8 Steps to Therapy, a novel,  by Jim Goulding


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                                                                                                                                       A note from Jim


  8 Steps to Therapy - KINDLE (order)



   Navigation area for this web page

  Excerpts  Synopsis 

  Look Inside  Myth's Aside What is 8-Steps Really About?

  The Cover 


“8-Steps to Therapy”, follows the friendship of two characters, Michael and Jim. One morning Jim finds himself on the brink of suicide. Just as Jim is about to pull the trigger something compels him to reach out for help.

He calls his friend Michael. From this point on, Michael leads Jim into the world of intensive therapy. Jim learns how to cope with the everyday pressures that life brings through the tools that Michael offers. Three tools specifically play a big role in Jim’s recovery. The book culminates with ‘8-steps’ that anyone can follow if they choose the road to recovery.



 Excerpt no. 1

“I’m in bad shape Michael. Can you come out to my house?” I asked Michael that Saturday morning.

“I’ll be right there,” he replied, without hesitation.

And show up, he did.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in October. Chicago usually had cold, rainy, Scotland-type-Octobers. Not today. The breeze was gentle andthe sky sunny. Guilty sunny. The type of sun that ate at my gut and said, “You’ve been partying all night long. You’ll miss out on me today, because you’ll be sleeping it off. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

If there’s one thing I can remember from those past days, it was the shame. This single emotion was my guide and parent for much of my life. It kept me in line, reigned me in, and told me when to talk and when to SHUT UP. It sat on mountains of anger, pushing the anger further and further down so it was indistinguishable from other emotions. Shame re-arranged my emotions like a brain surgeon. An evil brain surgeon. Working meticulously in the background day after day, silently re-wiring my internal circuits.


Excerpt no. 2

“Jim, I want to tell you about something I’ve been doing the past year and a half. I know we haven’t seen each other much lately and I’m sure I look different physically different different to you.”

“You bet I notice,” I said wiping away some tears. “What did you do to yourself? You look like you lost 50 pounds?”

“I didn’t want to shove any of this down your throat. I know we’ve known each other for a long time, but I’ve been on a very personal journey and it’s not something I share with many people, because they just seem disinterested. However I can see you're hurting bad. Bad enough to want to die. So maybe I should share what I’ve been doing this past year-and-a-half?” He finished.

“That may be a good idea Michael.” I said as I got up and invited him into my living room to sit on the couch.

He obliged and followed me in.

“The journey I chose to take, Jim, is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and the desire to live a different life than the one you are living now”, Michael started.

“Anything is better than what I’m living now, Mike.” I interjected.

“You say that now Jim, because you’re hurting. I’m not belittling you; in fact it’s good that you are hurting. When someone gets to the amount of pain you are in now, they can either die or change.

What I’m trying to relate is that my journey is painful also. However there is an end to my journey as opposed to your end. The end you were contemplating when I arrived,” Mike finished.


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  The Cover


Each item on the cover represents something.

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Jung & the Sun Jung, The Triangle & Saturn Uranus

Saturn Furthermore on the Cover Carl Jung


The Sun 

"The very moment we attempt the flattening out of the Sun's symbolic meanings for our own purposes—by declaring with surety that the Sun is this one single thing—it suddenly confounds us by becoming yet another unknown third thing."

—Carl Jung[1]


Jung, the Triangle, and Saturn [2]

"The astrological elements are symbols for four different ways of relating to and understanding the world the individual lives in. Individuals mainly influenced by the element of fire relate to people and things in terms of the opportunities these might mean for themselves and their lives. Signs that belong to the same element lie in the aspect , trine, to one another. This creates a basis for harmony, approachability, and understanding. According to the trend in modern astrology toward Jungian psychoanalysis, one or more of these perceptionary [sic] elements are dominant in an individual, while the others are linked to the subconscious complex called the shadow, a person of the same sex characterized by despicable and contemptuous qualities. The shadow is often symbolized by Saturn, , in the birth chart.


Uranus [3]

"41a:36 ·  (The most common sign for the planet Uranus). This graph for Uranus is based on the letter H from the name of Sir William Herschel, who discovered this planet in 1781. The discovery of   occurred at approximately the same time as the beginnings of one of the greatest upheavals in the present cycle of human civilization on our planet, the French Revolution. Before, the planetary system's outer limit, which had also marked the outer limit of the human life and the material existence, had been for many thousands of years , Saturn, Kronos. 

"Before the French Revolution it was taken for granted that there existed a higher class of human beings, the aristocracy, appointed by God to rule over the lower classes. The discovery of this planet came as a shock, and not only for astronomers and astrologers (the latter did not recover until the twentieth century in the West). Even today, astrologers in India refuse to acknowledge the existence of the three outer planets.


"As a result Uranus has come to symbolize total and sudden change or upheaval, unpredictability, modern science, anarchy and the destruction of the established order. The planet Uranus is encircled by half a dozen moons. It distinguishes itself from the other planets in our system by the fact that its rotational axis lies almost parallel with the sun's equatorial plane. It is the third largest planet after  and . Its volume would contain 50 earths, and it takes 84 years to orbit the sun.


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"Physiologically  rules the electric impulses in the nervous system. In mundane astrology Uranus rules over astrologers, occultists, inventors, and those who are connected to aviation, spacecraft,electronics, and modern scientific breakthroughs. Such things as computers, electronics, and space technology are all ruled by this planet.”

"The keywords for  are: 
1. intuition, inspiration, ‘the sixth sense’; 
2. the breaking of old ideologies, ideas, and structures; 
3. bohemians, hippies, dropouts, and anarchists; 
4. revolution and humanism; and 
5. energy that is directed toward attaining higher consciousness.
The planet Uranus is also drawn  and .
The sign  is sometimes used as a military sign to denote a howitzer, a heavy long-range gun or cannon."


