Barbara L. Green – For Therapists:

Imago and Object Relations

All sounds a bit mysterious to me, but it is a worthy project, to grasp the shape of the Imago (which I think of a a complex of little hooks or valencies which search out healing relationships.)  Now that is a form of knowing, and yes it will have its origins in that psychological entity which Psychodramatists call the “Original Social Atom” or internal object relationships in the Britich Psychoanalytic tradition.

The amalgam that is the imago, therefore, is a complicated component of the mental apparatus. Partly conscious but to a large degree preconscious and unconscious, it contains numerous bytes of knowledge. Some are certainties but have never become differentiated thoughts; others are the residue of direct bodily experiences recorded permanently, like a dent made in the earth by a falling meteor. Still others result from distal observations and are filed away, to be later referred to with unconscious automaticity.

Connected Knowing – turning up in the wrong places…

Catholic University Au

Later: Thursday, 23 October, 2008 – the link to the specific page & the Kandinsky is dead.

Finished up at this page looking up epistemology stuff for my article on Psychotherapy & Science which I am rewriting. I am putting it here on my blog partly ’cause I love the Kandinsky. Also because the “connected knowing” theme has found its way into Imago via Helen Hunt’s feminism. Science & Psychotherapy paper is, I believe a way expand connected knowing idea as a way of doing science.

There seems to be some truth in this, despite the sometimes degrading treatment of the sexuality of women (humiliating stereotypes and a ‘double standard’ which applies in many cultures). It is important to speak from the different contexts of women’s experience and bring to theological reflection a closeness to and integration with bodily processes. This is what a number of feminists call ‘connected knowing’ which contests the one-dimensional rationalist thinking which has dominated Western progress thought. We are challenged by this Feminist experience to question certain patterns of thought which justify the exploitation of people (women, workers and the poor) and to replace these patterns with a connected and Conciliar process that is more sensitive and just.

Reason: You’d Have to Be Crazy: Mental illness is the new normal

Reason: You’d Have to Be Crazy: Mental illness is the new normal:

In the sketch Steve Martin plays Theodoric of York, a medieval barber with a patient whose condition has not improved despite a bloodletting, a sheep’s-urine-and-staghorn poultice, and a night buried in the marsh up to her neck. ‘Medicine is not an exact science,’ Theodoric tells the girl’s mother, ‘but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter’s was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach.

That funny bit makes its point well. As does this more serious bit:

Judging from the way psychiatrists respond to Szasz’s critique, most of them believe schizophrenia and perhaps a few other conditions described in the DSM are diseases of the brain in the same sense as Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis, albeit with etiologies that are not yet clear. But when it comes to habits and traits such as smoking, gambling, gluttony, shyness, impulsiveness, inattentiveness, dishonesty, and nastiness—not to mention diagnoses that have fallen out of psychiatric fashion, such as homosexuality and multiple personality disorder even psychiatrists recognize the arbitrariness of their taxonomy.

In my eyes psychotherapy is a way of talking about the psyche that is nothing to do with health or illness, it is a way of reclaiming a holistic account of the self that was provided by religion and superstition and in the past. The language of medicine distorts the holistic endeavour.

Later Saturday, 6 February, 2010


How does the “way of talking” relate to science? I think it is something of value, even if it is full of “dormative hypothesis”.

My defense of the dormative hypothesis (ie that it is not so bad if seen in the right way) is that it is a poem, and that poems are a way of compressing and making order. Making order is a form of science.

International Community for Ecopsychology

International Community for Ecopsychology:

Ecopsychology, or eco-psychology as it is sometimes called, is situated at the intersection of a number of fields of enquiry, including environmental philosophy, psychology, and ecology, but is not limited by any disciplinary boundaries. At its core, ecopsychology suggests that there is a synergistic relation between planetary and personal well being; that the needs of the one are relevant to the other.

Came across this in connection with the interesting *collaborative blog* Seeds for Thought

Sunday, 31 January, 2010

On my Old WordPress blog, someone left this link in a trackback.

Psychotherapy and Scientific Method

Psychotherapy and Scientific Method pdf file. A paper about sociometry and musings about the future of knowing. Presentation at the NZAP conference, Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2005

This paper has been a long time in the writing. It has been hard to do as the ideas are profound, important but still somewhat underdeveloped. I will be presenting this at the conference this weekend, looking forward to that and with luck, getting more clarity from presenting it. Here is the abstract:

The scientific method used in the physical sciences does not easily lend itself to the study of interpersonal relationships and it can conflict with a psychological depth perspective. Dr. J.L. Moreno, the founder of psychodrama, proposed that the methods he used with the psyche and the socius are scientific but unlike the methods of the physical sciences. He took this one astounding step further by stating this would lead to a new paradigm of investigation that would revolutionise even the physical sciences.This paper explains, examines and defends aspects of the nature of psychological work that needs a re-evaluation of the scientific methods akin to that proposed by Moreno. It concludes with discussion of the implications for psychotherapy in three vital areas: training and assessment of psychotherapists, supervision and evaluation of psychotherapy for insurance purposes.

Popular Mechanics

That link did not work on ddd

An interesting item full of stuff about Moreno, but hardly full sociometry. Where is the criteria of “maximum voluntary participation” of these guests that Moreno used to disdinguish his sociometry from pseudo sociometry? This focus of looking at the group mechanistically has led to the title. Sociometry is not a mechanistic approach, but that will be hard for anyone to grasp after the last couple of decades. Still it is interesting that Moreno is still on the agenda somewhere – especially at Harvard.


Later: Link did not work on Thursday, 14 January, 2010 try (saved Walter)

Archetypes, teleology and what is real

Archetypes of Cyberspace is the title of an essay I am writing (still!). The research notes are on this weblog, they are this weblog. I will be doing a more research in the next few weeks if I get the time.

