GRAYWOLF FRED SWINNEY: BIO
In 1971 I left a career as a successful chemical
engineer and business executive to pursue the study of healing from both
the psychological and somatic perspectives. This led to the successful
development of a consciousness process based in the most recently discovered
scientific theories and paradigms from physics. It is my mission
to teach and disseminate this process as widely as possible in the healing
arts and sciences, to offer as many as possible opportunity to experience
or learn this process, and to develop the process and the study of consciousness
as a recognized applied science discipline.
B.A.Sc. Chemical Engineering, Queens University,
Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
M.A. Counseling Psychology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
About 25 hours course work towards an MSW at Grand Valley State College.
4.0 GPA. Incomplete because I had concerns about the program's accreditation
"Schizophrenia, Its Extent, Diagnosis, Dynamics
and Its Treatment,"
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Transactional Analyst, Gestalt Psychotherapist, Active
Listening and Rogerian Therapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Drug Crisis Intervention
and Counseling, Simonton Imagery Process.
[Can be found on Asklepia Home page].
"How Placebos Heal" -- 1997 at The International
Human Learning Resources Network (IHLRN) Conference, at Gabriola Island,
"Chaos Theory and Quantum Physics in the Healing
Arts" -- 1994 at The ILHRN Conference at Longboat Key, Fla.
"Transcultural Perspectives, Creativity, Shamanism
and New Sciences in Therapy" -- 1991, IHLRN Conference, Palm Springs, Ca.
"Chaos Consciousness in Psychotherapy: An Experiential
Approach and Application to Dreamwork, Creativity and Healing" -- 1991,
First Meeting of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology, Saybrook Institute,
Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP)
Association of Transpersonal Psychology (ATP)
International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA)
International Human Learning Resources Network (IHLRN)
Association for Chaos Theory in Psychology (Founding Member)
During my career in psychotherapy, I have worked
with a wide variety of conditions, a broad base of clients and in a wide
variety of settings, including jails and prisons, county mental health
clinics, private clinics and private practice settings. Beyond the
usual family and individual therapy issues, depression and neurosis conditions,
I have also specialized in the following areas:
--Major Mental Illnesses: Since 1973
I have worked successfully with many clients with Schizophrenia, Bipolar,
Multiple Personality Disorder and other similar disorders. My current
case-load still numbers several such clients.
--Substance Abuse: In addition to three years
field experience in direct drug crisis intervention work, I have done long
and short term psychotherapy with alcohol, cocaine and amphetamine, hallucinogenic
and C.N.S. depressant abusers and addicts. This extends from 1973
to the present.
--Sexual Abuse: I have done long and short
term therapy with the perpetrators and families in the field of sexual
abuse. This includes work with both current and adult victims of
--Domestic Violence: I have done long and short term
therapy with perpetrators and families of violent abusers, both those who
are court mandated (Family Offender Program) and those who present for
--Psychogenic Disorders: Using the therapy process
I discovered and developed, I have successfully treated a wide range of
psychogenic and psychosexual disorders, including Fibromyalgia, allergies,
All of the above, when appropriate, have included
using a combination of Group Therapy along with Individual and Family Therapy.
--Guest Lecturer: Grand Valley State College, Southern
--Workshops and Courses: Grand Valley State College,
Grand Rapids Junior College, Albion College, Rogue Community College.
--Private: In addition to presenting workshops at
a variety of professional conferences including the ITAA, AHP and IHLRN,
I have offered classes and workshops through Oasis Center, Chicago; Vivation
Center, Mexico City; several Unity Churches in Seattle and Southern Oregon,
and privately sponsored in Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle;
Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland, and Klamath Falls in Southern Oregon; Moab,
Utah; Vancouver and Toronto, Canada.
1969 to 1971:
After Graduation, while at Polymer Corp., I developed
applications for new and experimental plastics and rubbers and was awarded
several Canadian patents for medical and sporting goods applications.
I designed and engineered a golf ball and its production process and got
it on line for Ben Hogan Div. of AMF. Research Director for Faultless
Rubber Golf Division of Abbott laboratories. Three years, General
Manager of the Wilson's Sporting Goods Golf Ball Division.
1971 to 1983:
Completed graduate degree in counseling (4.0 GPA)
plus training and certification in several psychotherapy modalities.
Personal consultant for small companies for employment interviews, employment
problems and other general business consulting. Adult leader of Fountain
Street Church Teen Youth Group, counselor for younger children and adult
congregation of about 5,000. Volunteered as drug crisis intervention
and S.A. counselor. Set up group therapy programs at Kent County
Jail and Youth Correctional Facility. Operated private psychotherapy
practice in family, group, and individual therapy.
