The Wholeness Work: An interview on the method and the German book edition with its founder and author Dr. Connirae Andreas
Ludger Brüning (LB): You were still a graduate student in a PhD program in clinical psychology when you found out about a new approach which was still on its way to be established and get its name. What made you start with NLP – and stay in the field?
Connirae and her interpreter Ralph Köbler at the Future Tools Workshop in Göttingen (Germany), in 2017. Photos Dr. Ludger Brüning
The Wholeness Work can also be considered a new field. This methodology guides us to a different stage of personal transformation. I’ve written an article explaining this11, and talk about it more extensively in the advanced Wholeness Courses. The goals and ways of working are quite different at this stage of consciousness/transformation.
CA: My experience with Milton Erickson influenced both methods, yet the methodologies are very different. One doesn’t build on the other.
Core Transformation uses our life problems as a doorway to a profound experience such as “peace” “presence” “OKness” or even “oneness.” Through the process, these “Core States of being” naturally transform the life problem we began with.
The Wholeness Work works in the same direction as Core Transformation, yet it’s completely different. It is simpler and more direct. It gives us the ability to find and dissolve the everyday sense of “ego,” plus transform inner coping mechanisms and a lot more.
CA: Either method is a stand-alone methodology, and doesn’t require the other to be effective.
However, I consider both to be essential methods to know well, if one is working with the deeper levels of consciousness. Some things Core Transformation can do better. For other things the Wholeness Work is better. For clients wanting to have the best quality of life possible, I recommend both. One of our trainers says, “I think having both methods to use with my clients is more than twice as good as just having one or the other.”
CA: Many people who have had difficulty doing standard meditation or who have never tried it have found Wholeness Work to be surprisingly possible and even simple. Many who have been using other meditation practices for decades have reported that Wholeness Work helps them reach a meditative state more quickly and easily. One thing that’s unique is that each time we’re doing Wholeness Work meditation, we’re transforming our limitations. It’s much more than just a restful state—We literally can keep evolving with it.
I’ve been using the Wholeness Work as a daily life practice for quite a few years. That’s the way to get the most benefit. It’s made a positive difference in all areas of my life, and I continue using it because I keep noticing more benefits.
LB: In your book on Wholeness Work, you stress the gentleness of the method. What does it mean in this context?
CA: The Wholeness Work gives us a way to include and embrace all of our experience. We don’t need to override anything, overcome anything, or push anything aside. And we don’t force anything. People experience this as a kindness and gentleness.
With many methods people can feel a subtle need to “go along with” the process to be a good client. There isn’t any such need with the Wholeness Work because it really can meet whatever we’re actually experiencing in each moment. All of our thoughts and feelings.
CA: I think most people will find it works best to begin by using the Wholeness Work with daily “hot buttons” or “stress.” If you find yourself reacting emotionally to something, or tensing up, these are great places to begin. The book walks you through how to do this.
LB: What were some of the most surprising results you heard of?
CA: Before sharing the surprising results, I want to remind you of the typical results. Most people find the Wholeness Work becomes a reliable “friend” that can meet whatever curve balls life may throw our way. Any “stress” becomes the doorway to a deep relaxation and wellbeing.
Some of the most surprising results have been times when people experience something that sounds like the spiritual accounts of awakening. They experience waves of something indescribable pouring through their system, or strong vibrations along the central column, or a bursting of warmth from the heart area, etc.
I believe it isn’t useful to have this as a goal. With the Wholeness Work, each of us experiences the transformations in the way that fits for us and for our mind/body system. For some of us this may be dramatic, and for many of us this is more gentle and gradual.
It’s also important to realize that it’s possible for a method to produce dramatic experiences in the moment, without actually changing anything. It’s like going on a roller coaster ride, but then you get off and you’re still the same person.
What matters is what remains after the system has settled. With the Wholeness Work, we are systematically shifting the structure of our psyche, so the shifts that happen are enduring.
LB: In 2018, you published an introductory book in English which is now (2020) available in German translation as well. Are there further, more advanced forms and fields of application, you are working on currently?
CA: Yes, there’s much more to the Wholeness Work than I could put into one book.
However, the Wholeness book is the best place to start. It will teach you the first two Wholeness methods in an easy-to-absorb way. Then, if you like it, the good news is that there’s much more. Since the Wholeness Work is at this point almost its own field, there are many additional methods and principles that I teach in the advanced Wholeness courses. We are also investigating applications to many specific areas including health.
