Intervene in Groups

In two consecutive days, I learned things about groups. This coincidence puts me on alert (of course). Here’s the result :

ONE

Currently reading Dr Yalom’s autobiography. He tells how he began to work with groups, as a therapist. To train and to learn in University, he joined a 8 days group therapy, sat in a middle of a dozen other people. The psy came in and told the group something about they won’t talk about the past but “the now only” – which is obviously stupid – then she kept her mouth closed. Silence.

Yalom, also there as a watcher of course, saw it coming, a blossom, from silence, of different bursts. Each people had their own way to react, from “Fine!” to “Come on!” to silence, to “She know what she does…” to “You’re manipulating us!”. Then the therapist had like a whole bunch of little trees in front of her, which grew up all by themselves, from a single sentence. Then works with that.

TWO

I talked yesterday with someone who’s a member of an association of “out loud readers“. Of course it’s interesting! You want to know why, and what does one learn in a such place, etc.

He told me the coach was really great, because VERY directive. One person begins to read out loud in front of the assembly, until she squarely interrupts them, give them instructions to follow – beck and call. Most of the time, instructions given are surprising, though clearly made to disturb and break patterns : one plays as an actor, one is slow, or shy, one is grey neutral. Boring.

She orders to whisper, to walk while reading, to be mean or frightening, even if you read a French XIXth Century love novel.

THREE

See me coming? Yalom writes than one of the powers of the therapist comes from… he gives his attention to the patient. I love to think it’s the one secret of all this article. The coach, in a group, pays attention to you. That is a present, and a very powerful thing, in a world where nobody really pays attention.

It’s one of these things which shocks you when you grow up, when you realize that in society, at work, in family, in many circles or conversations :

Most people let you talk waiting for their turn to talk.

They don’t really care : they want their turn.

Thus the simple knack from Dale Carnegie : LISTEN to people. Listen to them really. Then you’ll get smart questions, then listen more.

 

What do you think about ONE and TWO styles of group leaders? Give a small seed then listen and use what you catch, or give strong instructions which will disturb or break patterns? Can this second style be used in therapies?

Thanks for reading!

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“Like love, grief is non negotiable…”

Inexpressible is the trauma following a lover’s suicide, or a the loss of a child. There’s no real advice for grief, and a therapy is maybe necessary.

Here’s what I know :

  • Your ally is time. It doesn’t heal anything, but pain will decrease. Years…
  • You have the right to be in despair, don’t listen to people who want you to stop crying.
  • Decide to study deeply a big culture area, XIXth century classical music or the life of Louis XIV, history of Japan or Italian Renaissance. Study.
  • Exploring Art is often helping.
  • Write to this person on paper, then invent a little ceremony where you’ll burn the letter. Do it each time there’s a “too much”, an overflow of.
  • Find a wounded friend. Support each other like wounded slowalking soldiers : talk.
  • Pills can be necessary, but I read many authors who say that pain has to open its windows, one day or another.
  • Find books, about the “now”, or guilt, philosophy or self help : find your good books.
  • “The rose is without why. It blossoms because it blossoms”. You’ll be exhausted thinking about whys, though.

 

What doesn’t work : travel, drink.

“Like love, grief is non negotiable…”

I just found this text from Nick Cave (his son fell from a cliff and died at 15) about Love & Grief :

 

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I have experienced the death of my father, my sister, and my first love in the past few years and feel that I have some communication with them, mostly through dreams. They are helping me. Are you and Susie feeling that your son Arthur is with you and communicating in some way?

Cynthia, Shelburne Falls, VT, USA

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there. I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there. He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there. Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility. Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.

https://www.theredhandfiles.com/communication-dream-feeling/

Surprising Reversibilities

– I owe you so much!
– No no no, it’s I who owe you…

 

  1. A therapist takes care of his patient.
  2. Stravinsky or Hindemith were influenced by Bach.
  3. Someone is watching and analyzing a painting.

All these three examples are simple and clear. You can draw the arrow, right?

We thinkers like to go deeper, though. To find nuances, subtleties :

  1. There are many ways of listening, of helping someone…
  2. What are the elements which makes us notice the influence?
  3. What do we seek – and find in Arts? An emotion? Links?

You can spend months on each, reading books. Refining concepts is a bliss, right? Good!

 

Today I study one thing : reversibility. It’s meeting a surprise “the other way around”, and it’s charged with intensity :

  1. A therapist suddenly talks about himself. Instead of listening, he tells his own story. The patient is suddenly captivated. This is a well known trick in this field! Psychotherapists say it gives a stronger link (therefore a power) on a patient. Adding humanity in the bond is a strange and powerful idea…
  2. Many specialists come to a point where they see where is Bach in Hindemith, but also that there is some Hindemith (1895-1963) in Bach (1665-1750). Two centuries before, OK, but you can study this the other way around – even if you think it’s “not OK”. It’s a game for spirits, to study how the now can be seen as an influence for the past.
  3. An Art lover studies a painting, a music, and he realizes it works in the other way : the piece of work moves him, changes him, teaches him, overwhelms him. You explore yourself through another person’s work. You are amazed by unconscious and historical forces at stake. Your skin (or your guts) are activated. Astonishment is a trigger for your brain. Then, maybe, you’re… slaked (and this can be in MANY ways), right?

