My review of James Hillman biography – Goodreads

Archetypal Psychology (Uniform Edition of the Writings of James Hillman)Archetypal Psychology by James Hillman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved the book, learned so much. Finished up disliking him more. Never liked him, always awed by his genius, and impacted. His attitude to his affair and his relationship with women is not just of its time – it is callous and a-psychological, out of touch and this is so disappointing. It shows a flaw in his professional as well as personal life, not one that I can forgive. I sort of knew this but here it is laid out – blatant. Even though the author seems to be sympathetic, colludes.

So I rate the book 5 for illumination and remove stars for an ultimate disdain for the character.

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Language in couple therapy.

I am highly conscious of the language in couple therapy I do at the moment. I used to use the Imago language in couple therapy for many years. I was resistant to the rather ugly “sender and receiver” words.  Though not as accurate for what was actually happening I preferred talker and listener in the last few years.  However after listening to audios by Hedy Schleifer I’ve shifted to the “crossing the bridge” language of “visitor and host”.  As one client told me, that is a bit fruity, whatever that means.  

The thing is that is not just a change in language, but a whole different mode of being. Sending is a metaphor for posting something into space and it is then received like an email. This is not a metaphor that is very connecting. It also leaves the receiver wanting to respond… it invites reply.  Responding is close to reactivity, and replies are close to argument and debate.  

Host and visitor are quite different.  Each person is having a turn at the same time, one as visitor, on a trip to another land, as a learner, a witness as an explorer a learner.  The other as a host, a presenter, a storyteller.  with this metaphor for the work there is not the same need to coach appreciations… I just say, be a good host and be a good visitor, and immediately they say such things as “Thanks for inviting me into your world, I appreciate you taking the initiative, I know it might not be easy for you.”

In the visit I use the exact mirroring , summary, validation and empathy structures.

In every culture there is some protocol and ritual for crossing the bridge into another persons territory or space.  The protocols for visiting a neighbour apply.  The leave taking can be quite lovely.  I’ve heard people say.”Thank you for having me.”  or more fully, such things as: “Thank you for inviting me, I appreciate you showing me how things work in your land. I will be much more aware how not to stomp on those areas that are so sore.  I enjoyed meeting your little child and seeing how burdened your mother was while she had three under four.”

The language and the change facilitates dramatic enactment.  Show me your world is an action cue for sculptures and role reversals with the social and cultural atom.  

With maori clients and some other kiwis as well I have used some of the concepts from a meeting on a marae. The visitors are: manuhiri and the hosts the, the people of the land, the tangata whenua.

The depth of meaning of the pōwhiri or welcome could well be used to make the crossing into each others worlds more meaningful. For example the concept of Pōwhiri – the Māori welcome carries with it all the richness of the english word dialogue and more: “… po can be translated as a venture into ‘the unknown’ or a new experience, while whiri is derived from whiriwhiri meaning the act or experience of exchanging information and knowledge.

Pōwhiri – the Māori welcome

 

 

Evolution of consciousness

The book by Kevin Kelly “What does technology want continues stimulate my thinking.

He is eloquent on the evolution of tech. To make his case he draws on parallels in biological evolution. He comes up with principle after principle that are deep insights into any change process. He reminds me constantly of Frederick Engles and on the dialectics of nature. There are principles of change that go beyond one sphere.

Today it is this S curve that grabbed me.

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You would need to read the chapter to fully get it, but take the example of rail road air as the three levels of technology that work together to ensure that transport increased at a constant level, of say miles, speed and lower costs.

What I do is relate this to the evolution of psychotherapy. Or lets call it conscious intimate relationships. A mere 40 years ago there were about 10 therapists/counsellors in Christchurch, now it is more like 400. What is that curve about? The psyche is on the move!

I imagine the three technologies are:

Analytical psych
Humanistic Psych
And now still in the lower reaches of its s curve, relationship psych

Why are psychological methods known by their founders?

Freud, Moreno, Jung… methods are known by their founders.

This is because they are working in the realm of relationships. They are included in the science.

They are not working with things.

Marx is the same.

There is no objective thing they are working with.

In so far as we are part of such a modality we are part of a community around that person.

The Buddhists have lineage, so do psychologists but we don’t acknowledge that so easily.

It would be better to acknowledge our whakapapa in the psychological realms of our work in a more conscious way.

The Heidegger-Buber Controversy: The Status of the I-Thou

The Heidegger-Buber Controversy: The Status of the I-Thou (Contributions in Philosophy) [Hardcover]
Haim Gordon (Author)

Amazon

This book is $96 in kindle!

