Categories
Psyche Psychodrama psychotherapy Relationships

What makes being in a couple different from being in other relationships?

A couple is truly a couple when the hitherto hidden dimensions of pain surface in the relationship. The couple may not see it, but there is an interconnected web of role relationships that involve projections and yearnings from childhood.  Thus a defining aspect of couplehood is:

  • Connections at a primal wounds

Of course there are other aspects of couplehood:

  • Love
  • Sexuality
  • Children
  • Intimacy
  • A wedding ceremony
  • Significance
  • Familiarity
  • Shared memories
  • Commitment
  • Domestic life
  • Social reality & recognition

Some of these will apply and some may not.

The crucial aspect of couplehood is an uncanny reciprocity of pain. Hedy Schleifer refers to the “deepest desires meeting the darkest resistance, and vice versa.”  This can appear like a disconnect, but it is the relationship doing its purposeful work, a profound connection.

Psychodrama refers to ‘the interpyche’ with an interplay of co-conscious and co-unconscious ways of being. Evocative and useful words. Imago relationship therapy has the word ‘imago’, a word meaning image, referring to the match of the unconscious dynamics involving the unmet needs from childhood, mixed with the love that was there.

One word for it: trouble!

Who wants it? Who knows how to get through this impasse when one person’s deep desires meet the other person’s fears? And vice versa. It gets harder as regression seeps in and our usual adult functioning goes out the window. I’d rather look at facebook or go for a walk.

There is another side to the story, trouble means opportunity. The ‘interpsyche’ is not so stupid!  This mystical third entity wove a web for us to climb through impasses. They are not impossible passes, we can get through, with help. And once through we continue the adventure with new vigour.

For the therapist it is easy! “Wow, you two are here, facing this trouble! Well done. This is normal, this is healthy, this is natural and right and you can work through this. Talk and listen. Listen with great care! Talk without blame. I’ll help you do it.”

Its is not so easy when you are in it. Love is blind, and so is trouble. Have a look at this feast of quotes about love: 90 Beautiful Love Quotes from Literature I wish there were as many beautiful quotes about the purpose of trouble as there are about the glorious magic of love.

 

Categories
Books Journal Psyber Psyche

The smell of ebooks

I love the smell of ebooks!  I collect them.  I highlight bits.  I pop bits into this blog. I have mostly Epub or Kindle versions.  I convert Kobi to epub  I find audio versions. All that is a form of sniffing!

Lately I have been delighted by Readwise.  They found all my highlights and let me review them a few every few days.  They also import them to Obsidian.  

Where they look like this:

 

The real treat is this: The Next Chapter of Readwise: Our Own Reading App

I’m on the list and I can’t wait!

If you like the smell of books you will get in the queue.

This post is one in the long tradition here of looking at the psyche in cyberspace, this Reader is a revolution in the psyche.

 

Categories
Psyche

Donald Hamlet Wolfraim – Obituary

Donald Hamlet Ph.D. passed away quietly at home on June 28th 2021.

I received this email from Robin Wolfraim-Jenkins. and am honoured to respond.  I did not know Donald Wolfraim but his Jungian perspective and gnostic take on the psyche have intrigued me.

 

Dear Walter.
In 2011 you referred to my Grandfather’s work. Link attached. Thank you for making this accessible, it is not part of his published work and it is the only copy our family has out there. I have gotten it from your site.
I am not sure if you had any connection with Donald Wolfraim, but if you did. Is there a story you could pass on to my family?
I wanted to ask you to add a link to his Obituary or refer to his passing. If there is a way? If you did know him.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely
Robin Wolfraim-Jenkins
Categories
Art Art Talk Digital Sketches Psyche

Found

I found this image in a neglected place on my iPad,  in an app  I was trying out. I must have made it some years ago. Today it resonated. I’ve been thinking about the value of containment and the value of a clear focus on a point.

Categories
Psyche Psychodrama Relationships Science World

Moreno on studying society.

THE MATERIAL ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL SITUATION

The dynamic logic of social relations is particularly intricate and has remained unconscious with Man because of his maximal proximity and involvement in his own situation. For millennia therefore, the activities of human society perhaps have been a greater mystery to him than every other part of the universe. Because of their greater distance from him he could see the movement of the stars and planets, or the life of the plants
43
and animals, more objectively. Therefore, the science of human society is today hardly as far developed as physics and astronomy were in the minds of Democritus and Ptolemy. It takes enormous sacrifice and discipline to view and accept himself as he is as an individual man, the structure of the individual psyche, its psychodynamics; but the degree of invisibility of the structure of human society, of its sociodynamics, is much greater than that of the single individual. The effort of becoming objective toward the socius encounters many more obstacles than to be objective toward his own individual mind. The involvement of the ego he can still grasp, perhaps he can pretend to know it because it operates within him. The involvement of the socius, however, he cannot pretend to know as it operates outside of him; but it is an outside to which he is inescapably tied.

