About the Author

Robert Burney, author of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, calls his private practice "Counseling for Wounded Souls." He holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Relations and has experience in chemical dependence treatment programs, having worked in inpatient and outpatient settings with both adults and adolescents.

Robert is a non-clinical, non-traditional therapist a healer, teacher, and Spiritual guide whose private practice is based upon Twelve Step Recovery Principles and emotional energy release/grief process therapy. His practice is based on the belief that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience and that the key to healing is awakening to consciousness of our Spiritual connection. He emphasizes that the purpose of healing is to learn how to enjoy being alive.

Robert is based in Cambria on the the Central Coast of California. He spends part of each week in Santa Barbara and works with clients in Los Angeles.

History of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls:

In the spring of 1991, Robert Burney was asked to speak in several different venues on the subject of Codependence. In the course of those speaking engagements he heard himself making statements to a general audience that he had never considered saying in public because of their controversial nature. To his surprise he found that the practical process level tools and techniques that he utilized in his private therapy practice were merging with mystical and magical knowledge he had acquired writing a book that was an adult fable about the history of the Universe the first book of a trilogy.

Although he experienced a great deal of fear about making such controversial statements in public, he was compelled to further explore this message that he felt coming through him. He arranged dates in June of 1991 to give a talk in Cambria and Morro Bay, California. He then found he was unable to write the talk. The message that he was formulating was multileveled and nonlinear so that he found it impossible to organize his thoughts into a coherent presentation. His anxiety mounted as the date for his talk approached until in a burst of inspiration born out of desperation he wrote almost continuously for the last 48 hours prior to the talk. The presentation was scrawled on yellow legal pages that first time he presented the talk.

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As he got ready to give his talk, he was overwhelmed with feelings of dread and experienced emotional memories of being stoned to death by an angry mob. He was convinced the audience would not be able to hear his message because of the outrageously controversial aspects of it but was compelled to go forward with it because of his personal Karmic need to take responsibility and stand up for his Truth. To his amazement, the audience not only heard what he was saying but cried tears of Joy in recognition of the Truth he was sharing.

That talk formed the basis for the book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. The message evolved and expanded over the years as he refined the techniques he was developing to facilitate Codependence recovery, but the basic structure of the book was essentially born in those two days of desperation. Robert made a trip from Taos New Mexico, where he was living at the time, to the Central Coast of California in the winter of 1995 in an attempt to raise funds to publish a book based on the talk. Because of that trip (which was a real leap of faith) he did receive the financing to start the publishing process in the summer of 1995. He returned to Cambria to set up his publishing company, Joy to You & Me Enterprises, in the fall of 1995. The official publication date of the book was January of 1996.

Robert is in the process of writing six more books about the Human Condition and the recovery process. He hopes to be able to publish two of those books in the coming year.

One of those books will be a process level, how-to, book about the recovery process and his techniques for developing internal boundaries. The working title for this book is Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light (a great deal of the material for that book is being previewed in this web site.) Robert hopes to get this book in print in 1999 but that will depend on raising the financing to publish it.

The other book he hopes to publish in the coming year is the first book of the mystical fable trilogy that provided part of the inspiration for his current book. That mystical fable is entitled The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book I - "In The Beginning..."(a preview of that book is included in this web site.) Book II - Atlantis, Mu, and Jesus Too is scheduled for publication in 2000. The third book of the trilogy is as yet untitled.

About his Work:

The focus of Robert Burney's therapy is teaching self-empowerment. He does not normally do long term individual therapy which he believes can sometimes foster dependence. The purpose of his work is helping people to access their own Spirit so that they can learn to depend on, and trust themselves. He specializes in small groups (maximum 4 people) which focus on changing the core relationship with self. These consciousness expanding process groups are designed to help people on a Spiritual Path become more aligned with the healing process so that life can become an easier, more enjoyable experience. During the course of the group process individuals learn how to: get in touch with and release childhood grief which allows emotional honesty with self; get intimately in touch with both the inner child (inner children) and Higher Self; have internal boundaries, as well as external boundaries, in order to stop being at war within and start developing a more Loving relationship with self.

It is Robert's unique approach and application of the concept of internal boundaries coupled with the Spiritual belief system he teaches that make his work so innovative and effective. The following paragraphs from one of his pamphlets exemplifies both the philosophy and goal of his therapeutic work:

"Learn how to integrate Spiritual Truth and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into your experience of life and find some balance in your relationships. Knowing Spiritual Truth intellectually will not make your fear of intimacy disappear or relieve you of the shame you feel deep within. Integrating Spiritual Truth into your day-to-day life process and emotional reactions is what will set you free.

It is possible to feel the feelings without being the victim of them. It is possible to change the way you think so that your mind is no longer your worst enemy. It is possible to become empowered to have choices in life at the same time you are letting go of trying to be in control. Life can be an exciting, enjoyable adventure if you stop reacting to it out of your childhood emotional wounds and attitudes."