Saturn [4]

"The planet Saturn was known already some 6,000 years ago and has, until the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, represented the outermost boundary of the planetary system, and a measure when calculating long periods of time. The planet Saturn uses approximately 29 earth years to orbit the sun. Therefore a human lifespan can be said to be two, or at the very most three of this planet's orbits in the zodiac. Partly for this reason Saturn is associated with Death and theReaper, the skeleton in black hood with a scythe who reaps men and women when their time is up.


"Astrologically Saturn has become a symbol for implacable powers, restrictions impossible to overcome, relentless natural forces and the hard, fixed structures of the world of matter.


"Saturn only brings sorrow and deprivation in those areas of a person's life that are based on illusions or unrealistic expectations. Saturn represents the unrelenting aspect of reality that forces the individual to abandon all ideas that are not based on a realistic perception of the material conditions of life.


"A child is protected by his or her parents from physical and psychological harm. But for self-fulfillment the child must at some time free himself from this protective shield, its parents. Astrologers suggest that the inner being, the self, in a similar way is protected by the personality, the psychological structure enveloping the self, spirit, inner being, or true individual. Through the imaginations, conceptions, and games of the personality, the inner being is protected until that protection is no longer needed and becomes a hindrance for self-fulfillment. Once this stage of development has been reached the outer shell must be broken. The position of Saturn in an individual's natal chart or horoscope reveals the way in which the protective shell will break, the price that has to be paid for the freedom necessary for further development, and the pain that has to be endured during the process of really becoming a grown-up, a kind of rebirth. If the implications of Saturn are ignored, the planet becomes precisely the symbol of deprivations, inhibitions, and hardship just mentioned.


"What Robert Hand has to say in this respect is most enlightening: 'Every time we do what is untrue to our nature, acting not from a real necessity but rather to fulfill what others may expect of us, we commit a crime against ourselves that is peculiarly Saturnine. We move a bit toward death, more of our potential becomes actual, and what is actual does not express what we are.'"


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*   *   *

   Furthermore on the Cover

 I can also define the cover, as a representation of what an individual, when in therapy, must overcome.

For example, if we look at Saturn:


"Saturn has become a symbol for implacable powers, restrictions impossible to overcome, relentless natural forces and the hard, fixed structures of the world of matter."


This pertains to the psychological state of someone entering therapy. They will need to overcome things once thought impossible to overcome. They will have to overcome that implacable part of the self. That part that is so rigid and ruthless it just can't let go of the old behaviors. They used those behaviors to survive, at one time. However they must let go of them now and travel to Uranus. That is the goal. Getting to Uranus.


They must understand that to reach the planet Uranus, the outer shell of their emotions, which they once used as a defense system, must be broken.


To get to the planet Uranus (Inner-peace), you will use all the keywords that represent this planet. Destruction of the established order (knocking down the walls of your defense mechanisms). Using your intuition and finding your inspiration. The breaking of old ideologies, ideas, and structures (the way you used to do things). Revolutionizing your emotions.


The triangle represents harmony, approachability, and understanding. In therapy you must apply all three and direct that application inward. In doing so, you will stop beating yourself up mentally and abusing yourself physically.


I used the Sun on the cover for several reasons. I worked with a Jungian therapist for a long time. Jung had a profound effect on me. His definition of the Sun, in my opinion, is a message. That message says we can heal our emotional problems and come out the other side not needing to understand everything. 


The two people in the middle of the triangle reaching for the star represent community. Only with others' help can we truly heal. When I went through therapy, community played a huge role in my healing process.

The infinity sign means, 'never give up'.


Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) [5]

Swiss psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of modern depth psychology. Jung's most famous concept, the collective unconscious, has had a deep influence not only on psychology but also on philosophy and the arts. Jung's break with Sigmund Freud is one of the famous stories in the early history of psychoanalytic thought. More than Freud, Jung has inspired the New Age movement with his interest in occultism, Eastern religions, the I Ching, and mythology.


[1] http://astrology.about.com/library/weekly/aa062201a.htm

[2] http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/28/281.html

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/cjung.htm

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  Myth's Aside, What is 8-Steps to Therapy Really About?

 It's been 7 years since I wrote "8-Steps". Finally, I've gotten around to building this web page. All of the information above, on this web page, was written back then. However, I wanted to put this note in to tell you, the reader, where the idea came from to write this book. I don't remember if I've ever written about how I came to write "8-Steps" and haven't found anything in my writing folders about this subject. Thought I'd get it down before senility hits!

 I wrote "8-Steps" as a follow-up book to "From the Pits to the Pits". Instead of listing all the therapists and practitioners who helped me, then, detailing the therapeutic work intricately, as I did in "Pits", I wanted to create a story that flowed mythically. I was really into Carl Jung at the time and reading gobs of information about him. Some of my main therapy work was centered on Jung's teaching. One of my therapist's holds a doctorate in Jungian therapy and I really understood his work and the way she taught Jung, to me. 

 "8-Steps" is a story that combines all the people who helped my recover, from alcoholism & drug abuse, and places all of them into one character. I named that character, Michael. I also pictured Michael as my life long friend, Dan Brennan, who was the person I called the morning I was going to commit suicide. As I wrote the story I pictured Dan (Michael) as all of my therapists, body therapists, psychologists, and group-therapy friends, all wrapped up inside Dan; an all-wise sage character. Then, I named him Michael, simply because I love the name.

 I hope you enjoy the book.

    Take care,

    Jim Goulding

    Friday, October 29th, 2010


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