1983 to Present:
Continued private practice. Studied variety
of spiritual and consciousness processes. Developed the Creative
Consciousness Process (CCP), which I have recently renamed Creative
Restructuring Process (CRP). Therapist and consultant for Josephine
County Family Offender Program. Organized and cosponsored several
N.W. Regional AHP conferences. Advisor to the AHP Board. Founded
ASKLEPIA FOUNDATION and The Institute for Applied Consciousness Sciences
(IACS) of which I am Director. Founded and operate Aesculapia Wilderness
Retreat for residential treatment. Honored as elder and grandfather
by several aboriginal shamans in the Americas and Africa. Lecture
and conduct training seminars in consciousness science, in Mexico, Canada
and the USA. Established a branch IACS Campus in the Puget Sound
Area. Taught courses in new science, healing and psychology at Rogue
Community College for 5 years.
* Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Dean of Consciousness
Studies at Saybrook Inst., Lecturer, Author:
"At a time when it most needs it , Graywolf is
providing a viable new model for his profession." "Your work in Chaos
Theory and psychology is a valuable and ground-breaking contribution.
You are working well beyond the Doctoral level."
* Lawrence LeShan, Ph.D., Past President of the Association
of Humanistic Psychology:
"Of the many people I have met in this organization
[AHP] since becoming its President, Graywolf most represents the essence
of what I think Humanistic Psychology is all about."
* Paul DuBois, Past Executive Director of AHP:
"At our lowest time, when all seemed lost and
we didn't think we could go on, [Graywolf]
showed up and turned
it around. We are still here because of him."
* Victoria Luivano, Ph.D., Mexico City Psychologist:
"I have been using your process with my clients
and getting results like nothing before. This process reaches people
at a very deep level."
* M. Ivanov, Ph.D., Director of Cross-Cultural Programs
of the Institute for Professional Development and Professor of Psychology
at the University of Moscow:
"Your process is something I would like to teach
to my colleagues and students. It is what we are looking for to help
shape our emerging psychotherapy profession. I invite you to come
lecture at Moscow University and at the Institute to teach it to Russian
psychotherapists, social workers and teachers."
* Linda Chamberlain, Ph.D., Editor of CLINICAL CHAOS:
"I have just completed reading the chapter you
have submitted and am delighted at your contribution. The work you
are doing is very exciting to me and I am grateful to have a clearer perspective...it
is such a pleasure for me to be working with you."
* Howard Kahn, Ph.D., President of IHLRN:
"Watching you work and having a chance to work
with you has been a very moving and beautiful experience. You have
much to offer and teach us. You do honor to Virginia Satir's work
* Anonymous attendee at IHLRN:
"Graywolf, you are the natural choice as a successor
to Virginia Satir. Your work is a continuation of hers, and she would
have endorsed you and it with great enthusiasm."
* Fred Ford, MD, Psychiatrist:
"Your theories and work in the field of therapy
are a taste of its future direction."
* Anonymous Psychiatrist, Houston Texas:
"One session with you has resolved an issue that
I have been working on with the best of my colleagues for over forty years.
Your work is completely validated by the healing studies we conducted at
the Meninger Clinic in the early seventies."
* Roberta Ossana, M.A., Editor and Publisher of Dream
"Graywolf, you are miles ahead of the rest of
* Carolyn Mill Kroes, Ph.D., Author and Central Regional
Director of N.O.W., from the Dedication of her book ROSES AND THORNS
"There are therapists, and there are 'good' therapists.
. .This book is dedicated to one of the best."
* Clay Carr, Author and Management Consultant, acknowledgment
in his book THE COMPETITIVE POWER OF CONSTANT CREATIVITY:
"First to Graywolf. . .who reminded me that creativity
is the wellspring of all life (and not incidently enabled me to halt the
progress of a serious illness in the process.)"
Bio Highlights by Dr. Stanley Krippner
and Alberto Villoldo
Excerp from Healing States, Introduction, p. xi-xii
In 1971, Fred Swinney was told by his physician that
he had, at most, three years to live. He was suffering from hypertension,
heart disease, ulcers, and hypoglycemia. Seeing a connection between
his weakened physical condition and his job pressures as an engineer, he
entered psychotherapy. His experience not only improved his physical health
but prompted Swinney to enter graduate school in psychology. He received
his clinical certification in Transactional Analysis in 1975, and began
But Swinney's career change was only the beginning
of a new life direction. In 1976 he was traveling by canoe to James
Bay in the wilderness of nothern Ontario, Canada. He was alone and
had taken along only his sleeping bag and a few supplies. One night
Swinney fell asleep before his smoldering fire and had a dream in which
animal predators emerged from the woods and devoured him.
