Dianea Kohl’s life is marked by pain and joy, victory and disappointment and many, many tears. As a nurse and a psychotherapist she has shared the torment of others and led them in a healing direction. As someone trained in marriage and family therapy Dianea has guided couples and individuals to be open to their most intimate feelings and their heaviest frustrations. And all along she has searched her own personal history and recorded her emotions, written and published them until now her life and ideas fill five books. The newest book is “Tears Are Trust…waiting to be felt”.
Her first book, “Tears Are Truth…waiting to be spoken”, shared the philosophy and practice of Primal Therapy, which Dianea learned at founder Arthur Janov’s Primal Center in California. In that approach a person seeks honesty in emotional openness by uncovering painful events of early years. Dianea’s pain is tied to a strained relationship with her mother, whose strict religious teaching, she feels, served to undermine her self-worth.
However, the new book expands on the unconditional love she felt from her father, S. Michel Colbert (a German émigré, he changed his name before joining the U.S. Army in World War II – Dianea Kohl restored the family name). “Tears Are Truth…” continues her seeking strength from love. She quotes generously from her father’s letters to her and even reproduces a few pages of his handwritten notes. Her response to her father, who died in 1997, carries the reader along with her emotions:
I say to myself “no” to Dad’s “forgive me”, because there is nothing to forgive him for, now I am crying because he “apologizeth too much” for being himself. I love that he took a lot of time to write long letters to me, so beautifully written! Now, I’m sobbing because: I miss him so much, I miss his appreciation of me, and mine of him, and that we “did not share our deepest thoughts and feelings as much as we might”. The latter is the deepest pain, because we couldn’t trust enough the love between us to divulge more of our true selves. Presently, my body is very warm from my chest heaving with sadness; that what I wrote to dad was entirely true: “I love you, but not enough.”
–from “Tears Are Trust…waiting to be felt”
The burden of being a child in a difficult marriage became even more tragic when Dianea’s mother told her, at age 16, that her beloved “daddy-dad” was not her biological father. A question of trust extended into the basic reality of life.
Dianea’s early experience with an inhibiting religious framework distanced her from religious belief. But in “Tears Are Trust…” she repeatedly invokes a sense of what she calls the Design of the Universe (DOU) as a guiding, creative force. She writes, “what is amazing about this EVOLving spiritual belief of mine is that I FEEL my trust in the universe growing…as I feel more trust in my tear-filled-self every day.” The tearful quest has yielded a direction.
Dianea’s writings include “EVOLution of an Orgasm” (2003), subtitled “sex meets spirit…so we can MAKE real LOVE” plus two books for children, “Everybody Cries” (it’s okay – you’re not being a big baby) and a reassuring companion volume, “Everybody Laughs”. In addition to her writing/publishing and her psychotherapy practice, Dianea is a passionate dancer and a champion distance runner, once running 36 marathons in 36 months. She has been married four times (all her ex-husbands are credited in her books) and is the mother of two daughters and is a grandmother.
Dianea Kohl joins Bill Jaker on OFF THE PAGE to share both personal and professional insights.