Intention as Crucible

I was stimulated today by three thoughts coming together.

I’ve been keen on the Alexander Technique in the last few days. Sore back, and also watching my son josh with a crippling sore back has led to a renewed interest in this approach. I’d read the book by F Matthias Alexander (Wikipedia) in the early ’80s. It got me to walk without a limp after an accident.

The aspect of the philosophy on my mind today was what they call “end-gaining” ie focusing on the goal or outcome rather than the process. Yet the method certainly has goals; reduction of pain, better performance, less stress, productivity. Like much of the method, it’s a bit paradoxical. The couple work I do with clients involves slow conscious dialogue: I say slow is fast. It is a bit similar. I use the phrase “goal shadow” to describe the negatives of being too outcome focused.

This was on my mind when I heard the phrase “holding the intention” in relationship to art. That puts the same idea in an active way, rather than not “end-gaining”, hold the intention. Intention is significantly different from goal, purpose or solution, not much but enough to give me a whole new feel, there is no sharpness in it, it is soft focus.

The third thing was reflecting on the sacred space of the therapeutic hour. How framing the work in an hour created a holding space. (Lacanians may differ). I think of that hour, the psychodrama stage, the Imago dialogue and the canvas of a painting, as alchemical vessels within which transformation can happen.

Then it occurred to me that intention far from being a wishy-washy thing could be an alchemical vessel. Holding the intention creates a space in which the intention is held, a space for the work to cook through all its stages. I like it, it complements GTD.

Later:Changed the title from vessel to crucible, and noticed how firmly this related to an earlier post. Being & Doing.

Devotion

Eric Maisel is inspiring. No doubt about it he gets me to the next phase. Devotion not discipline, that does it for me. I am devoted to my work, and naming it like that might even get me up an hour earlier!

Manifesto project

Love this manifesto project  Manifesto

Here is one of many

The cult of Done Manifesto | Manifesto:

The cult of Done Manifesto

01 There are three states of being.

Not knowing, action and completion.

02 Accept that everything is a draft.

It helps to get done.

03 There is no editing stage.

04 Pretending you know what you’re doing 

is almost the same as knowing what you 

are doing, so just accept that you know 

what you’re doing even if you don’t

and do it.

05 Banish procrastination. If you wait more

than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.

06 The point of being done is not to finish but

to get other things done.

07 Once you’re done you can throw it away.

08 Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps

you from being done. 

09 People without dirty hands are wrong.

Doing something makes you right.

10 Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.

11 Destruction is a variant of done. 

12 If you have an idea and publish it on the 

internet, that counts as a ghost of done.

13 Done is the engine of more.

Locus of therapy… locus of communication

I posted about the Locus of Psychotherapy here. Today it occurred to me that the whole notion of Psyberspace is about the locus of communication.

I write about relationships, forms of communication, the therapeutic frame, the shape of the seating arrangement, and the difference between a typewriter and PC. All these things matter to me. The space creates the psyche.

And in that sense the psyche evolves, and manifests in various ways in different places. Religion and therapy have strong hold on the word soul or psyche because they are so focussed on spaces. Then Marshall McLuhan comes along with the huge exploration of the impact of communication on the psyche. Medium is the message, global village via electronic communication. beautiful insights. Then in the sixties, the importance of set and setting on the impact of hallucinogens becomes understood (and severely misunderstood as they create an impossible set and setting called war on drugs).

This thinking I am sketching here is highly systemic. It means context is integral to the meaning. I’ve been very insistent that in my psychotherapy online I use only email. This is to keep the constancy of set and setting and medium. Is that important? In the earthquake here I see how it tests our metal as the contexts are focibly changed, new rooms, new modes, I’ve for the first time conceded to phone sessions in addition to f2f work. Its ok, but id sooner stick to the one context.

The original ‘locus’ discussion was to distinguish between two very systemic approaches, both of which value set and setting; Psychodrama and Imago Relationship therapy. When it comes to that discussion I am well beyond the question of the need for valuing context, medium etc. Now it is a case of which medium is good for what sort of communication? There are two modes, group and dyad. Not mutually exclusive, there can be dyads within a group.

I’m not sure if a group, or a dyad is a medium? Perhaps the actual distinction here is between a social atom and an imago. These categories of the psych are such slipery things. We only know them backup being with them, in them, as they are ‘virtual’ in some sense. Of course there are real people in real actions, but the social atom or cultural atom is the pattern that exists in that realm. the Imago is much the same, these are patterns of the soul we can be with, attend to, but they come up, arise in certain contexts. OK maybe that is the question then, what is the set and setting required to evoke the Imago? What is the set and setting to evoke the Original Social Atom? Conversely we may ask does the set and setting of the Freudian couch evoke?