I’m curious.

Perhaps in line with my hypothesis that Moreno has a solution to the problem posed by I-Thou for knowing and research.

I’ve got the kindle sample.

From the blurb:

The I-Thou controversy between these two thinkers is a significant but often overlooked issue in philosophy and theology. In one of the first books to truly address the subject, Haim Gordon explores the arguments of both Martin Heidegger and Martin Buber regarding the The I-Thou relationship and its significance for human existence. Gordon’s work illuminates Heidegger’s complex and enlightening ontology–one that describes the everyday life of the human in such a way that there is no place for the I-Thou relationship. Buber, on the other hand, argues for the significance of the I-Thou relationship within human existence, and highlights the ways in which Heidegger’s philosophy fails to grasp this important point. After examining the fundamental ontology of Heidegger, set beside the ontological insights of Buber concerning this relationship, Gordon concludes that each of these important twentieth-century philosophers was guilty of ignoring the contributions made by the other to the study of ontology and being.

By exploring the complicated dynamic between Heidegger and Buber, Gordon presents the reader with valuable insights and a deeper understanding of human existence and relationships. The implications of both this controversy and its resolution are far reaching for many other philosophical disciplines, including social and political philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics.

Coevolution, invention, creation of the psyche – the relational paradigm

There is a flow in the evolution process.

Grass had to exist before grazing animals could evolve, they in turn had to precede carnivores.

These examples perhaps are best expressed in the principle of the “next adjacent possible”.

A brief digression: I recently ran across a novel way to think about this question. In evolutionary theory, there’s a concept called the “adjacent possible,” coined by scientist Stuart Kauffman.

From this blog.

The “adjacent possible” refers to the change that’s available to you — i.e. adjacent, next door – versus the change that’s not.

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From Stuart A. Kauffman — Reinventing The Sacred Amazon

The process is holistically connected to the mutual adaptations in each species. Grasses develop ways to survive grazing. Herbivores evolve capacity to run, and carnivores develop sharper teeth and claws.

This idea is sometimes captured with the phrase co-evolution (Wikipedia):

In biology, coevolution is “the change of a biological object triggered by the change of a related object.”[1] Coevolution can occur at many biological levels: it can be as microscopic as correlated mutations between amino acids in a protein, or as macroscopic as covarying traits between different species in an environment. Each party in a coevolutionary relationship exerts selective pressures on the other, thereby affecting each other’s evolution.

Earlier postexaptation, a related concept.

I’m imagining this whole process as envisage the world of the psyche. The changing nature of how we relate to our being. Everything from collective rituals, art, monks meditating in a cave, group therapy, psychoanalysis, conjoint family week and couple therapy.

The investigations above, summed up as:

  • Adjacent possible
  • Coevolution
  • Exaptation

Imagine how these apply to the coevolution/invention/creation of the psyche.

(Why I say evolution/invention/creation is evident from this post about psyche this post about the nature of the psyche, about how it is not a thing, yet not nothing either, is relevant.)

Freud was before Jung. The idea of an unconscious and a method of working with it that was possible in the world was available to Freud as a medical clinician.

Moreno was in part a reaction to Freud. Group therapy and conjoint therapy was possible.

Moreno and Buber had found or invented an idea about the nature of the person being in the relationship.

Hendrix is pioneering the ice that being is relationship.

The relational paradigm is the now a niche that has opened, a shift in the culture and new ways of attending the the psyche are possible.

Moreno’s idea that this could well transform science is also on the cards as an I-Thou relationship with things is also possible according to Buber.

Sue johnson and Emotionally Focussed Therapy

This video is worth watching.

I’m particularly interested in how she names the couple dynamics, the dance that people have. I like the way that couples devise their own name for them.

In this way couples can create dialogues they think will particularly address the dance.

Here is her book on Amazon

Enlarge on your response.

Small phrases in the form of lead lines or instructions are essential tools in counselling and therapy. It is astounding the difference wording can make. In this post I reflect on an instruction to the person who is responding in a dialogue.

Enlarge on your response.

I like this instruction. I typically use this in couple therapy when one partner says something like, ‘I like listening to what you said.’ I could use a lead line such as, ‘One thing I liked about it…’ or ‘When you talked about my parenting I felt…’, sometimes that is fine. However the instruction, ‘Enlarge on your response.’ is more open ended. They might say, ‘When you say you learn a lot from the way I parent our children my heart leaps with joy.’ Anything is possible with the idea of enlargement.

It is a challenging instruction, and if I think the person is not able to meet the challenge of the instruction I will guide them with a lead line that prompts them to give something more.