Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ecopsychology as part of the Integral Vision

Beloveds: Click on this link for the latest events in ecopsychology, a fundamental dimension
of Integral Psychotherapy.

Love, light and shadow, Jalaledin

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trauma and its treatment: An integral approach


Having survived a head-on collision (as a passenger) on September 3, 2013 with a fractured shoulder that required surgery, a sprained ankle, major seat belt bruises and minor cuts and bruises, I have been observing my own symptoms from this traumatic event. It might be helpful to make a self-assessment using an integral approach.

1) I get tired easily and can get irritable in a noisy or chaotic environment.
2) Sleep has been sketchy because I have had to keep my arm in a sling and cannot turn from side to side easily. I have been unable to do my morning Qigong routine to move my Qi around. My sleep rhythm is off because I sleep earlier and wake earlier.
3) Daily chores such as showering and getting dressed were very challenging for the first 2 weeks. This is getting easier as I begin to heal.
4) My concentration was very poor for the first 2 1/2 weeks and I could not pick up any books to read (one of my favorite leisure activities).
5) I have tired of repetitive coverage on cable news but would probably do that anyway if I was home to watch news all day.
6) I have resisted visits from friends unless they come alone or as couples and visit briefly.
7) It has been difficult to ride in a car/van as a passenger on the freeway. My anxiety level increases.
8) The lack of structured activities in my day has been challenging, but I have managed to hobble along on a walk by the ocean every day.

Taking the integral perspective, here are my observations and my treatment plan:


1) A lack of restful sleep effects my level of energy, my focus and my concentration.

2) The physical impairments are cause for irritability. Thank God for my chiropractic treatment three times per week! Unfortunately I have not been able to do my regular morning Qigong...which normally helps to move the Qi through my body! Today, October 2, 2013, after reading Pat Ogden's work on "Trauma and the Body," I consulted a trauma therapist who is familiar with her work and the work of Peter Levine. She suggested that I try to do my Qigong even without the use of one arm...I just did this and feel the Qi begin to move again through my body. I have scheduled sessions with this trauma therapist for October 17 and also plan to get a referral for acupuncture which is covered by my worker's compensation insurance.

3) I have not had to take any narcotic pain killers and relied on a 1000 mg of Tylenol for the first 2 weeks, after which I stopped taking any medication.

4) Min-Tran, a Standard Process product has helped to relax me enough to get to sleep at night but not enough to get a full night's sleep. Sleep continues to be periodic instead of restful and refreshing.

5) Bengay on my left elbow, left knee and sprained right angle seem more like a placebo...but it is a form of self-caring.

6) I think I need to drink more water or fluids!

7) I engage in creative imagination exercises seeing myself as whole and very healthy!


1) I have been able to access an efficient and reliable health care system from the medic who found a vein in a fast moving ambulance to the doctors and nurses who provided care at the hospital to my chiropractor.

2) I have been able to access a great support system including a) a caring sibling and social network, b) workers' compensation benefits, c) community supported transportation for the disabled and d)  legal aid on a contingency basis.

3) This experience of being held with loving care and attention gives me a great sense of gratitude for so many caring individuals who have gone out of their way to render whatever assistance they can provide.

4) The deep sense of connection that comes from a caring community provides the motivation to reciprocate in kind in the future. Love clearly makes the world go around!


1) My sister brought me some of my favorite ethnic foods which gave me much pleasure and a sense of the familiar.

2) Living in a cultural paradigm in which work is so highly valued makes it difficult to rest on one's self-esteem when we are disabled.

3) Finding ways to stay connected and experience a sense of community through social media and the blogosphere have been very helpful.

4) Finding music and entertainment by surfing cable and public broadcasting channels has been a gratifying distraction!


1) It has been difficult to maintain a consistent spiritual practice, especially meditation which has been inhibited by a lack of sleep, concentration and focus. Subsequent to my trauma therapist's suggestion on October 2, 2013, that I resume my Qigong practice, even with one arm, I was able to sit for approx. 30 minutes in my pre-dawn meditation practice for the first time in a month, this morning, (October 3, 2013). This is clearly a testament for the need to integrate the body-mind-spirit unity.