What is this blogging doing? I am typing on a PC (in XP if that matters?) in a blog (WordPress) that is hosted on a server (DreamHost), and apart from one or two people I don’t know who reads it. About 30 hits a day probably people googling (the wrong) stuff. For all that it is one to many. It is also possibly going to be around for a long time, so somebody some Time may find these musings of interest.

I’ve been thinking of cross posting to an online community I am in. There it would feel very different. The locus would immediately transform. Blog posts, entries like this in the context of this Psyberspace blog are not the same in the context of a connected community. This blog is not a community, though some may be.

I’ve written it here. I could quote it elsewhere, I could use it in an essay (as I did with the original post, which led to a section in this Paper, I could use it in a book or podcast. Perhaps there is an optimum place, perhaps one unique space in the world where it grows and builds and yields fruit. I can ask this as is see one-to-one psychotherapy as totally the wrong place for relationship psychotherapy, it is detrimental to it. Group work might be too. Both could be adapted, but with out the benefit of an Imago style relational paradigm they are counter productive. Could there be a parallel here? Is this idea I’m returning to time after time better places elsewhere? Sometime I yearn for a department in a university where they would love this stuff and I could expound all day and it (I) would be part of some sort of community of practitioners pounding this stuff together.

Specific media are needed for specific tasks. Where in the landscapes of the psyche is there the right psyberspace for psyberspace discussions.

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 : https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2009/three-relationship-questions/

Manifestos

This websites is full of manifestos punk cyber anachist.

Collecting manifestos, better than stamps!

A bit from Hakim Bey

Manifesto of Poetic Terrorism:

Poetic Terrorism is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, Poetic Terrorism must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerrilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well-known & expected now.

Brian Reffin Smith – Art – psyberspace and treasures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Reffin_Smith

“There is a mine, a treasure trove, a hoard – I cannot emphasize this too strongly – of art ideas that emerged in the early decades of computer art that still have not remotely been explored. We know how this happens. The next big thing comes along and the Zeitgeist has its demands: things get left behind…”

I think I am still back there with all that Psybernet was to be, there is a treasure trove of ideas on cyberspace and what it is to be online that we discussed in psyber-l and that were discussed back in the early 90’s that is there to be re-visited, built on.

For example, Mark Zukerberg is a sysop. He has designed a BBS really and all the literature about the roles and the principles, the ethics were as alive around early BBSs as they are today. The bare bones of the systems made it easier to reflect, time went more slowly, it too time to download posts. The reflections from back then have not gone to waste, they are a treasure trove.

Bill O’Hanlon

Click to play & downloadBill O’Hanlon Imago think Tank #2 10 March 2010

One ot the “Think Tank” recorded phone conversations.

I liked the one above, and so have now downloaded the first one, I think you can listen in any order:

Click to play & downloadBill O’Hanlon Imago think Tank #1 3 March 2010

Here is the publisher he recommends:

Norton

The website with the course he mentions:

http://bookpublishingpath.com/discount/Imago.html

Online Book Writing and Publishing Course by Bill O’Hanloni

There is no such thing as a person

Winnicott famously said “there is no such thing as a baby.” (reference?) meaning of course there is always a baby and someone. Jacob Moreno’s notion of a social and cultural atom (reference?) is similar and more startling. There is a minimum set of roles (interactions) that need to be present for survival. In other words there is no such thing as a mother either, there is always a mother and a father (absent or not). The reference to role systems and dynamics is important here. We are not talking about people but relationships and ways of relating. People who don’t do anything are dead. Primacy of the relationship is not an uncommon idea in psychotherapy, even when the word ‘object’ is used in some schools of therapy, it is the ‘object relations’ that are important. For all that it is a big mind-shift to go from the every-day world of things and entities into the psychological world of dynamics.

The physical body, physical reality, so easily belies psychologically potent reality. Psychodrama has the power to reveal all the subtle bodies usually invisible, the use of the term surplus reality facilitates this. But even in psychodrama the mind-shift can be hard to make. Imagine a group of people, with their bodies invisible, see them as three dimensional movie programs of archetypal dramas, developmental processes and graphical depictions of experience of ecstasy & trauma in the cellular memory. The current state of warm-up is the movie that is playing right now. At any moment other movies could grab the screen, all the programs are networked. The body does not betray the soul, but it can fool us into thinking there is no soul. No wonder we have the idea of the eternal soul, it is collective, unconscious and interconnected back to the big bang.

The implications for psychotherapy are well known but difficult to fully implement. One potent central idea, is that the therapeutic relationship is the source of healing. Even that one, well established and standard in most definitions of psychotherapy is always under threat by talk of dependency, measurable evidence, behaviour, genes, chemicals, brains. And of course the demand for reports and videos introduce more elements into the relationship. The third eye kills the diad and creates a group. This may not be a bad thing if it were consciously embraced. If we said there is no such thing as a diad, however it often advocated that the third presence should be ignored. “After a while we forget there is a video camera in the room.” Denial of surplus reality. In the face of all these onslaughts psychotherapy has survived, and the healing power of relationship is constantly experienced and valued.

