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The Lesson Of Psychotherapy

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posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 07:54 PM
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Sigmund Freud was a much greater man then people recognize. He looked at people, not from the perspective of metaphysics, or how things seemed to be from a cosmic perspective, but how human beings ACTED, and why they acted those ways.

Of course, as one recent book puts it, Sigmund Freud was totally permeated by 19th century Vienna culture. Sigmund Freuds world was a world which just recently accepted Jews as equals. Freud grew up with a zest for becoming a "real man". As a man, Freud learned, unconsciously and relationally, how to 'feel' about certain things. The magniloquent Freud could dress this feeling up in charismatic ways, but fundamentally, some of Freuds views just wreaked with the patriarchal and misogynistic context he grew up within. It began with his Oedipal Complex, where the boy wants to be the father (subject) because he realizes, of course, that his mother (the object) desires him. The man is able to take the mother (or penetrate her i.e phallus) but the boy cannot.

This whole spiel is actually true. Most men in our society undergo this oedipal complex, which is to say (in less mythological language) the boy separates from his mother (and the femininity, softness, intersubjectivity, and empathy she represents) in his quest to be like the father - which is to say, the more lively, excited, and affectively alive father/agent of activity, who obviously seems more attractive to most children when they experience the pleasure of subjectively alive emotions. This awareness arises from intersubjective relations between father (usually) and son. The father enlivens the son in his way of being with him; if he produces a funny and expressive face, the babys mind will 'entrain' with it, and reflect the same affect (this being mediated by 'mirror neuron' type systems in the brain). Eventually, the baby boy's growing right hemisphere (which is much larger in the first 2 years) unconscious aligns along a specific attractor state (the pleasurable affects experienced with the father) so that as complexity emerges the boy begins to associate - quite normally - submission with femininity and activity with masculinity. Of course, these are cultural ways of being inherited from our patriarchal ancestors. It takes time to purge ourselves of these destructive impulses.

As a consequence of Freud's preoccupation with avoiding shame and feelings of vulnerability - the real source of human behavior - he articulated psychoanalysis that skirted these subjects, whereas his student Sandor Ferenzi, obviously of a very different temperament, developed a more intersubjective psychoanalysis that emphasized the role of relations with others in constructing intrapsychic dynamics.

Nevertheless, Freuds great insight was at looking at the human mind in a scientific way. By doing that, Freud discovered the "unconscious" - the part of ourselves which influences how our attentions become oriented to the world around us. Unlike todays 'cognitive unconscious", Freuds discovery was emotional - and how early affective experiences influence mental dynamics. He departed from this 1895 insight and went deep into the void in theorizing about a womens development as a matter of 'penis envy', which, ironically, was probably true in that ultra-masculine society, where woman, forced to experience themselves as vulnerable and needy, unconsciously sought relationships with men who would treat them that way - that is, the strange human proclivity to pursue relationships that are destructive (even subtly so, as in relationships that prioritize men over women). So Freud noted a real phenomenon. However, he mistook it for being some inbuilt genetically determiner characteristic, as opposed to something that is intersubjectively agreed upon - unconsciously - by a collective of minds.

So what is the lesson of psychotherapy that I speak of? The lesson is this. Since about the 1950s, psychoanalysts have grown farther and farther away from the 1 person psychology of Freud (which emphasized fantasies as the source of action) to a 2 (or more) person psychology which emphasized human relationships (and the affects they produce in us) as the source of intrapsychic dynamics (object relations, and the fantasies they produce in us).

Imagine, if you will, you're a psychotherapist working with a difficult and particularly annoying patient. It's not that you want to feel this way, but you just can't stop feeling that this patients voice get's tensed and overly self-aware when he speaks, actually causing you to 'tense' your body as you listen to it. Now imagine that you are under the impression that you are 'neutral', and do not in fact have any influence on the process of the therapy. Although you feel the feelings, and might even label him as 'irritating', you nonetheless insist that the mind can be 'neutral', separate and authoritative in its relations with others. You do this by 'focusing' on interpretations. As it were, you're the scientist viewing the 'unconscious world' of the patient.

This is how psychotherapy was conducted in the 20th century. Nowadays, most psychotherapy is conducted around the concept of a 'intersubjective field', where affects and emotions control responses and perceptions, and not the "language"; in fact, "talk therapy", is really "communication therapy", the emphasis being on the implicit factors of facial expression, tone of voice and expressions of the body, and not the concepts of language.

Everyone knows, implicitly, that what determines their way of being with other people is how these people act towards them. How they greet them, look at them when they're speaking, the energy and the 'feedback' they give, as vitality affects, as the look of interest on another face: these are the things we yearn for, even though we seem to be involved with the meaning-contents of the things we speak about.

