Latest Update 8/21/13

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Grief Groups

I first posted this page in the Spring of 2007 as I was attempting to organize the types of grief groups here in San Diego that I had previously done in other locations.  I first got two groups going at a location I was renting in Carlsbad in late March and April of 2007.  Those groups were successful but the location ended up being too expensive.  The challenge of getting enough people who are committed to doing the work + the ability to schedule a day and time to do the group that works for everyone + a location that is appropriate and reasonably priced prevented me from doing any more groups until the summer of 2008 when we were able to do a group in one of the participants homes.  When someone has a suitable space in their home that is really the most intimate kind of a setting for the groups.

Now in late January 2009 there seems to be enough interest to get a group started if we can find appropriate location.  The paragraph below was the first paragraph on this page when I posted it almost two years ago - it describes some of the challenges of finding a location.  I have not made changes to the rest of this page as yet - will update it as we see how things work out. ~  RB 1/23/09
"I am very happy to announce that after several months of searching I have found a space to do the follow up inner child healing grief groups for people who have attended one of my Intensive Training Day workshops.  It was difficult to find a space because it needed:  to be a location that was appropriate for doing emotional release work (in other words, a space in which people can feel comfortable with making the noise that is inevitable when someone does grief and anger energy release work);  to be affordable enough that I could do the groups for a reasonable price (although I have had to set the price a little higher than I was hoping to when I started looking);  and I wanted a location in North San Diego County that made it a relatively reasonable drive for people from Los Angeles and Orange Counties who had expressed an interest in attending.  I am very pleased with the space that we have found in Carlsbad."
The purpose of these groups is pretty neatly summarized in the following excerpt from my biographical information page that I wrote in 1998 when I first posted a web site on the internet. (An addition has been made in the text in this color for clarity.)
"The focus of Robert Burney's therapy is teaching self-empowerment. . . . The purpose of his work is helping people to access their own Spirit so that they can learn to depend upon, and trust, their own intuition.  He specializes in small groups (maximum 4 people - for a 3 hour group) which focus on changing the core relationship with self. These consciousness expanding process groups are designed to help people on a Spiritual Path become more aligned with the healing process so that life can become an easier, more enjoyable experience. During the course of the group process individuals learn how to:  get in touch with and release childhood grief which allows emotional honesty with self;  get intimately in touch with both the inner child (inner children) and Higher Self;  have internal boundaries, as well as external boundaries, in order to stop being at war within and start developing a more Loving relationship with self.

It is Robert's unique approach and application of the concept of internal boundaries coupled with the Spiritual belief system he teaches that make his work so innovative and effective.  The following paragraphs from one of his pamphlets exemplifies both the philosophy and goal of his therapeutic work:

"Learn how to integrate Spiritual Truth and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into your experience of life and find some balance in your relationships.  Knowing Spiritual Truth intellectually will not make your fear of intimacy disappear or relieve you of the shame you feel deep within.  Integrating Spiritual Truth into your day-to-day life process and emotional reactions is what will set you free.

It is possible to feel the feelings without being the victim of them.  It is possible to change the way you think so that your mind is no longer your worst enemy.  It is possible to become empowered to have choices in life at the same time you are letting go of trying to be in control.  Life can be an exciting, enjoyable adventure if you stop reacting to it out of your childhood emotional wounds and attitudes." - biographical information page

Attending one of my Intensive Training Day workshops is a prerequisite for someone to participate in one of these groups. ***

January 2010
The group that I mention in the entry above from last January, ran from March thru April 18th at one of the participants homes and was very successful.  There was not the combination of factors (committed people, space to do it, scheduling compatibility) necessary to do another group in 2009 - but it looks like it could be possible in early 2010.  And there is a possibility that by Spring I could actually have some office space available to not only do the grief groups but to also do in person individual and couples counseling.  I have on occasion been doing in person counseling with individuals when we had a place the person was comfortable with meeting and did work with the couple who I mention below that got married last year - and have had inquiries about in person counseling lately.  Not having an office makes that difficult, but hopefully it will be possible to make more available in the coming months.

May 1, 2010
There is the possibility of a group starting in the coming weeks.

October 1, 2010
The possible group back in May did not work out - but there is now a possibility of one this fall.  The location of this one would be in La Mesa near Interstate 8 and Hiway 125 - on Saturday afternoon.


 August 21, 2013 - It is possible that a grief group could be starting in the Encinitas area - let me know if you are interested.

In the table just below I will explain the structure, location and other details about the groups.  Just below are the prices and payment links.  Below that I will share a little of my history with the grief process and facilitating inner child groups.

Welcome
to a page of

Joy2MeU

The Web Site of Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist, author, Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises.

Logo of Joy2Meu Web Site.
Go to Home Page
 
 

 Site index pageSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.'