2) Healing thoughts and prayers from family and friends feel restorative.

3) Walking meditation and, after an entire month, silent prayer bead recitations have seemed easier than heart-centered pre-dawn meditation.


This post is an attempt to connect all my insights from an integral perspective. I am being gentle on myself and practicing Loving Kindness towards myself. I am cultivating a surrendered state of consciousness and being open and receptive to what meaning this event has in my life. I am being vulnerable and accepting help and support from so many kind souls. I have been reading and researching more about trauma and whether this experience might call something profound forth from my soul. I feel like I am being guided to become a trauma specialist.

Love, light and shadow,
Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT, Ph.D

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Imaginal Dialogue with the Immaculate Mary


This is an excerpt from my doctoral dissertation which helped me to get in touch with my Divine feminine and which also inspired me to look at the occluded feminine psychology of the wisdom tradition in which I was raised. But in order to begin this imaginal dialogue with the Immaculate Mary, I first had to work through my own Mother Complex, which in itself allowed me to open up with the requisite vulnerability even to be able to approach the Immaculate Mary. This process helped me to bring a more nuanced feminine perspective to my doctoral research.

I really had not thought of presenting this material in this manner until this past weekend when I ran into an artist at the Santa Barbara Art Walk who designs pottery and a nice selection of ceramic magnets. On my suggestion, he had made a small magnet of Mary which I had been hoping to purchase. He then shared with me that his faith in Mary had deepened in the last couple of weeks as he was working through things with his own ailing Mother. I shared with him my own experience with the following imaginal dialogue which caught his interest. I promised I would share it with him through this blog.
Love, light and shadow,
Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT.  

Appendix H: Alchemical and imaginal dialogue

Imaginal Dialogue between Jalaledin (JE) and the Immaculate Mary (IM) on 4-05-12

JE: Beloved Mother Mary, hail. I come to you to seek comfort and wisdom around an old wound that I have kept hidden from myself and others for many years.
IM: Yes, my beloved son, I am present with you and for you. Do you wish to tell me of your wound?
JE: Yes, Holy Mother. I just do not know how to begin to talk about the wound that seems so well hidden. It was when I left my Mom in Kenya to go to boarding school.
IM: Son, can you remember the pain of separation from your Mom?
JE: The closest thing I can remember to that is during my first Christmas in Haywards Heath, near Brighton, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lane. I went shopping for a Christmas gift for my Mom. I bought her a necklace from a store like Woolworth’s. It had a light blue stone. I wrote her a letter and the Lanes sent it to Kenya in the mail. I don’t remember hearing back from Mom. I do not remember receiving many letters from home. I felt like I was in a world that they would not have understood. They could not have known the fear of dogs I had, when I was staying at the Lanes’. Who could I tell? I was terrorized by the Great Dane and the black bull dog. I did not know how to relate to pets. We never had pets at home in Kenya. We were quite poor.
IM: That must have been very painful in itself, son: to be so very far away, not to be able to talk to your parents, not to receive much news from home, not to be able to tell anyone about your fears and probably even your successes.
JE: I guess it was painful, but I don’t remember those feelings. I did have my cousin at the same school, so I did have family, but he did not come to the same holiday home as me that first time.
IM: I am glad you can remember some of it. Tell me more if it comes to mind. The things you did not like, because I know you liked a lot of things about being in England.
JE: I didn’t like the weather and the clothes we had to wear. I did not like sharing a bath tub with other boys or having a bath in someone else’s water. I did not like being forced to take cod liver oil at breakfast. I did not like lining up to go to the loo after breakfast. I did not always like the food, having been brought up with good home cooking. I did not like not being able to go to Church with my classmates on Sundays with everyone else. I had to spend Sunday mornings with Mrs. Brady because she was Catholic and there were no Catholic churches for her to go to either. I did not like not knowing why I was different.
IM: Yes, these were even less likable if there was no one you could tell about them. That must have been difficult, too.
JE: Going back, it’s hard to feel the pain because there was so much I was grateful for and happy about. I loved my school.
IM: What about the other kids? Did they ever feel the pain?
JE: Yes, I remember a Jamaican boy who cried virtually every night. I did not want to be like him. Perhaps he was crying for all of us, but I did not want to go to sleep crying like him. We thought of him as a cry baby.
IM: Yes, he was crying his real feelings, son. It must have been painful and he was able to express his pain.
JE: True, I guess I did not want feel that kind of pain, so I must have shut that part of me down, Holy Mother.
IM: What did you do instead, son?
JE: I remember praying sometimes, Holy Mother, but I really did not know how to pray. I sought pleasure with other boys: what we would call pleasures of the flesh, Holy Mother.
IM: Yes, it was easier to feel pleasure than pain, son. At least you found a way to cope with your feelings, even if you did not have an understanding of them. Are they just a blur?
JE: Yes, Holy Mother, they were just a blur. I ask for your blessing to heal that old wound, Holy Mother. That is all I can do today. I know you know what the wound looked and felt like. It would be such a blessing to heal that old wound so I can find my outcast feminine, Holy Mother.
IM: Yes, son. I send you holy blessings for a full and complete healing to restore your disowned and outcast feminine so that you can experience the Divine Feminine within you. 
JE: Thank you, Holy Mother. I will turn to you again and again. Perhaps I will go to a Mass, from time to time, to seek your continued holy blessings. Or perhaps you will help me find the Divine Feminine within my own wisdom tradition, so I may receive these holy blessings more often.
IM: Son, yes, I send holy blessings that you retrieve and restore your inner feminine so that you can heal this wound wherever you turn your heart and soul for divine blessings from the Divine Feminine.