Personal History

His background is interesting and eclectic. He was raised on a farm in Nebraska. His childhood from all outside appearances was an idyllic, middle class, Norman Rockwell, all-American upbringing with both parents present and no overt dysfunction. He participated in 4-H and little league baseball and in sports, theater, and student government in high school. He became very interested in politics through the influence of his grandfather who was a long-time Lieutenant Governor and, due to the death of his predecessor, for several months Governor of Nebraska. The first outward sign that Robert's path was veering from the norm came as a freshman at Creighton University in Omaha when he was one of the founders of Creighton Students for Human Relations, one of the University's first Civil Rights organizations. In that freshman year, he became very involved in theater and through the influence of a dynamic French teacher made plans to study at The Sorbonne in Paris his sophomore year. Those plans were did not work out and because of that disappointment and disillusionment with the University's response to his participation in marches, protests, and attempts to reform student government, he transferred to the University of Nebraska for his sophomore year.

There he continued his activism for a while, even serving as a delegate to the state Democratic convention, but after the trauma of 1968 with assassinations, riots, and the election of Richard Nixon, he withdrew from activism and spent his remaining college days mostly drinking and partying. He was in Air Force ROTC because of a strong desire to fly (which he later realized was about his spiritual quest and not about planes) and because of the draft. Although he was opposed to the war in Viet Nam, his low number in the draft lottery convinced him to join the Air Force rather that be drafted into the army. Robert was commissioned as an Air force officer on the same day he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

He entered Air Force pilots training and was flying solo in jet aircraft before being medically eliminated because of allergies. He was then assigned to an Intelligence wing where he held one of the highest security clearances available. After receiving an early discharge because of the de-escalation in Viet Nam, he entered graduate school. He got involved with the American Indian Movement in the spring of 1973 during their occupation of the village of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. He left graduate school and went to South Dakota to fly an air drop of supplies but the siege ended a few days after his arrival. He remained actively involved with AIM for the rest of that year and had an extensive FBI file compiled on him for his active participation in revolutionary activities against the government. During this time more than a dozen of the people he was closely involved with were killed or went to prison. It was only through divine intervention on several occasions that he survived to return to graduate school.

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He completed his Masters Degree and was then hired by the U. S. Civil Service as a Race Relations Orientations Specialist at Edwards Air Force Base in California (a little cosmic irony here.) Robert enjoyed great success communicating with and fostering change in the attitudes and belief systems of the base personnel he was teaching but left that position in frustration over bureaucratic interference from Base authorities who thought him too radical. A brief sojourn in England rekindled his love of theater and he moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.

Over the course of more than a decade pursuing an acting career, he got very few parts of any consequence but was able to play out fully the role of the suffering artist, a perfect expression for his own particular brand of Codependence which also gave ample opportunity for him to fully pursue personal research in the area of substance abuse. He played the role to the hilt in all areas of his life including earning a living by parking cars, driving cabs, and waiting tables. Acting provided an invaluable emotional outlet to explore and express feelings that would otherwise have been unacceptable according to his childhood training and experiences. The personal research of substance abuse almost killed him.

Robert was introduced to Twelve Step programs through an intervention by his family on a trip home for the holidays. He started his Twelve Step Recovery in January of 1984 and remained in Nebraska for nine months. During this time he worked first in the family care section of the treatment program which he had gone through and then at a state mental hospital where he started to again utilize his training and skills in communication and counseling. He returned to Hollywood in the fall of 1984 convinced that his new found Spiritual path would facilitate his quest for an Oscar nomination. When that did not materialize in short order, he fled to South Lake Tahoe and went to work in the poker room at a casino. The Universe however had other plans for him and ended his career at the casino so that he could go to work for the Alcoholism Council of the Sierra Nevada. It was there that he started to realize and deal with how Codependent he was in his relationships with others.

When funding for his position ended, Robert returned to Southern California and gave acting one last try. It was only a short time however before he went to work in a Chemical Dependence Treatment program in Pasadena. His work as a therapist there and at a subsequent treatment program facilitated and accelerated his personal recovery process. In the spring of 1988, he had a major emotional breakthrough in his recovery and gave himself the gift of entering a thirty day treatment program for Codependence. Sierra Tucson Treatment Center in Arizona was one of the first to pioneer treatment of Codependence and it was there that he learned a great deal about the grieving process and absorbed techniques and knowledge upon which he would later expand.

He also realized what a Codependent relationship he had with the romance of Hollywood and upon completion of the program promptly moved. After brief stays in Tucson and Sedona Arizona, he lived in Taos, New Mexico, for a year until his Spiritual path led him to Cambria, California. It was in Cambria that he began a private practice specializing in Codependence Recovery and inner child healing. During almost two years on the coast he became involved in a relationship a tribute to the healing he had done to overcome his terror of intimacy. He and his new "family" (significant other and her daughter) moved back to Taos. That relationship ended after two years. Robert remained in Taos refining his practice for several more years before making a successful trip to California in the winter of 1995 to raise funds to publish his first book. He returned to Cambria to set up his publishing company, Joy to You & Me Enterprises, in the fall of 1995. He now practices in Cambria, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara, with occasional forays into Los Angeles.

next: Author ´s Foreword

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 1). About the Author, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: August 7, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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