Structure

The groups will be made up of a minimum of 3 people and maximum of 5.  If the group consist of 3 or 4 people they will be 3 hours in length - while any group of 5 will be 4 hours. 

The format is that each person shares their processing individually while I facilitate and the rest of group witnesses the process.  In other words it is not group therapy where the focus is upon dynamic of the interaction within the group - instead the focus is upon individual processing.  Each person gets a turn sitting in the processing chair (which some group members in the past have called the "hot seat".)  While in that chair a person talks about whatever issues they are focusing upon - often reading from a writing assignment I have given them - as a way of getting to any grief that it is time for them to release.  I will guide and facilitate this processing to help the participants to achieve deeper emotional honesty, release repressed emotional energy, gain more clarity on their issues and a stronger connection with their own spirit / intuition / Higher Self - all parts of a transformational process of becoming more personally empowered, compassionate, and Loving in relationship with self. 

The other people in the group do not give feedback - unless they are specifically asked to by the person processing at the end of their work session (and then only if I think it is appropriate and beneficial) - but rather to sit as silent witnesses in support of the person processing.  I found in my experience with groups, that when codependents are expected to give feedback after someone has shared, that can cause us to focus on trying to figure out the "right" things to say rather than really being present and listening - or to offer opinions or advice that are coming out of our own issues and might not have anything to do with the person involved (and in fact can sometimes be abusive and shaming.)  The goal for the witnessing participants is to be present and share the emotional intimacy of observing another person's process, while also observing what issues or insights it is bringing up, what buttons / inner child wounds are being triggered, within themselves.  The time witnessing other peoples processing is an opportunity to gain a great deal of insight and knowledge about codependency and the recovery process. 

Likewise, no one is allowed to touch another person in the group unless the person decides to ask for a hug, or to be held or something.  Often when someone is in their emotional process, we codependents want to comfort them - by placing a hand on their back or shoulder or something - and that can actually interrupt a person's emotional process. 

The purpose of this structure is to help each person to focus on their own process - while also witnessing and supporting each other (wherever 2 or more are gathered in the name of Love there is great healing power.)  Seeing another person go through their emotional release work helps the other people in the group let down their defenses and be more open to going through emotional release of their own - and helps them get in touch with issues within that are triggered by the person who is processing.  The effect of this format is to create a safe, emotionally intimate, supportive environment to focus on healing and taking power away from the emotional wounds of our childhood - while developing a healthier and more balanced relationship with our own emotions. 

I will give assignments - primarily writing assignments but also certain tasks - that are designed to both facilitate getting in touch with grief and subconscious programming from childhood, and to help people understand how to develop the internal boundaries that are the key to spiritual integration and achieving some emotional balance.   Those assignments are what the processing will normally be focused upon, unless some life event has occurred that is helping a person to get in touch with their feelings. 

Schedule


The location of the possible group in fall of 2010 is in La Mesa and the group would meet on Saturday afternoons.  This would most likely not be 5 consecutive Saturdays, but rather 5 Saturdays over a period of 7 or 8 weeks.  The details of scheduling will depend on the needs of the people who will be participating in the group.  If you are interested in being in a group send me an e-mail at joy2meu@silcom.com

Price

The price for participating in the group is $450 for the five 3 (or 4) hour group sessions.  It will also be necessary to do an hour and a half session with Robert prior to starting the group so he can get a history.  This can be done on the phone or in person - though in person is much preferable.  The price of this intake session will be $75.  If someone has already been doing some work with Robert then this probably won't be necessary.

Inner child healing grief group for $450


Intake session + grief group $525

***Price for someone who has not done Intensive

I have added an alternative qualifier for people who have not done an Intensive workshop.  That involves 2 1/2 hours of telephone counseling.  This is prior to the Intake session - which as I mentioned above is best done in person.

Special Offers for Phone counseling alternative prerequisite + Grief Group
Phone Counseling alternative + grief group for $675 (regular price $97.50 + 70 + 525 = $692.50 - so a slight discount available here)
 

Any questions, please call me at 760-451-6213.

In my April 2009 Update Newsletter I share about a wedding we attended in February that was a direct result of the two people doing the inner child grief groups. - RB 4/8/09

History

Learning how to do emotional energy release work - grief work - saved my life.  In 1988, in my fifth year of sobriety, while working as a therapist in an outpatient treatment program in Van Nuys California, I was given the gift of going to a 30 day treatment program for codependency.

"So for over a year, I was pursuing my healing of the childhood programming on mostly an intellectual level.  It wasn't until I set myself up to feel abandoned and betrayed on my birthday (one of my old regular patterns for special days) that I became willing to do the emotional healing - and started actively pursuing emotional healing. . . . . .