JE: Thank you, Holy Mother.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Negative and Positive Freedom


I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday:What does the 4th of July mean to me? It means the promise of human freedom from tyranny and oppression, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of self-expression, the freedom to imagine and create to the fullest potential of my highest aspirations, and the protection of our civil and human rights. What does it mean to you? Love, light and shadow, Jalaledin

Contextualizing some of these sentiments, far more eloquently, is Dr. Saba Mahmood, Associate Professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, in her insightful analysis Politics of Piety - The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject:

"Negative freedom refers to the absence of external obstacles to self-guided choice and action, whether imposed by the state, corporations, or private individuals. Positive freedom, on the other hand, is understood as the capacity to realize an autonomous will, one generally fashioned in accord with the dictates of "universal reason" or "self-interest," and hence unencumbered by the weight of custom, transcendental will, and tradition. In short, positive freedom might be best described as the capacity for self-mastery and self-government, and negative freedom as the absence of restraints of various kinds on one's ability to act as one wants. It is important to note that the idea of self-realization itself is not an invention of the liberal tradition but has existed historically in a variety of forms, such as the Platonic notion of self-mastery over one's passions, or the more religious notion of realizing oneself through self-transformation, present in Buddhism and a variety of mystical traditions, including Islam and Christianity." (2012, pp. 10-11).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reparative therapy fails to change sexual orientation, period!


On June 20, the following story appeared in the Washington Post. This is clear testimony that there is no therapy that can change one's sexual orientation.

"Talk about a one-man culture war.

The president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, issued a series of apologies and explanations this week about plans to shut down the organization, which for 37 years has worked with Christians dealing with same-sex attraction.

Chambers has been under fire from both Christians who say he has not been vocal enough about their belief that homosexual behavior is unacceptable sin, as well as from gay rights activists who point to stories of deep harm done by so-called Exodus’ ‘reparative therapies’ said to turn gay people straight. He says the mission of the organization no longer fits what he says he now knows about God, and the demands of a “messy,” changing culture.

In an apology to the gay community, Chambers noted that he “cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex” and marriage but added that he will no longer “fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”

Chambers, who says he and his wife Leslie “are more in love than we’ve ever have been” but admits to still being attracted to men, said in a nearly hour-long talk Wednesday at the organization’s 38th annual conference that he and Exodus leaders came to the conclusion that God was calling them to shut down the ministry."

It is clearly time for all of us to accept that sexual orientation is not a choice. We need to accept that and honor all those who have been struggling to be who they are naturally and love whom they wish to love.