This is a quote from Moreno — SOCIOMETRY, EXPERIMENTAL METHOD AND THE SCIENCE OF SOCIETY AN APPROACH TO A NEW POLITICAL ORIENTATION
J.L. MORENO — Foreword by GARDNER MURPHY

The same paragraph appears in a different context in Who Shall Survive? P73.

Here are my thoughts about  this passage which I think has some important concepts and raises a question for another post:

    • “The dynamic logic of social relations is particularly intricate”

This might sound trite, but it shows how he is focused on the relationship, not the individual. Not like Freud, Jung and all those on that tree of thought, who were predominantly individualists, in theory and practice. And note the  words dynamic logic. Dynamic, moving changing, alive, and logic, something that makes sense, that can be grasped. Moreno wrote this in 1949 so this is written at the time of the upsurge of systems theory, cybernetics and the Macey conferences in New York. Maybe he was influenced by the zeitgeist of the time, or influenced it.

    • “…remained unconscious with Man because of his maximal proximity and involvement in his own situation.”

     

  • Unconscious. He uses the word unashamedly even though he is equally unashamedly anti Freud later in the same essay. The words maximal proximity are nice. McLuhan used the analogy of a fish not knowing what water is. It is because of the water’s maximal proximity to the fish. While so much is made of the bias of maximal proximity we see that for the study of humans Moreno turns this problem into the crucial advantage. Science is turned on its head, the group studies itself. Of course! Humans are explorers of space, of stuff outside of us, minimal proximity, so to study ourselves we have to make that inescapable maximal proximity a feature of the work.
    • “… the degree of invisibility of the structure of human society, of its sociodynamics, is much greater than that of the single individual. The effort of becoming objective toward the socius encounters many more obstacles…”

     

    The invisibility of the structure of human society is a phenomena.  Invisibility … we can see people, but not ‘systems’. someone famously said “you can’t kiss a system”.  Now the meditation on Moreno’s writing here gets interesting… note the title of the section:  The Material Aspect of the Social Situation.  So does the relationship, the network, have a material aspect?  What does that look like?  You can see two things but the relationship between them is a space.  The space between is a cherished notion in Imago Relationship Therapy.  I’m not sure how Moreno resolves these questions about the material aspect.  (I think I heard Timothy Morton talk sense on this. For another post.)

    The socius.   Another potent word.  He uses it as if there is a reality that exists. I think of his other wording: the sociometric matrix as being somewhat similar, if not the same.  The socius is similar and just as slippery as ‘the psyche’.

    •  “The involvement of the ego he can still grasp, perhaps he can pretend
             to know it because it operates within him.”

Note the word pretend. For Moreno it’s all roles. There really is no inner even though he uses that language here.

 

I’m looking forward to writing another post  on the whole section on the material aspect of relationship

 

Categories
Psyche psychotherapy Relationships

My deepest longing pushes against your most darkest resistance, and vice versa.

My deepest longing pushes against your most darkest resistance, and vice versa.

Hedy Schleifer 

Categories
Art Art Talk Bush Journal Photos Psyche

Bush: in my life…

Bush Is one of my six life streams. Bush in Heathcote, Blue Mountains, Shoalhaven, Tasmania and Aotearoa New Zealand. And back to the Larapinta trail.  And the mountains of New Zealand. I’m  a bushwalker.  It’s an identity I developed in my teens. It’s never gone away.  I do more walking in the bush than is evident here.  This walking, climbing, mountaineering, tramping, camping and travel aspect is huge in my life but minimal in this blog, as I championed the  psyche in cyberspace.

https://www.thousandsketches.com/2006/12/10/trees-2/

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Growing up on the edge of two national parks I had the years from 8 to 18  years walking, running in beautiful bush.  And swimming in the hospitable creeks, surfing in the best beaches in the world.  Then I left for teachers college in Tasmania, one big national park.  After Tasmania,  aged 22 I went on a world ‘working holiday’, but climbing and skiing kept me there then university marriage and parenthood.  now in Aotearoa New Zealand still at 77 and almost part of the bush here.

