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In 2017 Bona Anna & I presented a power point at the AANZPA Conference in Auckland.
It is a reflection on the purpose and phases of psychodrama and emphasises the value of naming and concretising the learning from a drama to ensure it goes beyond the therapy room in an adequate way.
I’m listening to Shane Birkel interview Laura Heck.
[You can listen to all Shane’s podcasts on your phone if you have a podcast app. Search forThe Couple Therapists Couch. I use Pocket Casts.]
I wanted to jot down some bullet points so thought – blog, why not.
I found this video by Elliott Connie useful! Elliott is a Solution Focussed Couple therapist.
Bud, a psychodrama colleague recommended the video, on Shane Birkel’s Facebook page.
Here a a bit of Bud’s summary:
… the vital importance of the difference between a goal for therapy and a desired outcome. He discuses it in the context of working with a couple who appeared to have mutually opposing or exclusive goals.
What a simple idea, and perhaps something we already know in an illusive way. Elliott’s teaching and examples in the video are just excellent.
$1,000,000 = Goal
Peace of mind = Outcome
Gets me thinking… he is showing us an example of assisting people to deeper into their being and sharing more. I like the SF questions.
I wonder if couples themselves using the universal space opening question: “Is there more?” would go from the goal to the outcome?
That way couple can do their own deep listening, with one question: Is there more?
This can be done – partner to partner. If they succeed they may get more confidence and hope for their relationship.
If they don’t… it is good for the therapist to have SFT at the ready.
Just created version another version of the Outline for the course. Here is the link to the whole document and then some excerpts:
About Psychodramatic Couple Therapy Training
I’ve just listened to this episode of The Couples Therapists Couch
In this episode, Emotionally Focused Therapist, Figs O’Sullivan, conceptualizes a case from the standpoint of working from the EFT perspective. Relational Life Therapist, Shane Birkel, talks about how an RLT therapist would work with the same couple. Figs and Shane talk through some of the similarities and differences in the two approaches and how they view couples cases that come in for therapy.
I’m immediately drawn to the conversation, and want to participate. I appreciate the value systems in both models.
Continue reading “EFT, RLT and another perspective – Encounter”
In his Poetics, the Greek philosopher Aristotle put forth the idea the play should imitate a single whole action. “A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end” (1450b27). He split the play into two parts: complication and unravelling.
From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatic_structure
Just like therapy!
Just read this here:
The reader is the musician of the book
“Books are frozen voices, in the same way that musical scores are frozen music. The score is a way of transmitting the music to someone who can play it, releasing it into the air where it can once more be heard. And the black alphabet marks on the page represent words that were once spoken, if only in the writer’s head. They lie there inert until a reader comes along and transforms the letters into living sounds. The reader is the musician of the book: each reader may read the same text, just as each violinist plays the same piece, but each interpretation is different.”
This of course rhymes and echoes with the concept of the Canon of Creativity – conserves > warm up > spontaneity > creativity.
I’m writing this post as it goes well with a thought we developed recently about The Writer.
The writer is the servant of the vision.
The writer can give the voice to the vision. The writer is not you, or the whole of you. The writer has a job to to. The vision needs no bounds. The writer will prune and edit in a way the visionary can’t.
The discipline of the writer will paradoxically enhance the vision.
On the first day of training in Imago therapy Maya Kollman characterised a couple relationship as “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” In different words psychodrama includes the same idea, the therapeutic tele is distributed in the group, it’s not just in the director.
And there is qualitative evidence for this… A group, or a couple, once the connection is established and there is a warm up, will hum its way to more and more enabling solutions. I see it so clearly in psychodrama groups – each drama assists the whole group in a quest that is finally resolved. The terminology of ‘disturbing motive’ and ‘reactive fear’ is used to describe this process. Even this naming implies that it is the ‘disturbing motive’ that arises first and the the ‘reactive fear’ is simply the obstacles of the cultural conserve (CC) that need to get out of the way. CC is a term from the psychodramatic theory Canon of Creativity
An earlier post grapples with the same idea. http://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2018/the-survival-dance-that-gets-in-the-way-of-the-encounter/
There is a layer of conserved coping that is somehow “man made”, the reactive fear, which is usually followed by flight or fight i.e. Criticism and blaming or avoidance. There is another layer – the universe trying to heal itself. Lets just call it eros or love. Gt the crap out of the way and the love will come through.
