to the lovely beings I so often gaze at through the window. I then started to watch and admire the skill of the tree lopper and enjoy the man's good looks, agility and strength. He spotted me watching and we waved and smiled. I accepted what was happening as it was happening when I thought I wouldn't be able to bear to watch. I also normally get very irritated by repetitive machinery noises and they had both a chain saw and wood chipper on the go. I realized I would be unable to focus on reading as planned so I went to the kitchen to cook, adding to the racket by running a blender. All was calm, peace and light for me.
"I also want to say that when I filled in the feedback form I was quite definitely feeling the apex effect and never gave anything an excellent rating. I want you all to know that I my overall rating for the course is 10+."
The Peak-Experience-to-Peak-State process can bring some surprises. Jewels reports on an experience that can rock one's very foundations, especially if one is unprepared. As most of the students, she had some more work to do after the workshop to stabilise her new peak state. Part of the phenomenon of seeming to lose the new state after a while can be because we're now used to it; it has become the new 'normal.' For this student, taking stock of her beliefs and perceptions made her realise that she did have a peak state after all. We're grateful to Jewels for sharing her story, because it may normalise the experience for other people encountering it.
"I wanted to write to tell you what I am experiencing following the Peak States training as I integrate the work I did. The most profound experience of the training was the session when we chose a peak experience and looked at healing the traumas that block it being a peak state. In the first instance Emma helped me going into the process. I had chosen a peak experience that I had described as a ‘Connection with Universal Consciousness/God’ and had made notes on such as wonder/awe, expansiveness, release, connection, beauty, openness, lightness and gratitude. Using rapid WHH I regressed and went down very fast to the bottom of the pore and began the process to heal it. It did not take very long to reach CPL and then BL began to grow rapidly. Suddenly, I felt my head tipping backwards as a small spotlight of light latched onto the top of my forehead (it felt like a tractor beam – locked on!) It intensified then grew in size to cover the top of my head but still centred on my forehead. Then it felt like my being (my skin) was being ripped open and being pulled down over my face very slowly, then down my neck and eventually all the way down my body. I could barely breathe, the light was massively intense and there were rings of radiating light falling/strobe-like through the beam over my body. The only way I could describe the physical feeling to Emma was that it felt like how you would imagine a butterfly would feel when its cocoon first splits open and it starts to emerge through the opening and as the opening gets larger as it pushes through.
"Emma made sure I stayed in this state of CPL and BL a good long while before I returned from the regressed state. On first awareness, I was a 10 in achieving the peak state, which dropped to an 8 as I experienced my first nervousness and shock at this reawakening. Lots of further regressions entailed and during this time Lars took over from Emma. As I had been having some very unusual sensations in my head during the additional work I had raised my hands to feel the energy in front of my third eye area and with eyes completely closed saw that I had glowing hands and arms. This was an amazing and completely curious side effect (which was also repeated the following day when I did two more regressions on blocks to this peak state, with Gary P.). At some point at the end of the initial session I felt that I had been unable to retain the peak state. From my description during the experience Emma subsequently told me that she believed that the state I was aiming for was ‘Connection to the Creator’. When we finished the afternoon/evenings work I rated myself as back at a zero. In my sharing I said that I felt very proud of myself that I had not traveled down a self-pity and recrimination track when I could not maintain the state. I am prepared to do the hard work to clear remaining trauma because this was real. I also shared that I seem to have developed hyper-sensitive senses.
"On further examination I wanted to share with you my understanding now that I have integrated my experience during the last week. I would re-rate myself as being fluctuating between a 5 and a 6 in maintaining connection with my peak state. There are several key changes I have noticed. 1. Who I am has changed. My perception is that I am no longer my body, an interesting experience looking in a mirror now! What I see is like a glove or a hologram. Who I am is me! Guessing that’s my centre of awareness. 2. My body can appear quite hollow and sound vibration resonates inside the skin as though it were an empty chamber. 3. I can see vibrations. Difficult to describe in words. It’s like seeing the vibration of colour, air and energy in 3D and HD ‘high definition’. Depth perception is very different and changeable. 4. All my senses still seem to be highly acute and hyper-sensitive. If I focus on any of the above they become foreground, otherwise I can have them in the background.
"Of course with the amount of work we did these may not all be directly associated with this peak state. They did however all stem from this one major session and subsequent healing on associated healing strands, with the return to the peak state as the regression aim.
"I wanted to put down in words my experience in case it is of interest and in case my description of my kinaesthetic experience may help someone else.
During closure I said, “I feel as though I am in a Rumi poem”. On listening to the Rumi CD, A Gift of Love by Deepak Chopra, I found the poem I am living now. I want to share it with you.
From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face.
But, today, I have seen it.
Today, I have seen the Charm, the Beauty,
the unfathomable Grace,
of the face that I was looking for.
Today, I have found you.
And those who laughed and scorned me yesterday,
are sorry that they were not looking as I did.
I am bewildered by the magnificence of your Beauty
and wish to see you with a hundred eyes.
My Heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous Beauty that I now behold.
I am ashamed to call this Love human
and afraid of God to call it divine.
Your fragrant breath, like the morning breeze,
has come to the stillness of the garden.
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your Sunshine and also your Shadow.
My Soul is screaming in Ecstasy,
Every Fibre of my Being is in Love with you,
Your affordance has lit a Fire in my Heart
And you have made radiant for me the Earth and Sky.
My arrow of love has arrived at the target.
I am in the house of Mercy
And my Heart is ablaze of Prayer.
I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FROM THE CENTRE OF MY BEING. I HOPE I CAN RETURN, WITH INTEREST, BACK TO HUMANITY WHAT YOU HAVE GIFTED TO ME.
WITH THE DEEPEST OF LOVE AND GRATITUDE
We welcome your questions and comments, email: support at peakstates.com.
Copyright 2007 by Grant McFetridge