There is also a group in Germany that has been working closely with me for quite a few years, that is now offering courses and mentorship.
LB: Thank you for the interview.
Dr. Ludger Brüning has served as Vice president of the European Coaching Association (ECA) and as member of the Executive Board of the German Association of NLP (DVNLP). He is a certified business trainer and life coach.
About the work of Connirae Andreas
1. Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Vol. I. The Structure of Subjective Experience, written by Robert Dilts, John Grinder, Richard Bandler, and Judith DeLozier, was published by Meta Publications in 1980.
2. The structural timeline work was the first form of timeline work developed. It was developed and taught by Steve and Connirae since 1984 and uses submodalities to change the structure of timelines. This allows clients to find a new relationship to all their experiences in time. In 1988, Wyatt Woodsmall and Tad James published their concept in Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. It popularized timeline work. However, it uses a different approach utilizing existing timelines to change memories of single events similar to Richard Bandler‘s Decision Destroyer format. According to Connirae, Wyatt attended one of Steve’s early conference presentations on timeline work (June, 1985). Connirae and Steve published an article on the history of ideas and the development of timeline works with its different approaches in VAK International NLP Newsletter, in 1991. (Andreas, Steve and Connirae: A Brief History of Timelines. http://www.steveandreas.com/Articles/timelines.html (20.06.2020)). They published their own form of timeline work in Change your Mind – and keep the Change (1987) and in Heart of the Mind (1989) which gives also a description of the Decision Destroyer format. Both books were translated into German (Gewußt wie. Arbeit mit Submodalitäten und weitere NLP-Interventionen nach Maß. Paderborn: Junfermann (1988), Mit Herz und Verstand. NLP für alle Fälle. Paderborn: Junfermann (1992)).
3. The Grief Relief process was developed by Connirae and Steve Andreas in the mid to late 1980s and published in Heart of the Mind (Mit Herz und Verstand). In 2002, Steve and Connirae wrote an article on the process (Resolving Grief http://www.steveandreas.com/Articles/grief02.html (22.06.2020)).
4. Aligning Perceptual Positions was developed by Connirae Andreas, in 1989. It offers a precise way to maximize our ability to utilize each perceptual position and became a part of the three day Core Transformation trainings. She and her sister Tamara published an article on the format in Anchor Point, in 1991. (Aligning Perceptual Positions. A New Distinction in NLP http://www.steveandreas.com/Articles/comaligning.html (22.06.2020)).
5. Eye Movement Integration (EMI) was developed by Steve and Connirae Andreas at about the same time as Francine Shapiro’s method, in the late 1980s. Danie Beaulieu learned about EMI when Steve gave a demonstration at the Conference on Ericksonian Approaches to Brief Therapy in Orlando, Florida, in 1993. She put further research in it, partially in cooperation with Steve and Connirae, and established EMI as a form of therapy. (Beaulieu, Danie: Eye Movement Integration Therapy. An introduction to the treatment of traumatic and distressing memories, page : „Origins and modifications“ (http://www.academieimpact.com/pdf/EMI_article.pdf (22.06.2020)).
6. The method is described in Heart of the Mind, chapter 12.
7. The process is described in Heart of the Mind, chapter 20.
8. The Core Transformation Process was developed by Connirae Andreas, in 1989. Later, she gave a detailed description of the development and its background (http://www.coretransformation.org/the-core-transformation-story-how-the-process-came-to-be/). It is a method of gentle and profound transformation through accessing states of Peace, Oneness, and Presence by simple, structured steps. First large trainings took place in 1990. Based on the experiences in their trainings, Connirae and her sister Tamara published Core Transformation. Reaching the wellspring within, in 1994. A new print edition was published by Real People Press, in 2015 (ISBN-13: 9780911226331). A first German edition came out by Junfermann (Paderborn), in 1995 (Der Weg zur inneren Quelle. Core-Transformation in der Praxis. Neue Dimensionen des NLP. ISBN-13: 978-3873871403).
9. Andreas, Connirae: Coming to Wholeness. How to Awaken and Live with Ease. Boulder (Colorado/USA): Real People Press, 2018. ISBN-13: 9780911226515.
10. Andreas, Connirae: Auf dem Weg zur Ganzheit. Mit der Wholeness-Methode zur persönlichen Transformation. Paderborn: Junfermann 2020. ISBN: 978-3749500727.
11. https://www.thewholenesswork.org/stages-of-transformation-accessing-deeper-levels-of-change/ (25.06.2020).