Varieties of Encounter

Facilitating interaction was the dictum I used for the first couple therapy I did. I recall, as an untrained social worker in a hospital being asked to work with a couple who had difficulties. The night before I read a gestalt based book on couple therapy and facilitate interaction was the central practical guide I took away. I could have done worse.

I have written on dialogue and encounter in the AANZPA Journal more recently: The Imago Affair. Let me quote a relevant chunck from that paper as I wish to further reflect on encounter.

Encounter

At their heart, both Moreno’s and Hendrix’s work go beyond technique and are an invitation to a profound experience. The aim of a dialogue is not a specific outcome, nor is it reliant on one method. Here is the section of Moreno’s well known poem that encapsulates the idea of encounter.

A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face.
And when you are near I will tear your eyes out
and place them instead of mine,
and you will tear my eyes out
and will place them instead of yours,
then I will look at you with your eyes
and you will look at me with mine.
Moreno

Harville Hendrix introduced the validation step into the Imago structure with an eye to facilitating just such an experience. It is often taught as understanding or making sense. The lead-in line goes like this: “You make sense. And one thing that makes sense is…” The listener is invited to cross a bridge into the world of the other, and to see what they see, and feel what they feel in that world. Note the similarity to Moreno in Hendrix’s idea.

Buber clarified for me that a “Thou” relationship with others required honouring their “otherness” as an “I” distinct from me and any concepts I might have of them. This required a willingness to look at the world of another through his or her eyes.
Hendrix

Linger on the moments of connection described here:

I will look at you with your eyes (Moreno)

look at the world of another through his or her eyes (Hendrix)

Are they the same?

Both Imago and in the work of Moreno there is the idea of a special meeting. Not just any meeting, but something profound, where you become the other…

How to facilitate, or operationalise encounter is different in the psychodramatic sphere than in the I Imago sphere. They use different contexts for their techniques as well, psychodrama: the stage. Imago: the couple in dialogue and Hedy Schleifer has a variation:  Host / Visitor to the other’s world.

There are techniques/concepts in these modalities that are sometimes akin, but differently nuanced, and sometimes unique to the method. There are other modalities and have techniques for interaction, of importance is the variation of Imago developed by Hedy Schleifer and her husband, and the work of Dan Wile.

My friend and colleague Dan Randow and I are working on describing the varieties of techniques for encounter. Here is a beginning.

Here is a list of techniques/concepts:

Doubling: in Psychodrama

Mirroring — Psychodrama

Role reversal — Psychodrama

Doubling in Imago:  Related to the use of lead-lines

Doubling in Dan Wile’s CRT

Mirroring in Imago

Validating,  Imago

Empathy as used in Imago

Dialogue (Imago)

Host, Visitor (Hedy Schleifer)

 

Notes:

How does role reversal relate to encounter? In role reversal and in doubling you become the other to the best of your ability. You take the physical position of the other, quite literally in role reversal and by being alongside and slightly behind the other when doubling.

Is it useful to distinguish the inter-psyche from the intra-psyche; what goes on in our subjective world and what goes on between us?  Maybe sometimes, all these encounter processes aim at improving the relationship and healing and growth of the individuals at the same time.

 

 

Related Posts:

Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing

I recall being advised by my then supervisor, about 30 years ago, to look around for a psychotherapy modality that grabbed me and then to learn it thoroughly and not become prematurely eclectic. I followed that advice. Psychodrama was that modality for me and I am steeped in its traditions and have practiced it for decades and hope to do that for a few more.

However I have more than a passing familiarity with a some other fields of practice, I have a grasp of Archetypal Psychology and I am qualified in Imago Relationship Therapy. I have grappled with my multiple perspectives, and have written a paper about my tension with Imago for the AANZPA Psychodrama Journal: The Imago Affair. I’ve been thinking about this more of late.

Continue reading

Related Posts:

Harville Hendrix Audio

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

Note from: http://gettingtheloveyouwant.com/thinktank

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

Related Posts:

Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele

Still thinking about the interpsyche – and found this passage from Zerka Moreno in the Psychodrama Network News from the American Society of group Psychotherapy and psychodrama 2005 I now see the difference between empathy and doubling. Doubling in its conception includes the relationship, it is not the intuition of the therapist directly but the voice of the interpsyche – the relationship between two people.

But there is another, more important, aspect of McGaw’s presentation. When he speaks about how his doubling with a protagonist is so often correct, he interprets this as due to his intuitive ability. When pressed by Rogers to explain it more specifically while speaking of his own power in that respect, he refers to it as his “empathy.” Unfortunately, he overlooks the contribution to the process by the protagonist, as if it all comes out of the therapist’s psyche, that of a single mind. By unfortunate I mean that this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work. This observation, more than anything else McGaw speaks of, tells me he has not really grasped Moreno’s message. It is our emphasis on the moment, the here and now, the spontaneity of the protagonist, the interaction of minds, that distinguishes our own field from that of individual psychology, a lesson we must never overlook.

Zerka Moreno makes it so clear psychodrama is a relational not an individual method.

Recently while teaching doubling it was clear the person was trying to think what the other person was thinking. Close, but not quite it. I said… let yourself be him, become him, breathe like him, sit like him, look at the world through his eyes and then voice what comes up, you won’t be guessing, you don’t have a choice about what comes up.

The doubling was then noticeably different even though not always exactly right.

__________________________________________________

Later: Saturday, 6 October, 2012

I’m now (post the Dan Wile workshop) thinking the phrase above, “you don’t have a choice about what comes up” is right, but not enough.