. . . . . My pursuit of emotional healing lead me into depths of pain and rage that I would never have thought myself capable of surviving.   It led me into a 30 day treatment program for Codependence that was the greatest gift I ever gave myself." - Joy2MeU Journal: The Story of "Joy to You & Me"

In that treatment program, in Tucson Arizona, I was first introduced to the concept of emotions as energy.  It was there that I got to experience, and witness, the power of the grieving process.

"Attempting to suppress emotions is dysfunctional; it does not work.  Emotions are energy:  E-motion = energy in motion.  It is supposed to be in motion, it was meant to flow. . . .

. . . . Emotional honesty is absolutely vital to the health of the being.  Denying, distorting, and blocking our emotions in reaction to false beliefs and dishonest attitudes causes emotional and mental disease.  This emotional and mental disease causes physical, biological imbalance which produces physical disease.

Codependence is a deadly and fatal disease because of emotional dishonesty and suppression.  It breaks our hearts, scrambles our minds, and eventually kills our physical body vehicles because of the Spiritual dis-ease, because of our wounded souls.

The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process.  Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses - until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment - we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth.  We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self." - quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

 It was in that treatment program that I started to see - and experience - how releasing the stored, repressed grief energy was the key to codependency recovery, the key to learning to Love myself.

"The way to stop reacting out of our inner children is to release the stored emotional energy from our childhoods by doing the grief work that will heal our wounds.  The only effective, long term way to clear our emotional process - to clear the inner channel to Truth which exists in all of us - is to grieve the wounds which we suffered as children.  The most important single tool, the tool which is vital to changing behavior patterns and attitudes in this healing transformation, is the grief process.  The process of grieving.

We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago.  We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.

When someone "pushes your buttons," he/she is activating that stored, pressurized grief energy.  She/he is gouging the old wounds, and all of the newer wounds that are piled on top of those original wounds by our repeating behavior patterns.

We are terrified of this pressurized pain, terror, shame, and rage energy - of "having our buttons pushed" - because we have experienced it in the past as instances where we have explosively overreacted in ways that caused us to later feel ashamed and crazy, or as implosive reactions that have thrown us into that deep dark pit of emotional despair within.

We are walking around with this set of buttons available to be pushed by any person, place, thing, or combination thereof that recreates the dynamics of the situation wherein we were originally wounded. . . .  We carry this set of buttons, this baggage, with us until we release that stored, pressurized grief energy in a healthy grieving process.  This society's answer to behavior caused by unresolved grief is to shame you, label you, lock you up, and/or give you drugs.  We do not have to play that game anymore.  We have new tools now, and we have rediscovered the healing power of the natural grieving process.

It is through healing our inner child, our inner children, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior patterns and clear our emotional process.  We can release the grief with its pent-up rage, shame, terror, and pain from those feeling places which exist within us.

That does not mean that the wound will ever be completely healed.  There will always be a tender spot, a painful place within us due to the experiences that we have had.  What it does mean is that we can take the power away from those wounds.   By bringing them out of the darkness into the Light, by releasing the energy, we can heal them enough so that they do not have the power to dictate how we live our lives today.  We can heal them enough to change the quality of our lives dramatically.  We can heal them enough to Truly be happy, Joyous and free in the moment most of the time.

It is through having the courage and willingness to revisit the emotional "dark night of the soul" that was our childhood, that we can start to understand on a gut level why we have lived our lives as we have.

Forgiveness

It is when we start understanding the cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were, and the effect it had on the adult we became, that we can Truly start to forgive ourselves.  It is only when we start understanding on an emotional level, on a gut level, that we were powerless to do anything any differently than we did that we can Truly start to Love ourselves.

The hardest thing for any of us to do is to have compassion for ourselves.  As children we felt responsible for the things that happened to us.  We blamed ourselves for the things that were done to us and for the deprivations we suffered.  There is nothing more powerful in this transformational process than being able to go back to that child who still exists within us and say, "It wasn't your fault.  You didn't do anything wrong, you were just a little kid." . . . .

. . . . . .It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are.  And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around."

"I went into that treatment program to save my life.  I had no vision whatsoever of any future at that time - I was just desperate to learn how to deal with the feelings that were erupting like a volcano from within me.  In that treatment program I learned how to deal with my emotional wounds.  I begin learning about the grief process.  I started to be capable of being Truly alive for the first time in my life. Thank God!!!!!  I am so grateful to The Goddess for that incredible, transformational experience.  It not only saved my life - it gave me life.  The tears of Joy are pouring out as I write this, remembering where I was and what an incredible series of miracles it took to guide me out of that hell.   Entering that treatment center was the single greatest gift I have ever given myself - and an incredibly powerful demonstration of the absolute Truth that I am Loved by the Universe." - Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Miracles
In my Joy2MeU Journal I share the story of my early recovery - and how my path unfolded to land me in that treatment center in 1988.  I call that series of articles 30 Days in the Desert - Falling Apart and Breaking Through.  Here is an excerpt from that series about my first experience of being guided through a session of deep grieving.
"The treatment program included a special grief group that people would attend in addition to their regular therapy group.  These grief groups were focused on helping people release grief around specific issues of loss or abandonment or death etc.  They weren't designed specifically to heal inner child issues but were being used for that purpose by the outside therapist who was contracted to do the groups.