Love, light and shadow,
Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT, PhD

Monday, May 6, 2013


Its Freud's birthday today! I totally enjoyed my visit to the Freud Museum in London a few years ago. Hope some of you get an opportunity to visit. Freud's gift to us was the connection of our dreams to the Unconscious. Whatever we may think about Freud, he did leave us in the therapeutic field with some very enduring concepts such as counter transference and defense mechanisms. The following is an excerpt from the Writer's Almanac sent to me by a friend this morning:

It's also the birthday of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (books by this author), born in 1856 in Freiburg, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic). He's usually associated with Vienna, where he lived from the age of four until the Germans occupied it in 1938. He moved to London, where he died of throat cancer in 1939.

 People tend to hold very strong opinions on Freud, pro or con, but most agree that his theories completely transformed the study of psychology. He had many pupils in the early 20th century; notable among them were Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, and both of them eventually broke with Freud. Adler believed that aggression, rather than sex, was the primary motivator of the human animal, and insecurity over their perceived failings is what caused people to act out; Adler, not Freud, coined the term "inferiority complex."

While he wasn't too upset by the loss of Adler, Freud viewed Carl Jung as his natural successor, his "crown prince." He was bright, ambitious, and Protestant, which eased Freud's worries that psychoanalysis would be seen as a "Jewish matter." But ultimately Freud, an atheist, couldn't go along with Jung's increasing focus on myth, mysticism, and the "collective unconscious" that he believed was common to all humans. Freud, trained in neurology, was a believer only in the tenets of scientific inquiry, with its mechanisms to check for reliability and validity. Religion had none of these mechanisms, and therefore he saw it as completely useless. Their letters to each other became tense, even hostile. Jung wrote to Freud: "Your technique of treating your pupils like patients is a blunder. In that way you produce either slavish sons or impudent puppies. ... I am objective enough to see through your little trick." Freud reacted to the break with his star pupil by becoming increasingly protective of his work.

 In 1933, Albert Einstein was invited by the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation to exchange ideas about war with a "thinker of his choice," and although he didn't believe in psychoanalysis, he chose Freud, opening his letter with "I greatly admire your passion to ascertain the truth — a passion that has come to dominate all else in your thinking."

Freud responded: "I expected you to choose a problem lying on the borderland of the knowable, as it stands today, a theme which each of us, physicist and psychologist, might approach from his own angle, to meet at last on common ground, though setting out from different premises. Thus the question which you put me — what is to be done to rid mankind of the war menace? — took me by surprise. ... But then I realized that you did not raise the question in your capacity of scientist or physicist, but as a lover of his fellow men." After a long discussion of aggression, he concluded: "How long have we to wait before the rest of men turn pacifist? Impossible to say, and yet perhaps our hope that these two factors — man's cultural disposition and a well-founded dread of the form that future wars will take — may serve to put an end to war in the near future, is not chimerical. But by what ways or byways this will come about, we cannot guess. Meanwhile we may rest on the assurance that whatever makes for cultural development is working also against war."

Their exchange was published as a pamphlet, "Why War?" in 1933, but by then, Hitler had risen to power, and the first German edition only numbered 2,000 copies.
Freud wrote several books, including The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905), and Civilization and Its Discontents (1930).

Sunday, May 5, 2013



Just finished reading A Place to Stand, the autobiography of Jimmy Santiago Baca, a young illiterate Chicano who goes to prison to serve a five year sentence in New Mexico and emerges as a poet! His memoir is itself a literary masterpiece giving us a window into the brutality of American prison life which can kill the spirit and diminish the human soul. It details how he discovered his essential self  during periods of solitary confinement and started the process of individuation by refusing to work because his application to take classes to learn to read and write was denied! Check the video in the video bar!

It is a testament not only to the human spirit but also to what I describe as the call of the imaginal self!

Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry.  During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.    Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones.  The poems were published and became part of  Immigrants in Our Own Land,  published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and for his memoir A Place to Stand the prestigious International Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. The national award recognizes one GED graduate a year who has made outstanding contributions to society in education, justice, health, public service and social welfare. 

   Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond. He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country.  

   In 2005 he created Cedar Tree Inc., a nonprofit foundation that works to give people of all walks of life the opportunity to become educated and improve their lives. 

Please visit

Love, light and shadow,
Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT, Ph.D