 

A child comes from a mother, a father. But parents are also transformed by the coming. In the end, the person who is a child gives parents… motherhood and fatherhood.

Mhhh I like that. You feel that I touch something here, oui? Where, in what other examples can you imagine this reversibility process? Business? Couple? Creativity? Ads? Poetry? Where, when it’s obvious “things are going this way”, could you reverse something? Therefore what?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Abandonment is a wound you’ll never heal up of

Wound you’ll never heal up of

heal up of? Really? We French have problems with these suffixes, you know? We don’t have these. So… I hope you understand my wobblenglish!

I have a friend – she’s 10 years older than me.

She told me one day she had to see a therapist. Because after a break-up, she was… destroyed inside, devastated for months, for years!

She needed FOUR years of therapy to understand this :

There is NO WAY you can be healed of this “abandonment syndrome”.

Then she told me that when she was confronted with this horrible pain, she just learned to recognize it, and like “talking to the pain” :

“Welcome, you silly devil! Do your stuff, will you? Hurt me. Tear me up. Watch me cry. It’s your job. I don’t care”.

Of course, she cared, in an “as if” pridy mood, like a cow-boy in Arizona “watching the sea”… but she’s aware, now. Maybe it’s the secret : to be aware of her own disastrous pain…

Mind specialists are very found of these theories, as you know. They say you’re devastated “because it resonates with your childhood”, right? Abandonic people, as they say. “You’ll make it, you see”. Acceptance of the pain…

Well. OK. But isn’t it too easy?

Maybe my friend was wounded to the deepest and destroyed inside, not “because she felt like abandoned-by-her-mother as a baby”, but maybe because it’s just terrible to be left by a person you loved, that gave you this feeling of being special, of being alive, and who then changed his mind. Because it’s awful to be rejected like that. Because it’s very strange to see your own brain drowning in “this” loneliness when you lose your sidekick, your soulmate, the man you wanted to marry, the guy who danced with your mind. Because it’s weird to see your life broken, thrown to the ground like dustshit, then being treated with contempt…

Well, etc, right? Everybody’s been there. You don’t count (mean?) anymore. You can park. You can record the big desert you have in you now. You can agree will all theories who say you don’t “need” someone else to be happy. Yeah yeah yeah! You’re just hurt, and alone. Talk to your pain :

“Welcome, you silly devil! Do your stuff, will you? Hurt me. Tear me up. Watch me cry. It’s your job. I don’t care”.

Close your eyes. You’ll never, ever heal. Grab these simple theories (or not). But acceptance is the way. “Shattered by experience and memory”…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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“More of the Same Thing”, when insisting is a failure #Watzlawick #Change

More of the same thing is what I call a “wrong tool”. It means : INSIST. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s stupid. Push push and push in a dead end. Seems easy, but we all do the same mistake.

The pattern is simple :

You have a problem. You think you have the solution. You act. It fails. So you think you have to insist, push, go stronger, “more of the same thing”. you fail.

The problem is “you think into the box”, and you are SURE you have the solution, and that if you insist enough, you will get it. And it’s wrong!

It’s an old classic, told by Palo Alto therapy searchers and Paul Watzlawick. If you want to save your couple, if you want to help someone, if you want to flirt, if you want to talk to someone who doesn’t want to talk : STOP. The solution? It’s at the end of this article!

The book? Paul Watzlawick : Change. Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution.

The author gives an example (which I translated rapidly) :

A teacher in a class has a single kid “with problems”. She asks to meet the parents and learns that he has huge issues, comes from a broken family and is very lonely all the time. So she tries her best to take care of him and give the boy much more interest; but the solution is worse : his notes crash, he is more alone. She insists and it goes into a dead end. The therapist says that “the more of the same thing” she does, the worse it’ll go (what she does isolates the boy from the other kids, for example). She’s asked to ignore him. Only to compliment him if the notes are good. And it worked!

If a wife asks her husband to talk more to her, spontaneously, about his days or thoughts, he will tell little things as an effort, but he will feel more and more closed, which will… make the wife to be more focused on him, waiting, and “more of the same thing”, arguing continuously about why he doesn’t talk to her enough, which will embarrass him more and more, etc.

Chögyam Trungpa, who was a Buddhist Meditation Master, says that if someone answer “No” when you want to talk with him, you just have to disappear. If you don’t, if you insist, you just transform yourself into a nagging (oh, a new word!) Demon. He’s so right!

Of course you know the story of the bunch of guys flirting everyday with the beautiful lady in a bar, with no success. Only one guy understands the problem (“More of the same thing”). He just sits in the bar, no interest, showing his back to her. And paying her the most neutral way every night. And guess what? He become the only one who gets her interest…

The tool is also a dial :

It’s hard to detect when you insist “more of the same thing” stupidly, because you are SURE you’re about to succeed. Don’t be a demon. And think out of the box. Buy the book, by the way, it’s very good.

Thanks for reading!

#clown #lille3000