In the normal course of events, I wouldn't have attended a grief group until probably my second week of treatment after my primary counselor had identified that I had some specific issue to deal with.  Since I was a therapist myself, and understood my issues so well - and since I desperately wanted to do some work on the emotional incest before my mother's arrival, my counselor arranged for me to attend one of the groups.

The grief groups at Sierra Tucson were going to change my life immeasurably.  On a personal level the work that I did in 5 or 6 grief groups I attended during that 30 days, was the single most important part of treatment for me.  The whole of the treatment program was necessary for the transformation I experienced there - but of all the parts of the program the grief work was the most liberating.

The tools and techniques that I started learning in those groups for facilitating the grief process, along with what I was learning about the emotional/energetic dynamics of the grief process, were to provide the foundation for the innovative inner child healing formula that I would be developing in the years following treatment.  It was the grief process as I started to understand it in those groups that helped me to clear my inner channel enough to start accessing Truth and my True Self - and which enabled me to pioneer the techniques that would help others access their Truth and True Selves. . . . .

. . . . . So, I attended my first grief group at the end of that first partial week in treatment.

. . . . What is so important to understand about grief is that it is energy.  Emotional energy that gets trapped in our bodies because we do not have permission to own it, and were not taught how to release it.  Instead we were taught to repress it.  Repressing it causes it to compress and build up pressure until it becomes explosive.  It can then explode out of us, or implode to damage us internally.

My grief energy was exploding out of me by the time I got to treatment - causing the bursts of crying and sobbing that were happening at work on Fridays, and the suicidal hallucinations I had been experiencing.  What I started learning in that first grief group was how to align myself with the grief process so I could release that grief energy in a healing way.  As long as I was trying to suppress it, and then judging myself for it exploding out of me - I was not aligned with the healing process, my relationship with my own emotions remained dysfunctional.

In that first grief group, I started to learn how to observe my grief process so I could align with it.  As I talked about the emotional incest issues with my mother, I started to get emotional.  That was when the therapist asked me where I felt the energy in my body, where there was tightness and tension.  That day I identified that I had tension in my lower back.  When she told me to start visualizing breathing white light into my lower back is when it all started breaking loose.

The treatment center had bat like objects, called batakas, that were made of some kind of foam material.  These batakas were used to beat on a large cushion like object.  These were also filled with some kind of foam material.  They were probably 3 feet high by 2 feet by 2 feet - something like that.  They could be used for doing anger work either standing or sitting.  (I was later to discover another way to use them when I did anger work over my death in my last life time.)  The idea was to take the bataka in both hands and raise it straight back over the head - inhaling as the bataka was raised - and then bringing the bataka down on the cushion with an exhalation that included some kind of noise or words, a yell or "I hate you" or whatever words that came out of our mouths.  This noise was a very important part of owning our voice, giving voice to the inner child's feelings.

In terms of the crying that is so vital in the grief work, breath would be inhaled into the place in the body that the energy was concentrated - and then the energy would start to break up.  Balls of energy would be released from the body on the exhale - that is what sobs are, balls of energy.

In relationship to my emotional incest issues, the energy was in my lower back - which made perfect sense, since that is the area of the second chakra which pertains to sexuality and sensuality.  Emotional incest is sexuality abuse.  It is not sexual abuse, as in overtly sexual molestation - although that can certainly also be present for some people.  I was not sexually abused however.  The emotional incest did greatly affect my relationship with my own sexuality, with myself as a man - because the feelings of responsibility for some one else's emotions cannot be separated from sexual expression in an intimate relationship.  My emotional incest issues had made it impossible for me to have a healthy sexual relationship - thus the lower back was a logical place for that grief to be carried.

On that day, in that grief group, I started aligning with the grief process by observing myself as I directed my breath into my lower back.  I was overcome with rage and grief.  I started out beating on the cushion with the bataka and then collapsed to the floor in torrents of CRYING.  I was sobbing and crying and snot was running out of my nose as I released huge amounts of grief energy.  At a certain point in the process, I also started to vomit.  The therapist had a metal trash can right there for me to vomit into - but there was no actual matter coming out, just energy.  I vomited out energy again and again amidst the sobbing and crying and yelling.