The Lesson of psychotherapy is the result of an experiment. Psychotherapists have been gathering information for how to best be with others. We've learned from their experiences how people become influenced by other people; and how these 'meanings' are the result of countless interactions over a life span, each affecting the other.




posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 08:56 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Yes all true. Very nice.


My personal take away, is that it is also a science with predictable results.

And that sometimes sucks....big time.


Oh well, life is what it is, Life.





posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 09:16 PM
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a reply to: Treespeaker

It is. But thats also very cool. That our minds are in a sense just like the artifacts we discover in the sediment. Comparative morphology in different species shows evolutionary continuity, through accretion as well as many other modes.

Yet..Yet. I am witness to all of this.

None of this knowledge does anything to the fact of human beings being the only creatures which are aware of their own existence. Literally, the first things in the universe which can say "I know". Evolution went from things, to living things, to living things that know they are living things.

That's pretty amazing.

If this doesn't strike you with wonder, you have not thought enough about it.



posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 09:20 PM
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a reply to: Treespeaker

Life is a thing that is experienced and perceived. It's already there before any human was created to experience or perceive it.

What is it, within the human complex that is experiencing this life, and perceiving it's limitless avenues?

Saying life is life, sounds like you have no control over it, nor desire to exercise free will within the limitless realm of the universe we are.living in.

Which is polar opposite of truth. You are the one who controls what you think, and the experiences you go through via free choice/ free will.

The rest, especially in the stages after being birthed, is only to influence and mold your perception and choices you make.

Life is life... really sad.

Life is limitless to be experienced by conscious beings who are aware they exist within this universe.

Sorry for being a sticky son of a ... I value life and the unlimited avenues and choices it presents me with



posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 10:11 PM
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a reply to: Elementalist

Beautiful. I feel the same way.



posted on Mar, 5 2015 @ 11:50 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte
Freud was right with his Oedipal orientation - and the outcome is always the same. Children, in learning to identify as a separate body-mind as the ego is created, feel betrayed by and separated from generally the parent of the opposite sex. This infantile feeling of betrayal gets carried over into even our adult lives, as the feeling of separation from everyone and everything that appears external to us.

We live this illusion of separation and find it is supported by everyone else, who are doing the same separative egoic activity. There is no actual ego-I - it is merely an activity of separation/unlove moment to moment.

Once we understand this infantile reaction to feeling betrayed (not loved), we can grow up and enter fully into relationship - our actual native condition.

Obviously, we are actually in a condition of relatedness, not separation. So we value real feeling in relationship above all, not the superficial sense of satisfaction we might get for feeling like we got the best of someone or some thing, or made some extra money, or whatever. In other words, we inherently, at heart, value love above all.



edit on 3/5/2015 by bb23108 because:



posted on Mar, 5 2015 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: bb23108





There is no actual ego-I - it is merely an activity of separation/unlove moment to moment.


That's where I disagree. It's not a situation of this OR that, but this AND that. It's a dialectical construction - the Ego/I - and it's also what allows us to experience meaning and value in our relationships, such as the experience of love, beauty and awe: the "I" is an extraordinarily powerful emergent property of the interpersonal field; however, if one doesn't subordinate it to the field from which it arises, it not only creates destruction, but it spreads itself by forcing others to employ (unconsciously) the same defenses.




Once we understand this infantile reaction to feeling betrayed (not loved), we can grow up and enter fully into relationship - our actual native condition.


Have you read Jessica Benjamin's "Bonds of Love"? In any case, I couldn't agree more



posted on Mar, 5 2015 @ 02:27 PM
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originally posted by: Astrocyte
a reply to: bb23108


That's where I disagree. It's not a situation of this OR that, but this AND that. It's a dialectical construction - the Ego/I - and it's also what allows us to experience meaning and value in our relationships, such as the experience of love, beauty and awe: the "I" is an extraordinarily powerful emergent property of the interpersonal field; however, if one doesn't subordinate it to the field from which it arises, it not only creates destruction, but it spreads itself by forcing others to employ (unconsciously) the same defenses.


What I meant was that the ego-I is simply an activity of separation that we first learned as infants. The ego-I does not actually exist as an entity inside the body-mind.

If one wants to think in terms of the ego-I as an actual entity, it is best equated as the whole body-mind itself. The body-mind can be assumed as separate from other body-minds for the sake of convenience in communication, and obviously other natural requirements, but fundamentally we all arise in a non-separate condition of relationship.

And yes, the ego-I (the body-mind) is entirely subordinate to the indivisible field in which it arises - and the more this is realized, the more the sheer force of this relational condition that we all arise in, will infill the body-mind with real love, life, energy, and intelligence.



you read Jessica Benjamin's "Bonds of Love"? In any case, I couldn't agree more

I will check this out. Thank you!

edit on 3/5/2015 by bb23108 because:



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