Many things will come up and it is useful to choose to voice those things that are progressive for the protagonist, such things as empathy for another person, declaring an inner struggle, claiming the validity of experience.

Judgement of others, blaming and self righteous anger may also come up. They could be ignored, but if they feature strongly they could be moderated with such phrases as: I know this is might not be easy for you to hear. I wish I had a way of expressing this more constructively. I have been sitting on this for a long time and my intention is to bring it out to improve the relationship.

Later: Sunday, 29 November 2015

…this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work.

This makes it so clear that Moreno had the relational paradigm, he did not call it that and he often slips into thinking of individuals, yet he is so instrumental in this as an influence on Buber and then Harville Hendrix and Hedy Schleifer.

Related Posts:

Harville Hendrix workshop

More reports and reflections on the Harville Hendrix workshop for Imago practitioners in Auckland on 20 March 2011. Most of what he said was not new to me, and what I will note here is mostly what I heard him say. What was unexpected was the power of his ability to do, be in the moment with us what he was talking about. Present, connected, empathic, and making eye contact in such a way that if let at times he was talking just to me, in fact he was, totally there with me in those moments.

The Importance of Theory.
The theory allows the practitioner to know what to do beyond the application of techniques. H also mentioned the importance of research. Brian mentioned there was a swag of research quoted in Wikipedia Imago entry.

Relational Paradigm
The main theory he presented for most of the day was the relational paradigm. Summed up thus: being as relationship. Thus placing this as a shift in consciousness going beyond the philosophers of being such as Heidegger and Sartre and also Ken Wilbur, who has a heirachy of consciousness that is about individual beings.

“Being as relation, that is a revolution in thinking.”

Did Harville say Ken was stuck in the past? I think that he is as this relational thinking is deep and profound, and changes everything. This became really evident to me later in the day as H spoke about self. Self is a negative or remainder once all projection and judgment is withdrawn.

Relationship is a spiritual practice one can do any time when there is another.

“Empathy without judgment is my spiritual practice. Everyone offers you an opportunity.”

See the other as Thou

Observer Effect
H referred to quantum physics. I heard a new angle on this, not just that the observer changes that which is observed, but that the thinking the observer brings to the observed, the intention and attitude will change the situation. What power we have, for good or ill!

The medical model is challenged with this understanding. If we see people as sick, then they can’t get well. It might work with physical illness but not in the psychological world.

“It is important how we see people who come to see us.”

Empathy
How to be with people, we can’t be other than how we are. The essence of being in relationship is to be in empathy.

“Empathy is felt connection.”

When a group member suggested that Maori were a people who were in a connected state H noted that this was an earlier level of connection, more like fusion of the tribe. The empathy he spoke of was connection from a differentiated self.

“Move from the imagined connection to the felt connection and there is participation in that. Getting otherness is terrifying, you have to surrender. To abandon the world you have imagined is terrifying.”

The other person “experiences you experiencing them”. Or even further … They then experience you experiencing them experiencing you… the empathic stance:

“I’m experiencing you experiencing me having my experience. ”

Why people come to us…

“Something has punctured their ability to be connected. They are scared. Some are really scared.”

Thus we make a safe place and there is a transference to the space. ‘This is the place we feel safe, you won’t let us fight.’

“How we hold them in our mind is how they respond to us.”

“We can hold them if we are not anxious”

You can’t connect with a person you are merged with. Differentiation is a sort of birth for each. The self emerges not by saying “I am me!” It is by releasing the other, tolerating the differentiated other. Imago is a process of giving birth to the other person. I’m the mother of their birth. and this is where my birth happens as I am the remainder, what is left as I surrender.

How to be non-judgmental with violence. (( missed a lot of this discussion))
Thou.

“You are as dangerous to them as they are to you.”

“You are the co-creator of the transaction.”

Vicarious introspection

I understood this as seeing through the violence to the wounded child and reflecting that back to the person. I think of doubling as we use it in psychodrama.

The talking cure is the listening cure.

Book: Biology of Belief, Spontaneous Evolution (Bruce Lipton) – culture is the petrie dish of the cell.

Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future (and a Way to Get There from Here) – Kindle edition by Bruce Lipton. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks

“all negativity causes chaos”

I am nudging, nudge nudge, nudge. It is facilitation not therapy.

Phrases Harville used in a dialogue:

Make eye contact. Feel your eyeballs and relax so your pup is will increase in size and that will relax her. Deepen your pupils by taking a deep breath.

Breathe together, set up a resonance.

Look when that happens you see a glow on her face.

Stay with the terror till it passes.

Lead lines

Am I getting a good sense of that now?

When I feel this frustration in the future I’ll …

… and the gift to our relationship is that …

Reference

Lipton, Bruce (2009), Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future (and a Way to Get There from Here) – Kindle edition. Hay House. Amazon

Related Posts:

Harville Hendrix 3 questions

I just read Maya’s three questions she asks before commencing relationship therapy.

How do they compare with Harville Hendrix’s ones we just heard in the Auckland workshop?

1. What do you want in this relationship when you finish with me?

2. What have you done to prevent this from happening? (You, not the other partner)

3. What has to be taken out? What has to be put in? What will you take out, put in?

If you have the power to make it this bad, you have the power to make it good.

This couple could be creative and take self responsibility”

Just compared them and you can see who taught her!!

Maya’s three questions : http://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2009/three-relationship-questions/

Related Posts: