Donald B. Beere  |  Retired


Don Beere seems to have had a mundane life so far: married to the same woman for 52 years; had two children -- a boy and a girl; took walks with their black labs; lived for 30 years in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, a small rural college town; enjoyed motor home vacations for 12 years when the kids were young; and worked at the same job for 42 years. On the other hand, Don has adventured in abstruse if not unusual arenas: Tai Chi, Tibetan Buddhism, Phenomenological Philosophy, meditation, hypnosis, Multiple Personality or Dissociative Identity Disorder, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and art photography. He retired from his clinical practice in 2013 and moved to St. Louis. He and his wife are active in the Ethical Society of St. Louis where he teaches Tai Chi. Retirement finally gave him the time to finish Blue Sky Deadly Secrets, a book he started in 1983. Many elements of his professional life interpenetrate the story which is a psychological thriller and mystery.

Here is a summary of Don's background, career and interests. He has college degrees in physics and philosophy, a master's in experimental psychology, and a doctorate in clinical psychology. He was a professor in the Psychology Department at Central Michigan University for 29 years, retiring in 2000. One might think that all this education would be enough, but, for him as well as for many people, it is a foundation that spurs more learning. During those 29 years, he developed the following specialties: phenomenological philosophy; a Tibetan Buddhism related theory presented in the Time, Space and Knowledge books by Tarthang Tulku; dissociation and the dissociative disorders -- what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder; trauma; EMDR, a new and effective treatment for trauma; and Tai Chi. He began doing art photography around 1990, has shown his work in various venues over the years, and eventually has emphasized Abstract Photography. In 2001, he and his wife moved to Northern Kentucky (right next to Cincinnati), where he had a full-time psychotherapy practice for 12 years.

If the reader is curious about more detail concerning Don's background, read on. It might be too much but you can stop reading at any time.

His father, a physicist, was a Colonel in the Army. He had longer tours of duty because of his education, one of which was four years in France. During those years, Don and his brother went to a boarding school in Sussex, England: three months at school, one month at home, for three years. By the time he was 14 he had crossed the English channel 18 times. When they returned to the states, Don began high school in El Paso, Texas, considering himself a subject of the Queen and having a British accent.

When Don was 16, his father retired and moved the family to Del Mar, California. He now began his nomadic adventures in academia. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a physics degree but realized he didn't want to be in a lab the rest of his life. He took an additional year and earned a second bachelor's in philosophy and, after starting graduate school in philosophy, took a semester's break to figure out what to do. He moved to downtown Los Angeles, enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, and got a master's in experimental psychology. He then went to Michigan State University where he got his doctorate in clinical psychology and met Carole, a doctoral student in another program. They married while they were working on their degrees.

After he graduated in 1971, they both took faculty jobs for "one year" -- that's what they said to each other -- at Central Michigan University a mere 70 miles north of E. Lansing. That one year extended to almost 30. Don was part of the clinical psychology faculty and taught all levels of students, but primarily trained doctoral students. At the same time, Don had a small clinical practice. In the early 80s he began working with traumatized clients, eventually discovering one of them had Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder), and in 1984 attended the very first conference devoted to this disorder. He learned everything he could about DID, began to have more DID clients, and over years developed a specialization in trauma and dissociation. He published a paper on his theory of dissociation and he and his graduate students did research on hypotheses derived from his theory. This eventuated in 11 publications, 39 presentations and two book chapters. Eventually, he became known internationally for his work, served on the Board of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), and was honored with the Society's Distinguished Achievement award. For ten years while he did full time practice, he taught through ISSTD beginning, advanced and master courses to therapists on the treatment and diagnosis of the dissociative disorders. Two of his chapters on his theory were in the definitive reference book on dissociation (2009) and will be summarized and updated as a single chapter in the revised edition in 2021.

