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
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
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
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 (http://www.ethicalstl.org).
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 (http://www.susanbeere.com) 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
Updated June 2020