Awakening in terror, Swinney cast his gaze toward
the coals of the fire. Just beyond he discerned two piercing eyes
and the large gray form of a wolf, Swinney's first impulse was to run away
but, transfixed by the animal's eyes, found himself unable to move. Surprisingly,
a feeling of total surrender replaced Swinney's fear, just as if he were
a wolf himself. In the few minmutes shared, Swinney experienced a
deep union with the wolf. After the wolf disappeared through the
trees, Swinney still sensed that he had become a wolf during their brief
Swinney left the wilderness renewed and grateful
to his inner wolf. He returned to his family and clients in Michigan.
But, he asked himself, how could he use the wolf in civilization?
As the weeks passed, Swinney attempted to forget the episode as it differed
so radically from anything he had ever experienced. He completed
his Master's degree in 1980 and avoided any activity or setting that would
again evoke his wolflike nature.
Five years later, during a group therapy session
held while fire was flickering in Swinney's fireplace, one of his clients
expressed extreme anger. Suddenly, Swinney envisioned Libra, the
Greek goddess of justice, holding her balanced scales. He asked his
client if she could relate to this image. The woman erupted with
emotion, telling the group how, during her childhood, her mother had tried
to treat her and her sister equally. When the client did not experience
this fairness in later life, it upset her and she could not cope with other
people very well. Upon working through her memories of her early
experiences and subsequent expectations, the client was able to accept
the inequalities in her relationships. Eventually, she was able to
terminate therapy. Swinney realized that the appearance of the image
resembled his experience with the wolf. In both instances, he had
been brought into direct contact with his feelings, hunches, and intuitions.
Swinney resolved to learn more about wolves.
Two friends gave him books about wolves, even though they knew nothing
about his experience in the woods or his resolution. His reading
provided information about shamans and how they often dream about being
devoured and reborn during their initiation rites or training periods.
Swinney also learned that shmans were the first professional psychotherapists
and that they frequently have" animal guides" that assist their work with
clients. Identifying with shamans because of his own "animal guide,"
Swinney took the name "Graywolf" and introduced shmanic elements into his
work as a psychotherapist.
Graywolf shared these experiences with us over the
years, and we all planned to meet at the 1984 convention of the Association
for Humanistic Psychology in Boston. The program had announced a
presentation on shamnism by Stanley Krippner and Alberto Villoldo, but
Villoldo's airplane was delayed and Graywolf took his place. Graywolf
told his story and led the group in several breathing and imagery exercises
that he found useful with his clients. His contributions were well
received by the audience of several hundred people, many of whom told Graywolf
that they were inspired by his account. This response
lent confirmation to Graywolf's direction and he continued to develop his
unique approach to psychotherapy. The three of us presented a program
on shmanism at another Association for Humanistic Psychology meeting in
1986. By this time, Graywolf's clients considered him a shaman as
well as a psychotherpist.
Shamanism is a 100,000-year-old tradition of knowledge
that once permeated all forms of medicine and psychotherapy. Shamans
were the first healer, responsible for the health and well-being of their
community. While today's medical practitioners focus upon clients'
physical problems and psychotherapists deal with their mental and emotional
difficulties, shmans have always administered to these aspects of their
clients' lives as well as to their deep spiritual needs. By "spiritual"
we mean those aspects of human experience that reflect a transcendent quality,
e.g. an encounter with God, a feeling of unity with all humanity, a connection
with life in general and with the universe's creative processes.
The medicine men and women in North and South America believe that all
healing involves an experience of the spiritual, where the ill person
rediscovers his connection to nature and to the divine. For this,
the patient must step out of his ordinary state of awareness and into an
extraordinary or ecstatic state where the journey back to health can begin.
(Excerp by Stanley Krippner, from the Introduction
Graywolf used rituals and ceremonies with his clients,
both in individual and group sessions. He looked for mythic themes,
animal "guides," and spiritual symbols in his clients' dreams. He
made use of guided imagery sessions and had clients carve, draw, mold,
or paint those images that seemed to possess healing qualities. He
encouraged body awareness through breathing exercises, dance, and movement.
Since that time, Graywolf has shared his experiences with thousands of
individuals and dozens of groups. In addition, he has moved from
Western psychotherapy to native shamanism to the dreamhealing tradition
of ancient Greece and Rome. But this is hardly a step backwards,
as he has combined this with chaos theory, arguably one of the most vital
models of the 21st century.
Chaos theory is the branch of mathematics for the
study of processes that seem so complex that at first they do not appear
to be governed by any known laws or principles, but which actually have
an underlying order that can be described by vector calculus and its associated
geometry. Examples of chaotic processes include a stream of rising
smoke that breaks down and becomes turbulent, water flowing in a stream
or crashing at the bottom of a waterfall, electroencephalographic activity
of the brain, changes in animal populations, fluctuations on the stock
exchange, and the weather - either local or global. All of these
phenomena involve the interaction of several elements and the pattern of
their changes over time.