Another academic strand is phenomenological philosophy (Husserl), a precursor to existentialism. In their first year at CMU, Don and his wife were fortunate to meet another academic couple. Armin Wildermuth was Karl Jasper's major student.As a graduate student, Don had read Japsers, a seminal thinker in existential psychology and phenomenology. During the three years Armin was at CMU, they had many conversations about phenomenology and psychology and team taught Phenomenological Existential Psychology. Don was inclined in this direction already but the years with Armin solidified his orientation as a phenomenological (read experiential or humanistic) psychologist. Fifteen years later Don would use this background in phenomenology to develop his Perceptual Theory of Dissociation. In 1974 Armin was lured back to Switzerland to be a Professor of Philosophy there.

Don was always on the lookout for better ways to help his clients. In 1990, he "bumped into" a short summary of Francine Shapiro's new if not weird treatment for trauma, EMDR. He completed in 1991 one of her earliest training workshops, then discovered how effective it was in treatment, got more training, and sponsored many EMDR workshops in Michigan. One of his students wrote the first dissertation on EMDR. Don later became a Certified Consultant in EMDR, a facilitator who helped train therapists to do EMDR, and provided specialty workshops for the use of EMDR with trauma and the dissociative disorders. Two book chapters present his protocols for using EMDR with DID and for strengthening clients.

Beginning in 1980 Don began treating trauma and dissociation. He learned what he could about effective approaches. In graduate school he had learned hypnotherapy, so he took additional training and began to use it in therapy. He taught a regular course on Hypnotherapy to his clinical graduate students. He included a hypnotic component in his EMDR treatment protocol for DID.

Another "strand" began serendipitously. In 1978, Don got a free copy of Time, Space and Knowledge: A new vision of reality (TSK) by Tarthang Tulku, a Tibetan lama of the Nyingma lineage. He was blown away by the book which integrates the essence of Buddhism, Western philosophy and modern physics. During his sabbatical in 1979 he wrote a book chapter that was included in a collection of essays by scholars exploring TSK. Don arranged for two workshops on TSK led by teachers from the Nyingma Institute. For fifteen years, Don taught his doctoral students a course titled Non-Traditional Therapeutic Techniques which always included TSK and other books in the series. One of his doctoral students did the only dissertation on TSK. In 1997 Don was invited to present at the Nyingma Institute. Between 1980 and 2004 he had six chapters in various books on TSK printed by Dharma Publishing.

Don learned, practiced and taught Tai Chi starting in 1975, long before it was widely known in the West, and sponsored 21 yearly workshops, led by three different Tai Chi Masters: Hubert H. Lui, ChungLiang "Al" Huang, and Dr. Zaiwen Shen. While still working, he was invited to lead or teach Tai Chi at 11 workshops, and taught Tai Chi as a regular credit-bearing course at CMU. After moving to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky , he taught Tai Chi at St. Elizabeth Hospital's Holistic Health Center for four years. After moving to St. Louis, Don has been teaching Tai Chi at the Ethical Society of St. Louis (

And last, art. Don grew up in an artistic household. His mother always had a painting in process and talked to her children about what she was doing. She worked in several mediums:oils, acrylics, watercolors and sculpting. She and six other artists ran a gallery. When he was a teenager in the early 1960s, she started the San Dieguito Art Guild in San Diego County. During those teenage years, Don accompanied her to art shows and art museums where she critiqued what they were viewing. At that time, Don had no interest in art but obviously absorbed her lessons. His sister, Susan Beere ( also learned from their mother and has been a professional artist her whole life.

In his 40s, Don discovered his love of photography, and, in particular, his eye for composition. Photography became a medium through which he could express his artistic bent. Other than what he learned from his mother, Don developed his skills naturalistically. His photographs have been juried into shows and were included in numerous art shows. His initial subject matter was exclusively nature, and his love of nature comes through in those pieces.

When Don and his wife were moving from Minneapolis in 2001, on an early, sunny morning in late July, Don shot pictures of reflections in the windows of the downtown skyscrapers. These photos mark a significant transition in Don's approach. He had already been moving in this direction, but he says, "These photographs taught me the principles of abstract photography."

Updated June 2020