What is the universe up to?

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 in the group, not 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 that need to get out of the way. CC is a term from the Canon of creativity

An earlier post is grappling 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.

We just need to get out of the way.

Both psychodrama and Imago have the philosophy that the therapist is the catalyst, simply providing a few tools, like dialogue, or the 5 instruments so the eros can emerge.

Dialectical materialism is similar. There is a striving in the world call it God if you are so inclined or as Marx & Engles did – call it nature. Things turn into their opposites. Slavery was the means of creating the time for some to create civilisation. Then slavery becomes the antithesis of civilisation.

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 procede towards the omega point in some other way. The univese does not care, but it wont stop its evolution, its development, its progress. Thes words are telelogical.

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 wo 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 erso 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 Survival Dance that gets in the way of the Encounter

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.”

Gottman. https://cdn.gottman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/The-Four-Horsemen.pdf

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 getalt of roles. Roles are a full description of functioning in the moment and incorporates thought feeling and action.

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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?

Astonishing matrimonial psychodramas

The concept of medial understanding was the forerunner of what I call today co-conscious and co-unconscious states. Such a technique of reciprocal comprehension and “interpersonal memory” seemed to make possible astonishing matrimonial psychodramas, husband and wife reaching back into their first encounter and reliving, often with astonishing detail, all their moments of love and suffering, their silent tragedies and their moments of great decision
(Moreno, 1923).

Just how to produce such dramas remains somewhat obscure to me. Will experiment – and research!

The quote above is from this article by JL “Interpersonal Therapy and Co-Unconscious States, A Progress Report in Psychodramatic Theory” originally from: Group Psychotherapy, 14 (3-4), 234-241 (Sept-Dec., 1961) See PDF below.

PDF

Marriage and family therapy – Inter-psyche

Here is a quote from Moreno that has major implications for how we conduct psychodrama in groups or with individuals when they want to work on significant relationships and the other party is not present.

And the other question that flows on from this piece of wisdom from JL is how to do “re-enactment a deux”.  The phrase ‘psychodrama a deux’ when I have heard it come up has referred to doing psychodramatic psychotherapy with an individual.  This is different.  Couple therapy using psychodramatic processes is something that some of us have well developed.  What about working with a couple when both are present in a psychodrama group?

I have been exploring that question in practice.

What about when someone does a drama involving an intimate other who is not there?

What if a couple are in crisis? Do we recommend they attend a psychodrama group?

These are questions I will be addressing in a workshop at the AANZPA  conference in Brisbane in January. ‘Addressing’ here means exploring in action with colleagues.

 

Marriage and family therapy for instance, has to be so conducted that the “interpsyche” of the entire group is re-enacted so that all their tele-relations, their co-conscious and co-unconscious states are brought to life. Co-conscious and co-unconscious states are by definition such states which the partners have experienced and produced jointly and which can therefore be only jointly reproduced or re-enacted. A co-conscious or a co-unconscious state can not be the property of one individual only. It is always a common property and cannot be reproduced but by a combined effort. If a re-enactment of such co-conscious or co-unconscious state is desired or necessary, that re-enactment has to take place with the help of all partners involved in the episode. The logical method of such re-enactment a deux is psychodrama. However great a genius of perception one partner of the ensemble might have, he or she can not produce that episode alone because they have in common their co-conscious and co-unconscious states which are the matrix from which they drew their inspiration and knowledge.

Psychodrama Volume 1, 4th edition, page vii

Later — Friday, 22 December, 2017

Just noticed this quote fro Marshall Rosenberg:

 

It may be most difficult to empathize with those we are closest to.

Moreno was not alone in noticing this phenomena

Who we are

This is my summary of what Moreno means by the social atom.  In psychotherapy that “atom” or pattern is the client.  When two of these “patterns” connect in love, then a lifelong process can follow. Maybe it is true love at first sight? Unlikely, love is blind. One possibility is to move from blind love to deep mature connection.  The other possibility is hell. A third is lifeless boredom.

Continue reading “Who we are”

What is Psychodrama?

Psychodrama is a form of therapy.  Jacob Levi Moreno founded the the early forms of the philosophy and practice in Vienna early in the last century. On page one of his seminal book: “Who Shall Survive?” he wrote about a therapeutic procedure.

Clearly a therapeutic procedure that has as its objective the whole of humankind stands out as a special case of psychotherapy.  Psychodrama is a special case…
Continue reading “What is Psychodrama?”

Psychodrama Workshops 2018

I’m delighted to have plans and dates for a bunch of psychodrama events next year.  I hope you will find something of interest!

Psychodrama Weekends with Walter Logeman – Christchurch

Fri, 13 – Sun, 15 April
Fri, 31 August – Sun, 2 September

Experience psychodrama for your personal development!

Download flyer and enrolment details

 

Writing Retreat Mt Lyford – for Psychodrama Trainees

Fri, 25 – Sun 27 May

Writing is an essential part of psychodrama training.

Download flyer     Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018c

 

Working With Couples – Professional Development – Christchurch

Christchurch Fri, 6 – Sun, 8 July 2018

This workshop will enrich your work with couples.  Also a good way to get started.

Download Flyer    Enrol: http://psychodrama.org.nz/citp-2018e

Psychodrama Weekend with Walter Logeman

Just announced a Psychodrama Weekend.  I have conducted many psychodrama weekends and I’m pleased to have warmed up to something new for this one.

As I become more steeped in the relational paradigm everything becomes more relational. While not a workshop specifically for couples this one is “couple friendly”.  I’m conscious how important this is, not just in the flyer but in the actual way I will conduct the group. The relationship is the “third entity”. The relationship can be the protagonist.  And if one partner is the protagonist then there is a specific focus on the other partner as auxiliary.
A small change? Not really.  This is a small expression of a major phenomenon. “Personal Development” is the word we use for these types of workshops. Moreno may never have called them that, he used the word encounter and was always focussing on the relationships more than “the self”.
Any relationship could be the protagonist. Is that what love stories are?  Movies about a couple?  Maybe.  Maybe it is not such a new genre? Love relationships are not any relationship though and there is a qualitative difference between an intimate loving committed relationship and all the rest.  Parent child is another form of relationship that stands out as quite distinct.
As a psychodrama director I am learning new skills.  How to direct a relational drama, where both people are present as themselves.  That is an exploration that I’m right into at the moment.
On NZAP here.
On Meetup here.

Pace Layer Thinking : Theory of Change

Pace Layers Thinking: Paul Saffo and Stewart Brand @ The Interval — January 27, 02015

Wonderful podcast. Great exposition of an idea that came through looking at houses and then could be generalised.

The thinking applies to design as well as social change.

The image gives the idea:

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I think of other theories of change:

Needs more explaining but has broad application W = warm-up

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And then there is Dialectics. Not to be dismissed. Hegelian and then Marxist.