What *is* an archetype? It means chief type as I understand it, in other words the BOSS. But not the boss of the other types so much as the boss of the phenomena. Thus Venus and Eros are archetypes of love, Mars is the archetype of war. The question I put then is – who is the architect of cyberspace, the force that governs it, is behind it, whose domain is it? WHO is building cyberspace? It is interesting think if there is an outcome we are being pulled towards. Is there a plan.

That question might look to Terence McKenna as if I am thinking of the pioneers of Cyberspace as human receivers of instructions from the spiritual realm – the mushrooms or the aliens telling them what to do. Terence postulates that we are TV sets who receive our thoughts from angels etc. I don't think like that.

Even less am I thinking of teleology as used in the Catholic proof for the existence of God by design – though that might have some mileage in it for me.

In a way I do think in both those ways, but not literally, not ontologically. The world is *as if* there were these daemons running the show. It is best to behave as if there are. This is because there are objective unknowable structures in their depth and detail, that we can participate in only by allowing our own psyche to mesh with those structures. To do that we need to live, to allow our own unknown depths to mesh. We are not as machines, but living participants in the world. In other words to live as full humans who are not just systems and wo see not just systems. Is fathering the same as being the male in a family system? No, but sadly many people talk like that. Seeing through the mechaniocal world to the living energy might be hallucination but it is the way to fully participate in life.

The paragraphs so far are prelude to an I dea i am dwelling on. Teleology. That we can relate to a living world by knowing the archetypes is the essence of psychology. But to what extent are the archetypes also out there with definite plans – with an end-point in mind?

Thinking that there is a plan, a pre-conceived end point, is teleology. The idea is much maligned in science as nonsense hanging over from God as the literal architect of everything. Let us be struck for a moment with the word tele here. There is something archetypal in this word. Look how it recurrs in various devices we use: television, telescope, telephone etc.. Distance – space in other words – is what it refers to. J.L. Moreno used the word on its own to refer to the feelings and thoughts directed by a person into space – distance – to an entity, imagined or real, I am not sure about how that hangs together… space=tele, if we substitute space with tele we get cybertele. If steering is what the cyber is about we are able in cyberspace to steer our tele in the morenian sense.

This following passage is interesting from Teleology item on Principia Cybernetica. In this item they manage, quite appropriatly for a 20th century science, to take the supernatural out of teleology while still allowing it to have a meaning within the legitimacy of a fairly positivist model.

Originally, the study of ends, goals and purposes. In cybernetics, the STRUCTURal and organizational conditions for systems to exhibit purposeful behavior, reach goals (see goal oriented), maintain steady states (see homeostasis), survive threats from their environments (see evolution, adaptation), etc. (Krippendorff)

Along with the supernatural they take the metaphor out, and thus the psychology out. They see the world as a machine – which is one way. Which is fine – it makes them biologists or physicists of large systems. Someone has to do that, but it is not psychology. So can we think of a metaphorical teleology? Can we rescue teleology from religion, not for the physical sciences but for psychology? It is the *as if* which cyberneticists leave out that is important.

One reason is role reversal, we can learn about the world from the inside by being the world, or the spitit of a 'system' in the world. Role reversal is the ability we have to step into another's shoes. But we can do this with things and imaginal entities as well as people. As Moreno put it, [1975, p22]

Instead of coming down from the skies, he comes in by way of the stage door. God is not dead, he is alive in psychodrama!

Archetypes are dramatic, imaginal, that is where their power lies, by fully entertaining them we get to know them. But is there some sort of destiny, some sort of pull into the distand future?

I have a sense there is, and that this is not some "transcendental other" hovering out there in any literal sense. More along the lines of a fractal, that a bit of coastline will let us know the shape of the whole coastline, even when that coastline is still in formation.

Fractal Freud

Found this image while looking for Compressionism. Which is a whole ism about what Stanislav Groff called Systems of Condensed experience. I see it as something Freud named as transference – carry-over. Fractals, a pattern in one time and place resonates with a pattern in another. OK, a very brief post – a big idea.

Book: The New Science of Networks Linked: The New Science of Networks

From a review on Amazon:

He explains the basic history of network theory, and then shows how his own work has turned it into a closer model of reality, a model that most of us will recognize. Networks are all around us, and they are simply not random. Some of our friends, for instance, are loners, while others seem to know everyone in town. Some websites, like Google and Amazon, we just cannot avoid clicking on or being referred to, but many others are obscure and you could only find them if someone sent you their addresses. Barabási calls these ‘nodes’ with such an extraordinary number of links ‘hubs,’ and he and his students have found laws of networks with hubs, showing such things as how they can continue to function if random nodes are eliminated but they fragment if the hubs are hit. Barabási is currently doing research to show what intracellular proteins interact with other proteins, and true to form, some of them are hubs of reactions with lots of others. Finding the hubs of cancerous cells, for instance, and developing ways of taking them out, show enormous promise in the fight against cancer.

Looks good. Yes one of many on the same theme, but each adding a new slant. Hubs and nodes – reminds me a little of the classic article: The Strength of Weak Ties ?

Jim Kent & the Genome Data

O’Reilly Network: Keeping Genome Data Open [Apr. 05, 2002]

“Jim Kent was a graduate student in biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), when he wrote the program that allowed the public human genome team to assemble its fragments just before Celera’s private, commercial effort. His program ensured that the human genome data would remain in the public domain. Kent wrote the 10,000-line program in a month, because he didn’t want to see the genome data locked up by commercial patents.”

A hero indeed! One of the spin-offs from now using GNU/Linux is that it is easier to see how locking away human knowledge for the benefit of the rich is just evil!