Dr. Jamie Turndorf (aka Dr. Love) is a psychotherapist, media personality, and bestselling author.
Dr. Jamie Turndorf (aka Dr. Love) is a psychotherapist, media personality, and bestselling author. In “Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased,” she shares insights about healing relationships with loved ones who have passed on. I’ve found these techniques to be powerfully healing for anyone who has lost a loved one, even though I remain a true agnostic on the subject of life after death.
Jamie: Yes — I’ve used my grief therapy method and Dialoguing with the Departed technique with people who do not believe in an after-life and they’ve also experienced real healing.
Ken: Jamie, your relationship with your deceased husband Jean was extraordinarily passionate and deep, and your book describes your relationship in detail, including its continuation after his passing. You didn’t just write about the healing, you also wrote about dysfunctions in the relationship, blocked points around your sexuality and his, your struggle for self-love and your early trauma. All of which just made your story more real and believable to me.
Jamie: I know on a personal level that what I call the “Old Scars” from childhood — the abuse, rejection and abandonment that I and many of us have suffered — cause us trouble in our adult relationships. As a result of these early injuries, we often feel afraid to let our intimate partners close — for fear that they will hurt us the way our parents did. Many of us are so afraid that history is going to repeat itself that we engage in a pre-emptive strike in which we push the other away before he/she has the chance to hurt, reject or abandon us. These defensive operations cause all kinds of relationship problems, problems that we often take to the grave.
In my own case, I had to wait until Jean left his body to resolve the issues that we struggled with.
Not only was it not too late to work it out, but as I explain in “Love Never Dies” I had to wait until he was out of his physical body for us to work it out… and also for me to be fully healed.
As I’ve see again and again, we often we have to wait until a loved one is out of his/her body in order to resolve the relationship issues that we struggled with. Why? Number one: Because when we leave our bodies and we enter spirit we have a better perspective on how we messed up our relationships. And for this reason, those who have left their bodies want to make it right with those they’ve left behind.
Ken: And I think that probably is true for those of us who are still alive because we realize the person’s preciousness when they pass in ways we didn’t realize when they were alive.
So, you’re saying that the problems, pains and the betrayals and the hurts in the relationship shouldn’t stop you from seeking healing or connection with this person. Because now is a perfect opportunity to achieve that.
Jamie: In fact, there’s never a better moment!
Ken: In the spirituality of many Eastern religions and in that of indigenous cultures, there are strong beliefs that having an ongoing connection with our ancestors is like having a connection with the very roots of our life and being.
Jamie: When we don’t reconnect and work out this unfinished business, we limp through life dragging our unhealed wounds. While traditional Western grief therapy tells us, “If a loved dies before you had the chance to work it out, you’re SOL — too late” I’m here to say that this isn’t so! It’s never too late to make peace with the deceased.
Ken: Can you tell readers now, as you teach in great detail in “Love Never Dies,” what steps they can take to create healing and connection with loved ones who have passed — whether or not they believe in an afterlife?
Jamie: First, make an effort to be more still and quiet. As Jean said to me very early on, “Jamie, the noise of the day drowns me out. Anytime you want to hear me, come to the bed, put your head on my shoulder, and you will hear me.”
The idea is to create “Pockets of Peace,” moments in which you sit in silence. To do this, turn the TV, the radio, your cellphone, and your computer, if only for 10 minutes. And sit in this silence.
In “Love Never Dies,” I share many exercises for connecting with loved ones in spirit. The most powerful is my Dialoguing with the Departed technique.
Ken: Yes, describe dialogue please, because no matter what one’s beliefs, one can still do the dialogue and experience profound results. Since reading “Love Never Dies” I’ve used this technique and it has opened life-changing doors for me. It’s now a part of my life, and I regret all the years that have passed before I’ve allowed myself the gift of this experience.
Jamie: To dialogue, first find your stillness, as I described, and then speak back-and-forth with whomever you wish to contact.
Speak aloud and make a first statement; then be open to what comes back in. It could be a picture, a thought or a sensation.
Write down or record not only what you say but also what you hear, speaking aloud both your part of the dialogue but also what you hear (or imagine) coming back.
Keep dialoging back-and-forth for as long as you wish.
You can dialogue to get support and guidance, to just reconnect, to say farewell to the physical body if someone was ripped from you due to suicide or sudden accidental death or illness. Above all, you can dialogue to heal unfinished business.
The good news is you don’t need to force forgiveness on yourself. Using this technique, you just pick up where you’re stuck and continue talking back and forth until you achieve resolution.
Through repeated use, this technique helps heal any negative emotional issues that may still remain for you. We both know the power of role-playing, which is the cornerstone of Gestalt therapy.
Ken: As a therapist who uses these Gestalt techniques I can really attest to that.
Many of us live in this kind of in-between state of believing in the possibility of communicating with people who’ve died and not believing it. It’s not a fixed thing for most of us. And as you said, you are not required to believe in life after death, but simply to enter this dialogue with openness and then just experience what happens.
Jamie: The thing is, we all need to heal. As we both know, living in the present is the key to happiness. But it’s impossible to live and love in the present when we’re carrying the chains of the past.
Yes. In my experience, after using your techniques, my sense of connection with loved ones who have passed has helped me live in the present with more wisdom, more grace and a much deeper sense of wholeness. Thank you for your insights and for this wonderful work, Jamie.
Jamie: Thank you, Ken