Both psychodrama and Imago have the philosophy that the therapist is the catalyst, simply providing tools, like dialogue, or the 5 instruments so the eros can emerge.
I’m reflecting on the relationship between letting it happen and making it happen.
The inevitable can be helped along.
We are agents in the healing of the universe. i.e. in its progress. Towards eros.
We can make it worse or better. If this is a dead end it will proceed towards the omega point in some other way. The universe does not care, but it won’t stop its evolution, its development, its progress. These words are teleological.
We make history but under conditions of our choosing.
Surfing. We can but catch a wave or miss it.
Anyway, if we assume that a group or a couple is “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” then we are assistants to that process.
Thats what Marxists are too.
Strange that the right who advocate market forces somehow believe in the benign power of the market. Leave alone. Marxists might trust the market too if it was alive in a society that was free of the distortions of the capitalists. It would tend towards each to his needs. Just like in couple therapy – in my room I have to be a strong dictatorship of the eros forces. We fight the cultural conserves (part of the current cultural forces) of blame – attack and control.
See more search the Tag – theory of change http://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/tag/theory-of-change/
The title of this post comes from Hedy Schleifer’s ECcT – Encounter Centred Couple Therapy. On her website she says:
“I want them to leave knowing that the “survival dance’ that they have been dancing for such a long time is “not’ who they are in their essence.”
She also calls it “from coping to living”
EFT – Emotionally Focussed Couple Therapy – has a similar concept – http://www.drsilvinairwin.com/what-is-eft/ :
“EFT sees distress in relationships as centered in the loss of secure emotional connection, and that a negative cycle or “dance” is established when that loss of connection is experienced. These cycles are often characterized by anger, criticism, leaving, or appearing indifferent, to name a few. Once established, these cycles can crop up over the slightest issue, and over time be corrosive to the bonds of trust and security in the relationship. EFT aims to help couples stop these negative cycles by first identifying and mapping out this cycle, then helping couples identify and articulate their needs and clarify their emotional signals in a way that helps their partner to have greater understanding, compassion and responsiveness.”
Imago Relationship Therapy has the same philosophy. It comes to it this way:
“Our essential state is that of relaxed joyfulness and empathic connection.
… we protect ourselves with maximizing and/or minimizing defenses and also block the expression of our basic functioning (thinking, feeling, sensing, and acting). These defenses disrupt the flow of our pulsating energy and disrupt our essential state of relaxation, joy, full aliveness, and connectedness.”
Karen Horney in Our Inner Conflicts – A CONSTRUCTIVE THEORY OF NEUROSIS – W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York 1945
“Compulsive drives are specifically neurotic; they are born of feelings of isolation, helplessness, fear and hostility, and represent ways of coping with the world despite these feelings; they aim primarily not at satisfaction but at safety; their compulsive character is due to the anxiety lurking behind them. Two of these drives—neurotic cravings for affection and for power—stood out at first in clear relief and were presented in detail in The Neurotic Personality.”
The four horseman of the apocalypse – same idea, there are coping strategies that lead to disaster:
“Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling.”
In Psychodrama role theory covers all of the above – we identify the coping gestalt of roles. Roles are a full description of functioning in the moment and incorporates thought feeling and action.
I’m reflection on “essence”. If we get the coping out of the way will “who they are in essence” just come to the fore. Or does spontaneity require learning, just as coping does?
Is encounter and spontaneity something that requires training?
Later: Sunday, 25 November 2018
It requires connection. Someone there. Therapists can usually be there – and are the backstop. Couple therapy is to train the other person to be there – to surrender to the auxiliary ego.