Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Dean Sims. He is currently the Clinical Director for an addiction recovery center. He is also the founder of the Non-Profit company Fifth Direction. Dean's latest offering is an 11-Week Emotional Integration Training Course designed to systematically teach anyone to manage their emotions in a skillful way and consciously change their life experience.
Hi, Please tell us about what it is that you do.
I've been working on my own personal growth and development since I was 18. It wasn't until I was 38 years old that a spiritual teacher told me my emotions were important. This was news to me. I thought they were something to be avoided. That put me on the path to learning to process my emotions and make lasting changes that I had been unable to do for all the years before, despite my extensive efforts.
I have developed my process over the last 10 years working directly with clients. Everything I share with clients I either did myself or still utilize myself. It's all very concrete and focused on getting results.
Please tell us more about your journey.
I started working on myself after taking Intro to Philosophy – the instructor introduced us to the work of Anthony de Mello, SJ – a Jesuit priest from India – I was hooked on his books of wisdom stories that talked about enlightenment and wanted to be a spiritual director like him. After I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, I went to graduate school at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary to study Spirituality. After quite a few growing pains, I received my master's. I've actively done spiritual formation work myself all along the way, with each experience adding to the tapestry that has gotten me to where I am today. A 30-Day Silent Retreat with the Jesuits doing The Spiritual Exercises was transformative and informed my basic philosophy. I've also spent a month living, working, and praying with the Trappists at New Melleray Abbey. I've done two 10-Day Vipassana courses with S.N. Goenka as well. It was there that I made the connection between emotions and the body – through experience.
Lesson 11 of the Emotional Integration Training shares my Origin Story – you can hear more of the gritty details there! By the way, the Emotional Integration Training Course culminates with an exercise in which you get to write your own Origin Story.
Please tell us about your company ‘Fifth Direction.'
Fifth Direction is a 501(c)(3), and we've been operating providing spiritual integration mentoring support for individuals since 2003. Most recently, we've systematized our Emotional Integration Training this last year as we had only been offering it to individuals one on one in a series of 11-Weekly Sessions via Zoom.
I wanted to make this more readily available to anyone – for people that couldn't necessarily afford the cost of individualized training. I had a small group help me produce the sessions – they gave me feedback and input and really made it possible for me to build the course, something I wouldn't have been able to do without the motivation and inspiration they gave me.
It's now an 11-Lesson Emotional Integration Training Course that anyone can complete at their own pace at a fraction cost. Our goal is for this method of Emotional Integration to become ubiquitous, that is, so pervasive and well known that it becomes the norm, that people are just expected to be able to process their emotional triggers in a skillful way and move forward and grow.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
As an Addiction Recovery Counselor, I obviously focus on recovery. The SAMSHA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) definition of recovery is: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their full potential. It says nothing about not using drugs or alcohol or treating mental health symptoms. What it says is everything about getting healthier, making your own choices and living up to your full potential. What a person is really recovering is their “true self” – that part of them that was lost at a very young age, abandoned, to get the approval of others. Everyone's first “addiction” is to approval.
Tools for recovery that I have used are:
I have to be able to learn from others and recognize my own limits.
I can be ok with reality as it is; reality is not going to change. I can change my perception and accept it as it is.
The bane of my existence, I'm not patient, but I have to realize real change, lasting change takes time. It's an evolution.
I get through it; even when things get hard, I keep going;
Many people don't see the difference between perseverance and persistence, but I like to make the distinction. Persistence for me means I keep at it, I try, fall short, I keep going, I don't quit. Integrity – a big one. Integrity simply means I keep my agreements, I do what I say I'm going to do.
This is all in my perception. I can do even the most mundane tasks with enthusiasm, I get to choose my attitude, no matter where I may find myself.
Gratitude is a game-changer. When I focus on what I'm grateful for, I quite literally rewire my brain. My brain releases happy neurochemicals and wires to my perception of gratitude.
Any message for our readers.
It took me a lot of trials and a lot more error to figure this stuff out. To find a viable way to engage in emotional work that wasn't completely overwhelming or debilitating.
With some of the stuff I tried, I was always on an emotional roller coaster, feeling bad in order to feel good, feeling bad in order to feel good. I couldn't function. The process I developed with the Emotional Integration Training is a viable one. It won't blow up your life. You'll be able to function, and you will start to get better and better. Lasting change is an evolution; it builds on itself. The key is to stick with it. When something starts working for me, I want to do more of the same. I don't want to settle for returning to what was comfortable – I fell in for that trap many times.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
We've launched www.eit4all.org to provide people an easy place to browse to find the basic information. They can also get Lesson 1 – the Orientation & Overview for free on the site.
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time! We wish you the best for your journey ahead!