We flee or fight to avoid pain. In psychodrama we call those ways of being the coping roles. The path to the progressive, being fully alive, is to be with the vulnerability of the pain and attend to it. This can’t really be done alone, yet no-one can do it for you.
This is a universal idea and present in many modalities.
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.”
I have been intrigued by Bagwhan since the 1980s. I went quite a few workshops in Freemantle, Western Australia… but never drank the cool-aid. No orange or mala. I knew there was controversy in Oregon. Just how awful it was is news to me. What went wrong? Guns for one thing. I hated that turn of events. Sheila?
I watched a short Osho video on YouTube and saw it clearly… Bagwhan is not really the problem as a person either… it is his philosophy!
What a lovely response to the journalists question “what is the purpose of all this?” Anything that has a purpose is mundane. His answer is really an deep reflection on ends and means. The philosopher shines thorough.
But there is an ugly side. He becomes a little scathing of the questioner. He is not “one of my people”. He is an outsider. And there it is, disdain for outsiders. With all the ‘enlightenment’ they could not relate to 50 locals. They took over that town in an arrogant way akin to the way those people had taken it from the native Americans. If they are not “my people” then they are not people at all.
That is the lesson for me in the whole thing… I know I can have that sort of disdain.
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.
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.
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?”
I had to do a big thing. The whole of this blog was corrupted. Nothing. With long guides about how to reinstall and reconnect to the database I did it.
I was scared of loosing this. I realise how much I love it when it is gone. Like Christchurch after the earthquake – I was not really home here in Christchurch till now when it is just a mess.
Pleased to see my post about wisdom & consciousness come up. How against the grain that is! I wonder why so may of the people I know who are “idealist in the philosophical sense” don’t dispute my outrageous claims against the received wisdom that is the engine that drives psychotherapy and pretty much all of self help and liberal politics.
Never mind… I’m saying nothing original, just marxism and Moreno stuff that no-one seems to get. I’m curious… is this important? I don’t think liberal tolerance of liberal ideas is a healthy thing. But then it does not really matter… that is the point, reality will win out no matter what stories we tell.
Bear with my reflections…
The ideology does not matter, but being in touch with what reality is up to… that does matter. Who can really figure What is to be done at this time? Wishful thinking wont help much.
Anyway, pleased the blog is back
Later, Tuesday, 17 October, 2017
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”
… every culture is characterized by a certain set of roles which it imposes with a varying degree of success upon its membership.
Moreno Who Shall Survive? p. 88
Two forms of the cultural conserve are referred to in my writings: the technological conserve, as books, motion pictures, robots, and the “human” conserve, the conserve which uses the human organism for its vehicle.
Got me thinking about the story of the cave. Ordinary people are fooled. Only certain elite trained people can see the world properly. They are enlightened. At one point they mention that knowledge (according to Plato) is not “bits” but that at a certain point there is a whole shift to a new mental state. It reminds me of spiritual enlightenment. They use the word ‘enlightenment’ in the podcast.
I think a qualitative shift in knowledge is possible. But it is not in the state of mind, that makes the shift. Something has been discovered, it is based on evidence. It can be taught, e.g. The world is round – species evolve. That is not a new state of mind, anyone can learn these things. There is “common wisdom” (maybe as old as this stuff in Plato) that ordinary learning won’t do the trick, that we need to go through some spiritual process of cleansing, saving or sitting and that there are special teachers. Plato certainly raises the right question – what is knowledge and what is belief, but his answers are not convincing, and maybe pernicious.
“We need a new state of consciousness before the world can change.” I hear that a lot. This spiritual answers seem wrong, yet Marx also talked of class consciousness. Certainly we need thorough study and knowledge. But the paradigm shifts don’t happen to “us” they happen as science, and social science discovers more about the way the things and people work. Then people need to be taught that stuff.
People who impacted on me. Roughly in the order they did so. How I came to think the way I do, the intellectual & cultural biography. The juicier life story with real people is another, more personal story. The post about this post.
I had a few pop idols when I was a teenager. Mostly my mentors were people living around me. Then something new happened in a moment while reading Bertrand Russell that changed how I saw things. I think the book was called “On Morals”, but that does not seem to exist. Maybe it was Marriage and Morals but I can’t find the line I recall. “Morals is the science of how to live one’s life.” That does not Google, but that is what I recall. And as a teenager how to live my life was a burning question – that there was a science for that was very appealing. Further reading did not help much in a practical way (I will add Zorba The Greek to the list), but I began to read philosophy, and loved it.
I think of Russell as of marker in the sand for humanist, atheist, positivist rationality. ““I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive.” I liked that. It summed up the atheism I was bought up with. (Now I think it is all a bit more mysterious. Maybe the universe forks and folds?)
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Why he’s on the list.
Led to travel, New Zealand mountains.
Zorba the Greek
His book The Outsider led to my big shift at about same time as Peter Pinney
The book is a series of essays about what he calls outsiders, but presented from Wilsons existentialist position. Again how to live life! I identified with the central theme that outsiders are those who see too much. The main thing I got from the book is that I follwed through on every writer he mentioned. Now I knew who to look for in the library.
Colin Wilson is a bit of an embarrassment. He has an elitist perspective. Outsiders are artists and gifted, but not “supermen” above the doomed masses. He has an idea that the outsider has failed on some journey to enlightenment. I don’t like that type of spiritual approach to life, and did not even as CW put it forward.
The link in that post to Tims page is only available on the Wayback Machine.
I dug it up today as I was thinking of mentors and heroes. I look back and see how admired them, I fell in love with some and idolised some. I still do! They are all different, they teach different things some are enemies of the other. I’m thinking of them as people I have learned from. Mentors might be the right word.
I still like what I wrote:
“I like to think I am not into having heroes but most of these from tb are my heroes. I’d add a few: J.L. Moreno, James Hillman, Jim Rough, Karl Marx, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Kurt Vonnegut, Peter Pinney… of course they are all a bit flawed, but that is where the light gets in… I’ll add Leonard Cohen, and there are a lot of non-famous real people who have had a bigger impact!”
And Tim replied:
“it’s not that your heroes need to be perfect, so much as it helps to have ideal images after which to model oneself. its a lot easier to build a car if you know what a car looks like, how it feels, how it operates!”
I’ll make a list, with some quotes and links. Maybe in rough chronological order of then coming into my life. I’ve begun the list!
Later Tuesday, 16 April 2019 — still working on that list — I’ve published the perpetual draft.