Notice it was university as well that kept me here, part of another life stream I call Words.

And a relationship, another life stream.

Bush Category Tag Index

 

https://www.cmw.asn.au/home

https://swimmingholeheaven.com/nsw-eddies-pool.htm

The Rovers Pool

Categories
Psyche Psychodrama

Alchemy of fragmentation.

 

The first of  7 Stages of Spiritual Alchemy

Calcination.

Calcination is the process of heating and decomposing raw matter – or in other words, breaking down parts of ourselves that are in the way of our own happiness. Often we’d rather be right or fulfill an idea of “perfection” than be truly happy, so we continue neglecting the exploration of ourselves.

The stage of Calcination represents the stage in our lives where we begin breaking down our egos, self-doubt, stubbornness, self-sabotaging behavior, pride, and arrogance, and put it aside so we can find out what is underneath.

That is such a powerful concept.  Notice how *heated* relationships can be — we might need to call the police even! Many times we need to heat and decompose matter, its not pleasant or pretty.

Consider that fragmenting?  The power of fragmenting.  I love composting, not a gardener, though I’ve had the urge to plant flax and natives.  How far do I need to break down?  The harder question is how does a relationship work with this alchemy.  How does fragmenting work? should we take turns?

Fragmenting in relationships?  Breaking everything down and letting the spirit of the relationship do its work?

Though its about chemistry… Google yielded some guiding words:

“its complex non-linearity and long delay characteristics.”

“The calcination zone temperature can be achieved by output feedback of input control variables, the error and the error correction.”

 

Calcination Symbols from https://soolahhoopsllc.tumblr.com/post/94500286722/calcination-symbols

 

 

 

 

 

The first operation in alchemical transformation. It is denoted by the symbol for the first sign of the zodiac, Aries.♈

 

 

The Raven is a symbol of the nigredo stage of alchemy. Nigredo, or blackness, in alchemy means putrefaction or decomposition. The alchemists believed that as a first step in the pathway to the philosopher’s stone all alchemical ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively to a uniform black matter. In analytical psychology, the term became a metaphor ‘for the dark night of the soul, when an individual confronts the shadow within.

 

 

And to add a sketch I did after the 2010 Christchurch earthquake.

And the feature image above…

Its a beautiful green image, what does it mean?  From Lonerwolf.com

 

Other alchemy stages on the list:

Separation. …
Conjunction. …
Fermentation. …
Distillation. …
Coagulation.

Categories
Featured Psyche Psychodrama psychotherapy Video

Psychodrama on TED talk with Jean Campbell

A simple, well structured, psychodrama.

This is a good example of how a psychodrama can be presented publicly.  Well prepared auxiliaries.

I thought this was well done.

Categories
Journal Psyche Psychodrama Relationships

Protagonist, group or leader centered psychodrama? Terminology

The term “group centered” is used in Australia and New Zealand psychodrama circles with respect to warm-up and also with respect to the drama itself.

Firstly with respect to the drama. I recall  Max Clayton’s teaching when the group was under the misapprehension that sociodrama was always group centred i.e. without a specific protagonist, and psychodrama always had a protagonist.  He then demonstrated a protagonist centred sociodrama, i.e. one based around the social roles in one person’s work situation.  On rare occasions, I have seen a group centered psychodrama, one that began as a sociogram.  An isolate emerged and the group then worked collaboratively with that person to include them.

With respect to warm-up, I am familiar with the usage where a “director directed warm-up” is contrasted with a “group centered warm-up”.

I have found a passage in “Who Shall Survive?” where Moreno talks about “centeredness.”  and his usage is a bit different.

 

I doubt that we would use “leader centered” for psychodrama.  If there is a psychodrama, then it is based on the group or the protagonist as the central focus.  Emergent psychodrama sounds interesting but is not related to this discussion as far as I can see.  I imagine all our groups are “group centered” in the way the word is used in the passage from “Who Shall Survive?” Even director directed warm-ups lead to group or protagonist centered psychodrama.

What has sparked my interest in this linguistic exploration is that I have been working with couples in groups in a variety of ways.  I want to use the words  “relationship centered psychodrama”.  I think there are many ways to be “relationship centered”.  I think more exploration is needed as being protagonist centered can run counter to the needs of a couple.  I am writing another post on relationship centered psychodrama as I research the variety of ways this can be done and also the way Moreno tackled this in the past.