I’ve been overdoing my exploration about the “relational paradigm”. I’ve been reading, writing, integrating & putting into practice Imago & Psychodrama ideas about systems and the locus of therapy.
So I thought I’d give myself a break and read a thriller.
Blinded by Stephen White, who I have read before & enjoyed.
I am only a few minutes into it and there are passages that stimulate me right back into my work passion, no rest!
I will quote them here and share my reflections.
Continue reading “The Dance”
When I was a social worker in the early ’80s and a person was waiting in the waiting room to see me, the receptionist would ring me and jokingly say your client system is here to see you.
Social Work has had a strong sense for a long time that the individual is always part of a system. This same systems theory was taught to me as being central to Psychodrama, specifically through an article by Lynette Clayton.
Recently I have read some good material in Imago Relationship Therapy : Perspectives on Theory, particularly by Randall C. Mason, Ph.D. who talks about the Relational Paradigm, and sees it as distinct from systems thinking.
I have been wanting to tie all this together, and Moreno’s contribution is significant. I love the way he sees the origin of our thinking of individual psyche ties in with the body as being the locus of treatment in medicine. What a fallacy it has been to continue to think like that in psychotherapy!
The opening of the Chapter on Sociometry in Psychodrama Volume one follows.
I’ve also added more notes on Sunday, 29 November 2015
Continue reading “The Locus of Therapy – Moreno”
Three questions to ask the couple to work on before they come to the first session:
- What would the relationship look like if it were working well?
- What are doing right now to prevent that?
- What do you imagine you could do differently?
(From the supervision workshop with Maya Kollman)
I like these images, I like the idea of using old books.
I like beeswax.
I want to make prins that have something of this feel.
I will put this whole post on my psyberspace blog because it has the Imago word, an in depth approach to the co-unconscious in relationships.
These assemblages are made
made from the covers of used
books. I seek out those that
bring their own history –
inscriptions, notations, signs
signs of wear and amateur
mending – poignant glimpses
into the previous owners’ lives.
When dipped into melted
beeswax, the papers become
translucent, and unexpected
details emerge. Sometimes
the paper on the inside covers
tear in a way that suggests
landscape, and I add to these
readymade images, painting
the moon in various phases
and hand-lettering appropriate
words from a Latin dictionary.
On some, I add tiny diamonds,
to suggest stars or lights.
There are two really crucial ideas that are relatively new in the therapy field, that anyone in a relationship needs to know. They make up the the systemic, relational paradigm shift that for all its value, and having been around for decades, could be missed! To miss it would be like missing out the penicillin and micro-organism knowledge if you had an infection when that was just taking hold a ninety years ago. To embrace this relational paradigm is more important than the exact approach one uses, though it needs to be a relational one. Imago, Psychodrama, Non Violent Communication and many other approaches are systemic and relational, or at least not actively opposed.
One is that the right here, now, in the relationship is the solution to the relationship problem. How to get there might be painful and hard, you will need to learn skills, make effort, but individual therapy or leaving, or searching for a better mate has all those problems and will lead to similar relationship problems, or to no relationship at all.
The second is that it takes only one person in the relationship to commit to really working on it. In fact the ability or desire to take that role is never even and equal, so it is never quite fair.
These ideas seem straight forward to me now, but they fly in the face of much more prevalent notions, ones I was actively taught, and took on board as wisdom, and have had to unlearn: That it is good to sort yourself out before you have a relationship, and that each person needs to commit to doing their share, that it is 50/50.
Al Turtle puts all these things very well. Great to find his site today.
A short article: Receiving Sexual Pleasure by Sylvia Rosenfeld, LCSW, again has that Imago reference to “connected knowing”:
The goal of Imago Relationship Therapy is to create the conditions in a relationship that will encourage positive change in partners. The right environment retrains the brain. The behavioral component of sex therapy does this as well. The integration of both therapies can help a couple move from “separate” to “connected” knowing. Dialogue and behavioral assignments, especially sensate focus, create the continual repetition, through words and actions that translate what their “brains” know to what their “hearts” know as well.
I just had a thought that this might be what Psychodramatists call “Role-Reversal” in a sense couples become more empathic as they dialogue, to the point where they have a knowing of each other that goes beyond empathy, they know so many of the dots that it is easy to fill in all the dots (if you get my drift). I can grasp these things more when I can relate them to my primary modality, that is where I learnt things in a visceral way. In Psychodrama the role reversal is enacted where people literally change places and enact the role that the other had. It is an important technique. However it is also used as a way of speaking about an ability people have to step into the shoes of the other. Again to mix modalities, someone with a narcissitic wound can’t role revers – that is the same wound. It is also one of the latest stages of child development, and builds on other skills such as mirroring.
I heard about how in the grieving process for a miscarriage the parent role-reversed with the spirit of the child. They had named the unborn baby Martha. In the role reversal the child revealed many feelings and some gratitude for its brief in utero time on earth. She also made it clear that she did not like the name Martha & would they please change it. What sort of knowing is that!