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
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
You are fed up. This is been on your mind for a while. You need to tell the other person. Its not fair. They are a problem. You’ve been meaning to do this but they’d never listen…
Those thoughts and feelings are your warm up. A warm up like that needs some attention. The other party is not likely to listen. When the time comes to talk you need better warm up. The six steps will create a good warm up for a productive conversation. “It is all in the warm up.”
Create a Topic
What is the title of this conversation? One that is of interest to both parties. Create a topic that is constructive. Do this well before you approach the other person. This will determine everything from here on.
Begin with the impulse for the talk, e.g. “Your careless behaviour over the years has made me resentful and bitter and it is time you changed.”
Remove blame: “I think you are careless and I resent that and I’d like you to change.” Notice the subtle difference with the words: “I think…”
Remove resentment: Resentment is something you have allowed to build up, own it. “I think you are careless and I have found this difficult to raise with you, and I’d like you to change.”
Convert judgmental words, and be specific about outcomes: “I think the jobs can be done more efficiently.”
Make it collaborative: “I think we can do this more efficiently.”
Topic: “How we can do some things more efficiently”
Make a Request
How you do that also creates a warm up. More on that soon.
I will read the book. But as I listened I was burning to join in on the discussion. I have since my days studying under Prof. Robert Bigelow in the late 60s at Canterbury had an understanding of “gene pools”. The concept makes sense of how some things might benefit the survival of a species even when individuals do not have more babies.
Brian Boyd touched on this lightly in the interview, I’ll be interested to see if he does this more fully in the book.
The point is this: if lyrical poetry (or anything else) is useful to the group then only a few need to have a gene for it, and even if they individually don’t have more babies, the group as a whole might survive and a neighbouring group who does not have that gene in their pool might not.
I’ve been thinking about this in relationship to the purpose of monogamy. It seems that it has a special place in healing wounds from childhood. But this typically does not happen till after the crucial childbearing years, in the second reflective half of life. I think of the powerful impact even one or two healing couples can have in a group. They can foster relationship education as well. They might influence psychological health, and more robust grandchildren.
1. Stabilization (Assessment and De-escalation Phase) Step 1: Assessment Step 2: Identify negative cycle and attachment issues Step 3: Access underlying attachment emotions Step 4: Reframe the problem into cycle, attachment need and fears — Partners are no longer victims of the cycle, they are now allies against it.
During this stage the therapist creates a comfortable and stable environment for the couple to have an open discussion about any hesitations the couples may have about the therapy, including the trustworthiness of the therapist. The therapist also gets a sense of the couples positive and negative interactions from past and present and is able to summarize and present the negative patterns for them.
2. Restructuring the bond (the change phase) Step 5: Access implicit needs, fears, models of self Step 6: Promote acceptance by other-expand the dance Step 7: Structure emotional engagement-express attachment needs and wants
This stage involves restructuring and widening the emotional experiences of the couple. This is done through couples recognizing their attachment needs, and then changing their interactions based on those needs. At first their new way of interacting may be strange and hard to accept, but as they become more aware and in control of their interactions they are able to stop old patterns of behavior from reemerging.
3. Integration/Consolidation Step 8: New positions in the cycle/enact new stories Step 9: New solutions to pragmatic issues
Focuses on reflection of new emotional experiences and self-concepts. It integrates the couple’s new ways of dealing with problems within themselves and in the relationship. It is the attachment bond that is formed through EFT therapy, which is the newfound strength of the couple.
Recognizing Demon Dialogues—In this first conversation, couples identify negative and destructive remarks in order to get to the root of the problem and figure out what each other is really trying to say.
Finding the Raw Spots—Here, each partner learns to look beyond immediate, impulsive reactions to figure out what raw spots are being hit.
Revisiting a Rocky Moment—This conversation provides a platform for de-escalating conflict and repairing rifts in a relationship and building emotional safety.
Hold Me Tight—The heart of the program: this conversation moves partners into being more accessible, emotionally responsive, and deeply engaged with each other.
Forgiving Injuries—Injuries may be forgiven but they never disappear. Instead, they need to become integrated into couples’ conversations as demonstrations of renewal and connection. Knowing how to find and offer forgiveness empowers couples to strengthen their bond.
Bonding Through Sex and Touch—Here, couples find how emotional connection creates great sex, and good sex creates deeper emotional connection.
Keeping Your Love Alive—This last conversation is built on the understanding that love is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection; it asks couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining connection.
William Doherty brings a wonderful insight into Couple Therapy. The video shows the nature of the problem he addresses. The article in the Psychotherapy Networker brings forward his way of attending to that problem.
With the thorough and useful Imago dialogue approach there are a few things I find myself bringing from other modalities to the work. Warm up – from psychodrama is one. I work for a while with the couple in the warm up phase so that the dialogue topic is related to what the couple together agree is of value to work on in the relationship. This is a bit different from what can happen where the topic is the frustration one partner has with the other – dialogues about that may get there the long way around, a good warm up, which may include some psych ed, from me can be circumvent the potentially derailing process.
But that is not the main idea of this post.
William Doherty’s idea of the Discernment Phase of therapy creates a much larger space for a warm up with clients who may not be in agreement on what is needed. He gives me as the therapist permission – in a relational way – to see each party on their own if that is needed in a phase that is not yet couple therapy. I love the word discernment here. It is so much more engaging of the client therapist relationship than assessment.
This paragraph sums up the essence.
A central strategy of this work is that although the couple comes in together each time, most of the work goes on in separate conversations with each spouse. In the first 40 minutes of the initial session, I see them together and get both their stories and perspectives on the marriage. After asking what they hope to get from seeing me, I inquire about their divorce narratives (how they got to this point), their repair narratives (how they tried to solve their problems and what outside help they sought), and a question about the best of times in their relationship history. I then spend more than an hour seeing each of them separately. During that time, I focus on each one’s agenda (leaving or saving the marriage, along with other agendas) and try to open up a deeper understanding of each one’s contributions to the marital dynamics and areas of potential change. At the end of each individual conversation, I help the partner prepare a summary to be shared with the other partner at the end of the session.
Here is a pdf of the Psychotherapy Networker article.
Here is a fuller quote of a section quoted earlier.
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.