It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  When I was done, as I lay on the floor exhausted, the therapist said "good work" and the people in the group applauded.  Totally exhausted I was - yet somehow lighter and freer and happier than I ever remembered being.  It was truly a liberating experience to release some of the energy that I had been repressing.

It had been kind of a surrealistic experience.  While part of me was feeling the incredible pain and rage and shame, feeling completely out of control and terrified - another part of me was watching myself on that floor crying and vomiting.  I was observing this poor man who had so much pain and helping him to do what it took to release all that could be released at that moment.  What an experience." - Joy2MeU Journal: The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul  30 Days in the Desert - Falling Apart and Breaking Through III

(This experience was a major emotional release that culminated months of digging into those emotional incest issues in a very intense way - so it is very unlikely that anyone in the upcoming groups will experience a release of this intensity.)

After I got out of that treatment center, I immediately moved from Los Angeles where I had been living back to first Arizona, and then to Taos New Mexico.  During the times in Arizona and New Mexico, I was led to learn more about the grieving process - and about emotions as energy.  In the fall of 1989 I moved to Cambria California,  (The story of that move is told in the installment of The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul entitled Miracles which I quoted above - I shared an excerpt from that installment of my Journal in my October 2005 Update Newsletter.)

After I moved to Cambria, I started several Co-Dependents Anonymous Meetings.  In those meetings, the sharing I did about the importance of the grief process, and about what I had learned about healing my inner children, prompted other people to want to learn what I knew.  That led to me starting to teach people how to do inner child healing and to facilitate grief work for people in small groups - because I had learned that it was easier to get to and release the grief in a safe, supportive group setting.  In the early 90s Co-Dependents Anonymous was explosively growing as people learned about codependence for the first time.  The work I was doing with people combined with being asked to speak in public in a number venues led to me giving a public talk - that became my book: Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls - in the summer of 1991.  For several years I was doing the inner child healing groups in Cambria - until I moved back to Taos for various reasons in 1992.  In Taos the talk that was to become my book evolved and so did my work, as I had many inner child grief groups in Taos.  By the time I moved back to Cambria when my book was published in the fall of 1995, Co-Dependents Anonymous was on the decline, and it became very hard to get enough people in the area who were willing to do the work - which caused me to move to Santa Barbara for a few years.  (I talk about the decline of CoDA on the page The decline of Co-Dependents Anonymous - which was just enlarged with the inclusion of some comments from my November 2006 Update.)

In another installment of my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal, I talk about the difficulty of getting enough people who were willing to do the grief work organized into groups in the area I was living.

"This area of the Central Coast of California, which is my preferred place to live, is also - as I have mentioned previously - a hard place to make a living.  It is hard for most anybody that lives in this area (as is pretty normal, really desirable places to live are often the places where it is hardest to make a living) but is especially hard for me.

There are several factors that make this so.

The nature of my therapy practice provides a couple of those factors.  I do not generally do long term individual therapy with people.  The goal in my work is to empower people.  I try to help people change their relationship with themselves enough to start realizing that they can trust their intuition to guide them.  I teach people that they don't need some "expert" to tell them how to live life - that their Spirit will guide them if they can just learn how to stop reacting to their wounds and listen.  In doing individual counseling I do sessions that last up to an hour and a half because I found that the traditional cut off point of 50 minutes was about the time people really started to open up.  I started out doing inner child healing groups with up to 7 people in them and progressed to limiting those groups to 4 people.  These are grief process groups - not group therapy interaction types of groups - so the focus is on each person getting more insight into their own process and getting in touch with their grief.  The reason I ended up doing smaller groups was that I found that they were more empowering to the individuals.  When I had 7 people in a 3 hour group, I had to be very intrusive into the process to try to stay within the time limits.  With less people, it is possible to allow someone - with minimal guidance usually - to get to their own breakthroughs.  That helped people get past the illusion that they needed me to get in touch with their Truth.  One of the things I take pride in, is overhearing someone telling another person something that I specifically said to them but that they own as their own revelation - because what I am doing is reminding people of things they already know on some level, so it is their own revelation.

So, I have had periods of time where I had a lot of clients for a little while.  Clients come for three months and then come back a year later, or once every three months or something like that.  I have never had - nor attempted to have - a secure client base that I know is going to keep coming in week after week for months and years.  This is what feels right for me.  It is aligned with my personal sense of integrity.  It is not good for having any financial security.

The second factor having to do with my practice is, that I have always gotten the majority of my referrals from word of mouth.  Both Taos New Mexico (where I lived in 1988-89, and 1992-95) and Santa Barbara (1997-99) were areas where word of mouth traveled.  They were in some way centralized in terms of information flow in the community.