More important is the idea of social atom repair. In therapy all too often people warm-up to working on the relationship with the mother, and then later the father. As a psychodramatist I work, even in one-to-one settings with the idea of repairing the social atom. Whatever the medical mental health diagnosis people come with relationship difficulties. DSM style diagnosis are always blind to the psychological as they are totally fooled by and perpetuates the idea individual people. Those difficulties are present in the parental diad in some form. An investigation of the role system in the parental diad often sheds light on the current relationships. The most successful work I have done is where the “parents” enacted by the client, come to relationship psychotherapy. The client then, in the regressed state of the child, experiences their renewed parents. A new social and cultural atom is available to them.

This is similar to the TA idea or “re-parenting the parent”, but taken to a relational level.

Couple therapy, working directly with a relationship follows from the fundamental idea of a dynamic psyche. Yet therapists often talk of individual work as needed for a healthy relationship. Harville Hendrix’s Imago therapy, and Moreno and psychodrama before it, as well as all forms of family therapy with a systemic approach are more in tune with the psychological reality. In making the ‘imago’, the unconscious images operating in the relationship, the unit of therapy is a major breakthrough in psychotherapy. Hendrix’s phrase “The purpose of marriage is to heal childhood wounds.” (reference?) is profound. If we in the psychotherapy field embraced this we would use the healing potential in the couple relationship rather than the therapeutic relationship for psychological repair far more than we do.
There are time when couple work is not indicated, apart from when people are not in a couple. When attachment wounding is so strong that taking turns with each other and with a therapist is unbearable and leads to disruptive behaviour, I think it is rare.

People are myth. What is significant is ‘surplus’ to the physical entities, it is imaginal and systemic.

~~~
(Below is a quote that I found of interest, though a bit peripheral to my main points)
Perspectives – Vol. 6, No. 1 – A Primer on Narcissism – Page 3 of 3:

The first to seriously consider the similarity between Narcissistic and Schizoid pathologies was Melanie Klein. She broke with Freud in that she believed that we are born with a fragile, easily fragmentable, weak and unintegrated ego. The most primordial human fear is the fear of disintegration (death), according to Klein. Thus, the infant is forced to employ primitive defence mechanisms such as splitting, projection and introjection to cope with this fear (actually, with the result of aggression generated by the ego). The ego splits and projects this part (death, disintegration, aggression). It does the same with the life-related, constructive, integrative part of itself. The result of all these dynamics is to view the world as either “good” (satisfying, complying, responding, gratifying) – or bad (frustrating). Klein called it the good and the bad “breasts”. The child then proceeds to introject (internalize and assimilate) the good object while keeping out (=defending against) the bad objects. The good object becomes the nucleus of the forming ego. The bad object is felt as fragmented. But it is not gone, it is there.

Outcomes in Small Group Process

My recent post: Can we Survive? is a draft for an item in a psychodrama publication. In that post I link Wisdom Councils and – Creative Insight Councils to the Sociometric methods of J.L. Moreno. The main idea is that there is a lager community and the small group resonates with the larger group in isomoprhic harmony, and can thus give back compelling insights and wisdom.

In this post I want to add a related idea.

From Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council theory I have got it clear that a small group can achieve something in addition to personal therapy for its members, and assist an organisation or community in developing its life, and in its decision making.

Jim Rough calls it “option creating”, I am not yet sure exactly what he means by this but it is not just a list of possibilities or wild ideas from a brainstorming session. The breakthrough in a group happens when there is an insight into a real option – something the whole group would like to see happen.

Such breakthroughs are possible over the longer time frame of a group, of diverse members, meeting for several days and sharing at a deep level. Traditional meetings can’t achieve this depth.

For a group to be of use to a larger community there needs to be a thorough warm-up before the event as to the purpose and context. While in psychodrama we are aware of the importance of the frame, I have not experienced a group in that tradition that has the focus of leading to outcomes for the whole community. In our organisations we tend to make decision in meetings, and while there is plenty of interaction and depth work, it is not specifically an clearly focussed on future actions. There may be specialist sub-committees, or work groups, but they tend to be by the people with special positions an ongoing positions within the organisation.

Imagine randomly selected diverse small group – from an organisation or community – doing depth work groups with the task of one or two of the following topics:

What is our strategic plan?
What is our vision?
Principles for the Constitution.
Who should be a member?

The group would present its findings to all members of the community or larger organisation and its governing in one a4 document, and 20 minute audio file at a special hui for the occasion.