Into the Darkness: Exploring Death Imagery in Clinical Practice

  • 19 Aug 2017
  • 9:00 AM
  • 20 Aug 2017
  • 4:00 PM
  • Alliant International University; 5130 E Clinton Way, Fresno, CA 93727


  • Licensed professionals seeking 12 units of continuing education credit
  • Post-graduate pre-licensed professionals or licensed individuals who do not wish CE credit
  • Student ID must be presented at check-in to receive student pricing

Registration is closed

Into the Darkness:  Exploring Death Imagery in Clinical Practice

Presented by

Ron Teague, Ph.D, ABPP 


About the course: This class will examine the psychological experience of the archetype of death. In all cultures there is some sort of description about what happens to one after death. Often these are transmitted orally from one generation to another and sometimes these descriptions are written down and incorporated into religious dogma. There are two works, however, which act as guide books for the soul in the afterlife: The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Egyptian Book of the Dead and The Bardo Thodol: The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Book of Coming Forth By Day purports to guide the soul of a deceased person through the difficult journey to the after-life. As such, it gives tips to the post-mortem sojourner on how to avoid the traps and pitfalls that await souls trying to find their way to a blessed eternal existence. It also gives examples of how to be polite to the Deities of the Otherworld as well as how to answer any questions they may have of the departed soul. The Bardo Thodol states that it is a guide for souls that will prepare them to enter into the best new reincarnated life possible. It attempts to help the departed maneuver all of the mental illusions that will entrap him or her into a less than satisfactory reincarnation. These two books are of great interest to the Analytical Psychologist who attempts to understand the working of the human psyche, especially the mental states of psychotics, as well as the experiences of the terminally ill. While psychologists will never know whether or not what is contained in these books is empirically true, i.e. do souls really experience what is described in the books, psychologists can evaluate what the experiences mean from a psychological perspective. C.G. Jung has pointed out that many living people have had experiences that are remarkably similar to what is described in these two ancient texts.  Indeed Leary, Metzner and Alpert in their work The Psychedelic Experience point out that people who have psychedelic-induced visionary states experience things that are almost identical to the experiences stated in The Bardo Thodol. This also seems to be true for people who have experienced an ‘after death’ experience, as well as people who have had a first break psychotic experience.

Two, six hour sessions directed toward senior clinicians who are licensed and have several years of post-licensure experience and students in a clinical graduate program will explore:

  • Death imagery in patient’s fantasies
  • Understanding the difference between client fantasies and intentions
  •  Death imagery in Sensation Types vs Intuitive types
  • The psychodynamic meaning of specific suicidal fantasies
  • The difference between dreams of Hospice patients and death dreams of the physically healthy
  • Dreams which signal the need for psychic ‘death”
  •  Faux psychological types and pathological ego development
  • Eros vs Thanatos
  • Death imagery from the Cultural Unconscious
  • Death imagery from the Egyptian Book of the Dead
  • The ancient Egyptian view of the structure of the Psyche as compared to Psychodynamic views
  • Death Imagery from the Tibetan Book of the Dead
  • The Tibetan view of the structure of the Psyche as compared to Psychodynamic views
  • Tibetan Death Imagery in the Psychedelic Drug Experience
  • Tibetan Book of the Dead compared to the 12 step program
  • The role of creativity in psychological transformation
  • Tibetan insights into the Psyche which transcend what is discussed in Psychology
  • Near death imagery of C.G. Jung as compared to the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead


Educational Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. distinguish between dreams which signal physical death and dreams that signal the need for psychological change

2. distinguish imagery which calls for a change of purely personal attitudes

3. distinguish imagery which calls for a change in familial attitudes

4. distinguish imagery which calls for a change in cultural attitudes

5. construct appropriate interventions based upon which level of the psyche is needing transformation

6. construct a useful intervention based upon the symbolic meaning of a patient’s death imagery

7. diagnose a patient’s likely psychological type based upon the symbolic nature of the patient’s death imagery

8. use a patient’s death imagery to facilitate psychological change

9. discern the nature of psychological changes which are reflected in a patient’s suicidal fantasies

10. use an Analytical Hermeneutic approach to explore death imagery in different cultures

11. use a Transcultural Psychodynamic approach to treating death anxiety in different cultural groups

12. recognize more precisely where a patient is blocked in developing mature psychological skills by examining the patient’s death imagery


About the Presenter:  Ronald Teague, Ph.D., ABPP has been in professional practice for over 40 years.  During that time he has directed substance abuse centers in Central California, been the Chief of Psychological Services in both in-patient and outpatient hospital departments and has a private practice in clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. He is skilled and experienced in treating a wide range of emotional and mental disorders.  Additionally he has supervised and trained psychologists and other mental health professionals in his capacity as Founding Graduate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.  Currently, he has expanded his practice to include International Psychology, consulting weekly with psychologists and psychiatrists in China, England, Germany, Korea, Spain and Ethiopia. He is the author of numerous publications and a distinguished invited lecturer.  Dr. Teague’s credentials include: PhD, California School of Professional Psychology-San Francisco, 1973, California License Psy004586, certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis in Psychology, Fellow-American Academy of Clinical Psychology and American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Registrant - National Register of Health Care Providers in Psychology.

And in his own words…

Ronald Teague is a founding faculty of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.  He has continuously been teaching Graduate Students since 1974.  He was the founder of the Fresno, Sacramento and Hong Kong Campuses.  He is Board Certified in both Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis in Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.  He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology and the American Academy of Psychoanalysis.  He yearly travels to China to train psychologists and psychiatrists as well as Primary Care Physicians.  He maintains an active private practice in Sacramento and routinely trains mental health professionals in various locations throughout the world using distance technology.  He is thinking about writing a book on the need for a Transcultural Perspective in Clinical Psychology as well as methods to treat disorders caused by conflicts in the Cultural Unconscious, but he really hasn’t done much about this which is typical for him as he prefers to natter on about topics of interest to him but he really doesn’t like to do the hard research which would be necessary to write a book.  He is either an Introvert or a high functioning Asperger’s, depending on one’s theoretical orientation.  He has been called a ‘polymath’ by the past Dean of CSPP, but he isn’t sure if this is a complement or not.


Continuing Education: Twelve  (12) continuing education credits provided by the Sullivan Center for Children, an authorized provider of continuing education credit through the American Psychological Association (APA). APA-sponsored continuing education credit is approved for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs.

The Sullivan Center for Children is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The Sullivan Center for Children maintains responsibility

For questions, comments, or concerns regarding Sullivan Center for Children CE program content, material, registration, or any related manners, please contact our Continuing Education Program Coordinator Lisa Ganiron, Psy.D., at (559) 271-1186 ext. 132 or email

*Important Notice: Please note that APA guidelines require that we only give credit to those who attend the entire workshop. Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time, or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credits. No partial credit will be awarded.

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