The Central coast is not a place where word of mouth travels.  Part of this is because of the unique geography - and the rest is because of the resulting mental perceptions of the people who live here.  There are a number of small (4,000-5000) to a little larger (8,000-10,000) communities in San Luis Obispo county.  The largest "city" is a college town that without the college population is about 40,000.  These communities tend to be isolated and insular in their thinking.  To many people in this area, driving 20 miles is a big deal.  It is rare for people to be willing to drive from San Luis Obispo to Cambria - which is a whopping 35 miles away.

In the times I have lived on the Central Coast (1989-92, 95-early 97, fall and winter 98, since October 99) I have had a very hard time getting very many clients.  One of the reasons that I moved down to Santa Barbara was because I had more clients down there - through my book and workshops - than I had up here.  (I gave inclusive dates for when I was living in various places to give you all a framework.  I didn't actually start doing this work, and develop a private practice, until 1990.  I will explain that in a future issue in this series,)" - Joy2Meu Journal The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul  My Unfolding Process 4 May 2000

My desire to live in Cambria, coupled with the difficulty of the logistics involved in doing the groups - renting space (I actually did many of the early groups in the home of one of the participants), getting enough people who were willing to do the work and whose schedules matched enough to find a time to do them - were factors in shifting my focus away from facilitating the groups to doing phone counseling.  I talk about this transition on my biography page.
"By the time I moved back to the Central Coast in the fall of 1995, the codependency movement was declining rapidly (something I talk about on a page linked to my Finding CoDA Meetings page - an excerpt from my personal journal The decline of Co-Dependents Anonymous in the late 1990s) - and I was having a harder time getting very many people to commit to doing the inner child healing groups.  When the sale of my books fell off after the first year for lack of advertising money and/or chain store outlets, I made a choice to move to Santa Barbara in early 1997 because I had received significant response to my book from people in that area and Los Angeles.  I had an office in Santa Barbara from February 1997 until February 2000.

I was commuting back to the Central Coast to do some groups during that time - and also doing some groups in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles besides the ones I was doing in Santa Barbara.  It was during my time in Santa Barbara that I first discovered the internet.  A friend kept pushing me to get my own web site - something that I finally did when I launched my first crude web site on silcom.com in February of 1998.

Santa Barbara proved to be like Taos, in that word of mouth about my groups spread and I always had people who wanted to participate.  Unlike the Central Coast which is made up of a bunch of small isolated communities, both Santa Barbara and Taos proved to be places that such word of mouth - along with giving my talk occasionally - brought me enough clients to keep groups going and pay the rent.  The Central Coast has always been a challenging place for me to coordinate the logistics of organizing groups - and really requires that I have an office that is centrally located in the county (meaning about 35 miles from Cambria) to have a private practice in this area. . . . .  . . In March of 2000, I started to do telephone counseling - something that some people who resonated with my web site had been urging me to do for some time.

"Anyway, when I started offering the phone counseling in March of 2000, I wasn't at all sure how effective the phone sessions were going to be. . . . . . .

The phone counseling has proven very effective for the people who are at a place in their process where they are willing to apply the tools and techniques that I share with them.  Of the people who have been open to changing their perspectives, and willing to do at least a little of the work, most have changed their relationship with self and life profoundly within a matter of 6 to 8 weeks.  My goal in working with people is to empower them to be in-dependent.  To teach people how to have internal boundaries so that they can separate the messages coming from the old tapes and old wounds from the messages of intuitive Truth from their Spirit - so that they can start learning how to relax and trust their Spirit to guide them." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter August 2001

The phone counseling has indeed proven to be very successful for most people who have tried it - and successful in bringing in some extra income for me.  When the Universe provided the funds for me to be able to move back to Cambria in September of 2000, I was busy enough with the phone counseling that it made no sense to create extra overhead by renting an office for groups and investing all the time, energy, and money it would take to generate enough clients to pay for the extra expense.

In the small groups, my focus was on facilitating grief work as a step in the process of helping people change their relationship with life and self.  The techniques that I teach people in the phone counseling to help them change their relationship with life also allows them to change their relationship with their own emotions so that they can learn how to facilitate their own grief work.

The telephone counseling has proven to be an excellent way in which to teach people how to apply my approach to their inner child healing and codependency recovery in a way that aligns with how each individual's personal process is unfolding." - biographical information page

So, it has been 7 years since I have done any groups.  Doing the telephone counseling for these last 7 years has really helped me to refine and fine tune my approach to the inner child healing process - to really learn how to effectively teach it to people.  I started doing the Intensives in April 2006 with the goal of teaching my approach to groups of people in person rather than just to individuals on the phone.  Many of the people attending the Intensives expressed a desire to be able to do some follow up work to help them with the grief process.  The only way that this could have been possible while living on the Central Coast would have been to set up some kind of program that lasted for a number of days - and that was not something I really had any interest in doing, and certainly didn't have the substantial amount of money it would have taken to get such a program up and running.

