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.

~~~

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?

The American President – (Movie)

The Hero’s Journey Podcast‘s next effort will be The American President. I’ll watch it and make notes here, hopefully *before* they do the podcast. Watch this space.

This is the guide I use while watching:

Wednesday, 28 February, 2018

I’ve seen the movie and I’ve made some notes. I’m a bit sloppy as I did not like the movie that much.

Ordinary World

Day to day in th Presidents world – his life. His colleagues. The lobbyists. His daughter, dutiful dad.

Then there is a bit of a build up to election stuff – but that is ordiary for the President.

There is a call for the president to do the right environmental thing… he sort of refuses.

Then the soppsed “pitbull” comes on the scene Sydney Ellen Wade. The is on for an adventure and a fight for the environment.

But these are not the calls.

The call to Adventure

The call is that they fall in love. Well Pres. Shepherd falls in love and there is no refusal in sight… For a while. He pursues with gusto.. And she accepts his calls – litterally and as a hero. Both have ftiends alleies and enamies.

Love is the special world and they fall over the threshhold despite the threshold guardians each have. Is the dancing the moment they are truly in? Or the kiss?. Earlier really as the first whif of romance is in the air. So much for the pitbull.

Refusals

Then there is his refusal – he opts for the crime bill and not the environment. This cop out is also one where he refuses love. And his refusal here is matched by hers. “You have lost more than me, you have lost my vote.”

Seizing the Sword

But then in a speech to the world he accepts the call – the environment, even if he might not win her back. But she flies back faster than a speeding bullet. the adventure has gone on for a while so this might be more the seising of the sword.

He finally gets her roses and the elixer is true love prevails

And a big nod to liberal values.

Relationships, Romance and who is the protagonist?

I think they are both heroes, or maybe love is the protagonist. The trouble is that he is the main hero… He has all the power, it is a patriachal story. How might this have played out if it was not partiarchal? The relationship being the protagonist and each of them having a hero’s journey fully matched? It would be nice to speculate. Could it even be a romantic commedy then? I hope a much better one.

Are there any such dramas?

Reflecting on this it is clear that there are three elements in any relationship – each of the lovers, and the relationship. Each has a full life, i.e. the dramatic circle of the hero’s journey. Relationships are not 50/50. They are produced many 100% moments. How well can that be portrayed?

This question of how to put a relationship on the stage is a burning question for me!

Relational paradigm – Bruce and Francine

I think they nail it here:

“Imago shifts the focus from the self to the relationship and posits “relationship” as fundamental reality of which individuals are derivatives. To embody this paradigm shift, partners must shift their focus from their own need gratification to the needs of the relationship. The paradoxical outcome of that counter-intuitive shift is that such a sacrifice will insure the satisfaction of their needs in a way that was not possible when the focus was on the self. When the couple becomes partners rather than opponents in the project of creating and enacting their dream relationship, they create a thriving relationship. This perspective rests on the assumption that human beings are intrinsically relational, that the human problem is relational rupture, that all emotional symptoms are expressions of relational anxiety and that relational repair is the only and sufficient path to human well being.”

Beauvoir, Francine; Crapuchettes, Bruce. Getting Back The Love We Had: Forty-Two Answers To Real Questions From Couples Who Feared They Were Losing Their Way (pp. 4-5). Kindle Edition.

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

The Fuse Box

I want to get this book.

The Fuse Box: Essays on Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters – Victoria University Press

I heard about it in this excellent podcast: Kim Hill interviews Emily PerkinsEmily Perkins – Ibsen and The Fuse Box

Thought it might be fun to offer the protagonists in The Dolls House couple therapy.

Later Monday, 23 April, 2018 

I’ve read nearly every item in the book and liked them a lot.  One thing that struck me was how much creative writing talk relates to psychodrama directing.  I’d recommend any director of drama to read the book.  Probably would work for painters or musicians as well.

Their filthy heart

“The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws.  That’s just the way it is.  This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last.  You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake.  Love is something different.  Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart.  Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate.  Love is hard.  Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”

 

This is an internet thing, everyone quotes it.  Attributed to The Great Kamryn whoever she is.  Famous it seems for this one quote.  Or is there more to it?  Maybe in some library of physical docs?

Anyway, I like it.