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.

 

 

Small Graces: Mapping a Route of Beauty to the Heart of the World

Small Graces

Small Graces:

Mapping a Route of Beauty to the Heart of the World

by Jason Sugg

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute
14 February 2012

Has a whole section on Participation Mystique and I-Thou.

Well researched.

Below is an enticing quote. The reason I’m attracted to this work is that I think that the very relationships we are discussing here, participatory, with the ego dropped, with heightened awareness of self and other, are also the relationships that are needed between therapist and client, and not as well grasped: they are vital to knowing. We can’t know others at this level of consciousness without participating in it ourselves. Continue reading

History of the Relational Paradigm

It occurred to me that before Imago therapists came up with the idea of the relationship paradigm there were earlier attempts at the formulation.

I’ve mentioned Moreno and ‘tele’, Martin Buber and I-Thou today it occurred to me that Jung also had a concept for something similar: participation mystique. [Turns out I’ve written on this earlier in this post.]

Sure enough, I’m not the first to notice this.

Bridge to Unity – By MD Wilford W. Spradlin, Susan Renee Amazon

The connection between I-Thou and participation mystique is mentioned at least twice in this novel. I’ve also found thesis and other comments I’ll add in later posts.

Page 60:

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Page 96:

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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.

Moreno, Buber, Hendrix

In a recent post I quote the story of how the idea of Encounter found its way from Moreno to Martin Buber. A passage follows by Harville Hendrix where he describes the roots of his idea of Validation in the dialogue process… Martin Buber.

It is no wonder then that with this sort of whakapapa, having trained in both Imago & Psychodrama that I see such connection in the approaches.

A passage from Harville Hendrix “The Evolution of Imago Relationship Therapy” in Imago Relationship Therapy: Perspectives on Theory Follows, showing how he connected with the work of Buber.

Continue reading