The desire to make it possible to do some follow up grief facilitation with people who had attended my Intensives was a significant factor in our decision to move to San Diego in September. On August 30th I posted this announcement on my Intensive Training Day page - and then on October 9th I moved it to my Intensive Testimonial page.

 "We are moving to San Diego by the middle of September.  One of the reasons for doing this is to make it possible to offer follow up sessions to these Intensive Training Days that will allow people to take the knowledge and information shared to the next level by being able to do grief processing in a safe environment.  I am envisioning weekly or biweekly 3 to 4 hour grief groups for people within driving range - and monthly groups spanning several days for people from a distance.  These would be small groups - probably limited to 4 or 5 for the local groups, and 6 to 8 for the groups over several days.  I am also hoping to set up some groups for training other counselors, therapist, coaches, etc., in the approach to inner healing that I have developed.

All the details and complications of moving combined with slow sign ups for the Las Vegas Intensive (all the people who had signed up so far were from San Diego - one of those perfect Cosmic "Coincidences") have led me to decide to postpone the Las Vegas Intensive for a month and schedule one for San Diego at the end of September.  The location of the San Diego one is yet to be determined - but will not be a hotel near an airport as the other Intensives have been so far.  That lowers my overhead and allows me to offer the Intensives in San Diego for a lower price.  The plan is to offer an Intensive in San Diego about once every 6 weeks - and periodically offer them in other locations that are near airports for the convenience of people that are traveling a distance to attend.  I will be sending an announcement to my e-mailing list about this change - and starting a special e-mailing list just for those who want to be kept informed on new developments in relationship to these Intensives and the follow up sessions." ~  Robert

In my November Update I shared about the latest developments with the Intensives - and about the plan to start these groups.  (The groups of several days and trainings for others are on hold indefinitely - pending the results of trying to organize these groups now.)
"In a further update about the evolution of the Intensives that I added to the Intensive Testimonial page page on October 9th, I shared that I had found a place here in San Diego to do the Intensives monthly for the coming future - and thus, am able to announce the dates for Intensives in December, January and February with this Update - and that I was exploring options for getting the follow up grief groups organized.

On my biographical information page, I share some of my personal history, the history of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, and the history of how my personal counseling practice evolved from doing small inner child healing grief groups to doing the telephone counseling.  In the history I share on that bio page, I explain how my path unfolded to cause me to stop doing the small groups (because I was choosing to live in an isolated small town rather than a city) and start doing the phone counseling. . . . .

. . . . . The telephone counseling that I have been doing for the last year and nine months has led me to refine and fine tune my understanding of the dynamics of the healing process work.  I resisted suggestions to do telephone counseling for quite awhile because I was concerned about how effective it would be.  When working with someone in person, I can observe body language and look into their eyes.  It is much easier to help a person get into their feelings, do their grief work, when working in person. . . . . .

. . . . . . What I see as the exciting potential here in San Diego, is to continue to teach people, in these Intensive workshops, the approach that I refined doing the telephone counseling - and to be able to facilitate the grief work in person also. . . . . .

. . . . . I had thought about trying to get the grief follow up groups started after the November Intensive on the 18th - but with the Holiday season approaching that just wasn't practical.  The Holiday season is not a good time for people to make a commitment to attending a group.  January is however - and thus I decided to do an Intensive on December 30th as kind of a launching point for the groups.  As the end of the year approaches, I will hopefully be able to find an appropriate space to hold the groups - and will be making decisions on the structure, schedule, and financial details involved.  I believe there will probably be a group for people locally that will meet weekly - and one for people from a little farther away that might meet several times a month.  More will be revealed about that as this adventure unfolds - and I will be communicating with people who have experienced the Intensive about the details as the time draws closer.  It will be a requirement to attend an Intensive before being part of the emotional processing groups.

One thing I am getting clearer on as I put the finishing touches on this Update on November 12th, is that these groups will not be specifically "grief groups" in the way the small groups I used to do were.  That is, they will be groups where people can learn about the process of grieving - and provide a safe space where it will be possible to do grief work if that is where a person is at in their recovery - but they will not be groups whose goal is to specifically get into the grieving.  They will be groups focused on helping people with the emotional processing and integration process - while providing a safe environment to do the grieving to whatever level the individuals in the group are ready for in their recovery process.  As I focus on creating these groups, more will be revealed to me about what the exact nature and structure will be." - November 2006 Update

The reason I mention in the last paragraph that these groups will not be specifically grief groups in the sense the ones I formerly did were - is that I have refined the process so much in the intervening years.  So, I will be teaching people the internal boundary setting process in a much more effective way than I did when I was doing the groups in the past.  Opening up to doing the grieving will still be an important part of the groups - but they will not be as specialized as the groups I did in the past.