Geometric patterns with repetitive self-similar features
have been called "fractals" because of their fractional dimension, and
because of the sheer beauty of these forms. Many chaotic attractors
display fractals when sliced, like opening an orange. Thus, fractal
dimensions are one of the many numerical properties used to characterize
chaotic attractors along wiith measures of the simultaneously convergent
and divergent characteristics which have led many to characterize chaotic
attractors as like the stretching and folding of bread dough or taffy.
Rapid Eye Movement sleep (the period of the sleep cycle from which most
dream reports emerge) could be chaotic in nature and contain this type
Graywolf grounds his work in chaos theory, but he
also claims roots in the ancient Asklepian temples. Here it was the
dream experience itself, not the interpretation of the dream, that was
felt to heal pilgrims. One of Graywolf's contributions to the field
of dreamworking is his facilitation of a healing effect directly from the
dream process itself. His client's dream experiences are just as
carefully nurtured as those provided by the Greek and Roman priests; Graywolf's
contrivances range from dream incubation to whitewater river rafting!
Graywolf claims that in some cases only one such intense event may be necessary
to produce a lasting postive change in a client's life. Before dismissing
this possibility as wishful thinking or self-deception, one should consider
that a single traumatic event can have devastating effects; the power of
recovery can certainly be as forceful as the tumult of trauma. In
addition, one needs to examine Graywolf's 8-step process that encompasses
this life-changing event, steps that range from "the pilgrimage" to "the
Graywolf's Creative Consciousness Process is based
on a unique model of the human psyche, and can provide a roadmap for the
tribal shaman as well as the dreamhealer. Both frequently travel
into the mythic underworld to find and retrieve the lost souls of their
clients. I have seen contemporary shamans make this perilous journey
on behalf of a person whose soul has been absconded by the forces of addiction,
depression, or life-threatening accidents. Sometimes, the soul must
be persuaded to return; at other times it does not know it is lost and
must be informed; and on still other occasions the soul is held captive
by the spirits of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or other seductive substances.
Most contemporary psychotherapists dismiss the concept of "soul" as superstitious,
yet they do so at their peril.. They may treat their clients' bodies,
feelings, and intellects, but may never restore wholeness to them unless
they explore the spiritual dimension of the psyche.
In Graywolf's model, the shaman/dreamhealer and his
or her client emerge from the depths of the psyche through various development
levels, beginning with conception and ending with behavior. The lost
soul has been found, retrieved, and revitalized, and this new wholeness
is reflected in the client's daily activities. The source of dreams,
according to Graywolf, is located at primal levels of the psyche as the
brain experiences itself during sleep. Like the fractals of chaos
theory, brain centers undulate through cycles of firing and rest, processing
both externally-generated and internally-generated input, shaping plots
and narratives, creating symbols and metaphors. Once more, order
is generated from chaos.
Another one of Graywolf's contributions is to find
the genesis of the Creative Consciousness Process in evolutionary theory
and ecological psychology. Rapid eye movement sleep probably seerved
an evolutionary function as small mammals formulated strategies of survival
during sleep, checking them against the memories of their daily experience.
This was the beginning of the brain's capacity to create stories from the
morass of internally-evoked images during the night - stories that would
often become cultural and personal myths, themselves imprtant determinants
of social survival. In our time, as Earth itself struggles to survive
the onslaught of human exploitation, the Creative Consciousness Process
sees its task as reminding individuals and groups of their connection to
the rest of Nature, and to awaken them to the fact that the very survival
of humankind may rest on honoring this connection, not severing it still
Tribal shamans recognized the ecology of consciousness;
their techniques often were chaotic yet the disorder produced through drumming,
dancing, and mind-altering plants induced shifts in consciusness that led
to a new order that could be both healing and life-enhancing. I have
participated in sweat lodge rites, drumming ceremonies, and dancing rituals
where the heat was so intense, the music was overwhelming, and the movement
so exhausting that the only way to stay with the process was to shift into
a state of consciousness where my ordinary limitations were expanded or
transcended. Again, order can emerge from chaos; today's shaman/dreamhealer
takes advantage of this knowledge.
Graywolf has facilitated numerous hero's and heroine's
journeys for his clients over the past several years, encouraging their
departure, validating their discoveries, and celebrating their return.
They realize at profoundly deep levels of the psyche where their growth
has been stalemated and how flow can be restored. By providing sacred
internal and external sites for this change to occur, Graywolf has revived
the dreamhealing tradition. Asklepios would be pleased.