John Gottman – Science of Trust


Amazon Kindle Edition

Enjoying this book because it is packed with little gems, and because I’m devouring anything to do with relationships as I translate it all into psychodrama language and enrich my psychodramatic approach to couples.

Some snippets follow, managing to cut and paste them via sharing with Twitter – I hate that I can’t cut and past from Kindle.

Continue reading “John Gottman – Science of Trust”

Harville Hendrix Audio

Click to play & download Harville Hendrix Helen Hunt Freud to Buddha

Note from:

The Challenge of Creating Change: Freud and the Budda in Dialogue with Imago
Join Harville Hendrix for a preview of the keynote presentation at the 8th Annual Conference

I listened to it and found it quite wonderful.

Harville places connectedness as a form of consciousness akin to or surpassing enlightenment. That is quite something. It makes sense to me as there is a resonance through the cosomos, things connect.

Spotted another Harville Hendrix one there on Behaviour Change:

Click to play & download Harville Hendrix on BCR


Mirroring is a word used in both the Psychodrama and Imago modalities. In a classic psychodrama the protagonist returns to the audience and is companioned by the conductor of the drama, who instructs the auxiliary egos to re-enact the scene. This can be done for a variety of reasons. One is to reveal to the protagonist how their actions look from another perspective. Another reason might be at the end of a drama or role training session for the protagonist to see the new development in their being. The mirroring in the Imago sense shares these purposes though the form different.

I’m finding it helpful to think of two mirror positions.

1. Face to face

2. Spectator

Here is a quote from Moreno highlighting the spectator mode.

The technique of the mirror ‘portrays’ the body image and the unconscious of A at a distance from him so that he can see himself. The portrayal is done by an auxiliary ego, who has made a close study of A. … In the mirror technique the protagonist is a spectator, an onlooker, he looks at the psychological mirror and sees himself. Fig 4(Moreno, J.L., 1959, p. 53).

Here is an example from Peter Kellerman:

“.. Bob presented a scene in which he quarreled with his wife. He stated his case and argued that she did not pay enough attention to him and neglected his needs. A woman in the role of his wife presented the other side of the story, throwing fuel on the already overheated marital conflict. And so it went on in what seemed to be an endless battle of words and accusations. The director used the mirror technique in an effort to break the deadock. He asked Bob to step out of the scene and watch it all from the outside (as if in a mirror), with another man playing the role of himself.

Watching the fight as a spectator, Bob listened carefully to both partners. ” Page 92

Peter Kellerman also gives an example of mirror that is face to face.

A group member to another: When I meet you, I feel enriched. Because you look at me from another perspective. Page 92

The purpose of mirroring

I can see two broad, slightly different purposes of mirroring.

1. Revelation

2. Validation

The first is so the person can see themselves either from a new perspective or how others see them. The second is to assist the person to have a sense of being seen and understood,and having value.

Both types have an existential quality, the person will get a sense they exist.

Mirroring becomes a very broad category we think of the whole field. As the term is used in all these ways within psychodrama and in other modalities I think it is useful to be able to distinguish the various processes that are called mirroring. Most examples of mirroring would fit into one of the following four combinations of form and purpose.

  Face to face Spectator


When does the interpsyche kick in?

Who can explain it?
Who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons,
Wise men never try.

I’ll be foolish enough to try. In group work the underlying dynamics do not take long to surface, and they can even be predicted, for example if a new person joins we can expect inclusion/exclusion dynamics. The interpsyche is co-created yet has a life of its own that the participants don’t have a lot os say in, the members participate but they bring their history with them, their baggage, their culture and there specific family cultures & dynamics.

When does the interpsyche kick in? It does not take much!

Interpsyches are complex varied and each different from the other. If it were a landscape how would it look?

How does this relate to the social and cultural atom?

You can see some of my cultural bagage below:

Continue reading “Entangled”

Fully alive without withdrawing or fusing

A dialogue is a lot like a therapeutic relationship. Perhaps it is ok that a marriage is therapeutic, but there is something strange about having your partner as a therapist. The Imago method has also been criticized for creating dependency. “People are responsible for themselves, for their own healing.” A common idea in our western culture.

The questioning I’m doing above is interesting as it leads me to see clearly that it is based on flawed thinking that is prevalent.

The relationship though healing and nurturing is nothing like counselling or therapy. One reason is that each party does all the relational tasks, there is no functional difference. Another is that the main thing a couple do is live life together, the working on the relationship is a small part of that.

The more troublesome flaw is the one about individual responsibility. It sounds good but it does not make sense. People need other people. Need. Typically to become fully individual, differentiated people enter therapeutic relationships to do that!

The sort of couple work I do with people has as its aim to be fully present and authentic, “differentiated”, fully alive without withdrawing or fusing. Without fight or flight or freezing. Interdependent collaborative work. It can take quite a bit of living to get there! Perhaps when you can do that it is enlightenment.

The Stage as Alchemical Crucible

Looking for ideas on this notion I came across posts from Don Reekie. Not exactly a crucible but a space that is more than a physical construction. A space for truth.

What happens when we step out of ordinary reality onto the psychodrama stage is that the metaxy comes alive, the medial world lives, the soul can live.

This happens as many principles come into play. One is containment. Restraint. The container of the stage is like the alchemical crucible. It must not break. For the work to be done the vessel must hold even when it boils and shakes.

It is a therapeutic relationship, a marriage, a church. Temenos.

This is on my mind as I think of a dialogue as a way of creating a crucible for truth about what is usually invisible… matters of mind and imagination. Dialogue goes beyond a good conversation.

Validating Mirror and Evaluative Mirror

I have been reflecting on a while on what appears to be different uses of the term “mirroring’ in various psychotherapeutic modalities. It was useful to come across Peter Felix Kellermann’s distinction between two types of mirroring.

Validating Mirror

“When I look, iam seen so I exist.” – Winnicott

Evaluative Mirror

Learning to see how others see you

Kellermann, Peter Felix 2007, Lets Face it, Mirroring in Psychodrama in Psychodrama Advances in Theory and Practice. Baim, Burmeister and Maciel, Routlidge