It is exciting for me to have the opportunity to facilitate these groups in person, because going through this group process can be a very magical experience for people.  Much freedom and empowerment is gained when a person can stop being so terrified of their own feelings - and can instead start developing a compassionate, Loving relationship with self by owning the experiences and feelings from our childhood.

A memory of a chance encounter at an airport has kept coming to mind in recent weeks as I have been trying to figure out the logistics of getting these groups going,  It is something I shared about in the Newsletter of my March 2006 Update (the Update in which I announced that I was starting to offer the Intensive Training Day workshops.)

"I don't think it is possible to set a price tag on what I teach people.  Helping a person completely change their relationship with self and life is something that is invaluable.  Many people have told me over the years, that it wouldn't be possible to pay me enough for how much I had helped them improve the quality of their life.  [An incident comes to mind that happened several years ago in an airport.  I ran into a person who had been a client of mine in the early 90s when I was doing inner child healing groups with people.  (I talk about those on my biography page.)  I had not seen her in 7 or 8 years probably - and the first thing that she said to me was, "Thank you for my life!"  She had done the work with me before I published my book, and years before I had a website - before I had really refined the approach as much as I have in recent years.]" - March 2006 Update Newsletter page
The process of trying to find affordable and appropriate space to do these groups has been quite frustrating.  Eventually the best solution would be to have an office full time to be able to schedule multiple groups throughout the week - both week nights and weekends.  That would allow me to charge slightly less than I have found it is going to be necessary in renting space a couple of days a week.  The deal I have found on the space in Carlsbad is by far the best option so far - but it is still pretty expensive.  Hopefully there will be enough people willing to make a commitment to their own recovery to get these groups started, because if it doesn't happen now it could be awhile before it will be possible to make another attempt.

Helping people get into their feelings is a gift I have - and it is a very magical, and beautiful process to be able to help people get in touch with their True selves and learn to forgive, and starting having real compassion for, themselves and what they experienced in childhood.  Hopefully I will be getting the opportunity again soon to help people with this process.

One person wrote in reply to my announcement about the groups with some questions.  I will share my quick answer to those questions here.

>> Will the healing work I do free up my consciousness which is very dark at the moment?

The healing work will start giving you the freedom to choose where to focus your mind so that you can focus on the part of the glass that is full, rather than on the part that is empty.  The default programming is to relate to life from fear, shame, and scarcity - which makes our perspective very dark and heavy.  In doing the work the goal is to Lighten up - both from dark to Light and from heavy to light.

>> Will the pain once released come back?

The wounds don't go away - we take power away from them so they aren't dictating how we are living today.  The more we release the less power the old buttons have.  It is a process of gradually taking power away from the emotional wounds rather than something we do and are done with.

>> How do I deal with the mental? Will it be transformed as I do the emotional work?

You learn to set boundaries with the critical parent voice and start owning the power to choose where you focus you mind.  Doing the emotional work often helps us to get in touch with mental programming that we weren't aware of - so helps us change intellectual programming that we have been powerless over because we haven't been aware of it.

>> Will I touch the space of joy within myself that I have been longing for?

The more you have boundaries with the critical parent voice, and develop a Loving, nurturing relationship with your own emotional wounds, the more you have the freedom to be present in the moment and access the Joy in the moment.  We all have an channel within us to our Spirit /Higher Power / Universe / Higher Self - but that channel is blocked by dysfunctional attitudes / old tapes and emotional blockage caused by our dysfunctional relationship with our own emotions.  By doing grief and anger work on the old wounds we start changing our relationship with our emotions so that we are letting them flow instead of blocking them.  As long as our defenses are causing us to block the pain and grief and anger - it also blocks the Joy and Peace and Love.

>> Will I maybe have a sense of who I really am inside and feel internally connected?

We need to change our relationship with our selves by learning to have the internal boundaries with the critical parent voice and the emotional wounds in order to get in touch with our own heart and soul - in order to connect with who we Truly are and feel connected to the Universe.

>> Will I find my Inner Child?

You will find inner children of different ages.  One of the payoffs for working on getting in touch with and healing the wounded inner child places within us, is that we then get more connected to the playful, spontaneous, creative, spiritual child within that is the gateway to our Spiritual Self.

>> What about my sub-personalities? My other Inner Children that I notice at time? The parts of me that I have dis-owned, how do I heal them and integrate them so I feel whole?

Those sub-personalities are different ages of the wounded children within.  You will probably get in touch with several of them in the course of the group - and be able to uncover more as your recovery progresses.  We need to embrace and own all the parts of us in order to start Truly Loving ourselves and owning who we Truly are.

If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at 760-451-6213.


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Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is copyright 1995.  Material on Joy2MeU web site (except where otherwise noted) is copyright 1996 through 2013 by Robert Burney  PO Box 98  Fallbrook CA 92088.