Archive for the ‘Psyche’ Category


October 22, 2008

There is a strange synchronicity at work! I have become more reflective about my work as a psychotherapist. The new posts here may reflect that. The couple dialogues I facilitate are powerful and impact me as well as the clients.

What are the exact roles that are involved in those dialogues, and the place of language in those roles? The ideas of Hendrix and Rosenberg are important to me. Are they really right that only one partner needs to make a commitment to dialogue?

I return to my roots in Psychodrama. I am doing that in many ways. One is that I will be a trainer in the CITP next year, and also furthering my own training as a Trainer, Educator and Practitioner. I mean roots! What is the nature of the method? The psyche, the drama, roles, and mostly what is the sociometric method. What is the place of healing. I am such a thinker. I have previously written about sociometric criteria for group explorations. See Moreno in Wikipedia for a good summary.

I was inspired listening to Richard Moore, and “Dynamic Facilitation” which they distinguish from Bohmian Dialogue.

And then Pscience, which leads to Bohm via another route, though I had forgotten he even exists.

And Bohm, leads to creativity. He is vitally interested in that subject, like Moreno. He wrote several books on creativity. Which makes me feel like my passion for art is tied in with this larger project. I am so pleased with my couple of years of intensity in that dept!

I am delighted by the unity in my work, the coming together of threads. Even my old interest in politics is included.

So, more on all this will follow.



October 22, 2008

I just made a new Category for my blog. Pscienc. There are heaps of posts back in the past that will need to be categorised.

Psychology and science as a unified field.

I wonder if anyone else has used the name? Plenty, but none that use it in this way. Political science, and there is a band.

Here is the first post I’ll add Murray Gell-Mann


Here are some pscientific questions:

What can we learn about binary stars by doing intentional dialogues with a life-partner?

Should we use the term gravity or will Eros do?

Is there such a thing as psychic energy? Libido? In psychology is energy a metaphor? What if it were a metaphor in physics as well?

Was Jung right to think the law of thermo-dynamics applies to psychic energy?

What can Moreno’s “social atom” for the smallest social unit needed for survival teach us about the structure of the atom in physics? And vice versa.

Is a social dyad like a quantum phenomena in that once observed the phenomena is transformed?

Does isomorphy, i.e self-similarity, work all the way from the big-bang to a synapse in our brain?

Ideas, stories and metaphors impact on on the world. They are real in their consequences. Therefore God is real.

Proof in maths is different from proof in physics. How do you prove you love someone? What if we applied standards of proof from one context in another? We already do: The theorem is true because it is elegant.


Dynamic Facilitation

October 21, 2008

Here is a Manual for Dynamic Facilitation.

Report on Online Dialogues!

Jim Rough’s book:



The online manual is pretty good!

The whole manual is through, informative and while all is familiar it looks as if they have found an ordinary simple structure that could well work! Here is an excerpt from the manual,



Most approaches that are designed to help groups address practical difficulties and challenges do not utilize emergent process. Instead, they tend to rely on structured agendas, pre-determined sequences of steps, and negotiated decisions. Dynamic Facilitation takes a different approach, inviting participants to remain within a creative process where group “aha’s” can occur.

There are other approaches to group facilitation that also follow the “emergent process” of a group, such as Bohmian Dialogue and T-groups. Facilitators practicing these processes also refrain from leading the group through any set series of “steps,” and from “managing consensus” in any way. However, these approaches have not been designed for the purpose of addressing practical issues, and quite understandably do not lend themselves well to that purpose.

In Bohmian Dialogue, the main purpose of the group is to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of the thinking process. In T-groups, the purpose is to develop interpersonal understanding. In contrast, the purpose of Dynamic Facilitation is to help people discover creative and practical approaches to challenging issues. This can include anything from “How do we design a better workplace?” to “How do we address the homeless problem in our community?”

In the process of arriving in a non-directive manner at new and creative solutions, people tend to also arrive at better interpersonal understandings, and they may even have some realizations about “the nature of thought.” But while these can emerge as “added benefits”, they are not our principal focus.

While markedly different in some respects, there are other ways in which Dynamic Facilitation is very similar to the practice of Transformative Mediation (Bush and Folger, 2004). Both of these approaches have very active interventions at the micro level, designed to support each participant’s contribution. And, at the macro level, they both refrain on principle from any effort to “manage” or negotiate convergence, choosing to “follow the process,” instead of directing it.

Dynamic Facilitation also bears some strong resemblances to Dialogue Mapping, a computer-assisted version of cognitive mapping (Conklin, 2005.)

Alan Lightman

October 16, 2008

Alan Lightman is a novelist, essayist, physicist, and educator. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I got interested listening to him being interviewed, with the first part of the interview mainly about the relationship between art & science.

Click to play, right click to download
Kim Hill last week

Heartening because he & Kim were able to broach this interrelationship at all. That is what makes this such a treat to listen to. He is a writer & a scientist. He is married to a painter.

Frustrating because he sees a gap between the sciences and the arts, creativity, that need not be there at all. I am thinking of the science that Moreno advocates, and I write about in my paper, see this post & link here.

He speaks about how the idea is more important in science than the presentation. But is it? Beauty & truth are more interrelated than that. Also the expression about the world is always a map, the nature of the correspondence between the map & the territory is varied but at this level e=mc2 is a map in much the same way as the Mona Lisa.

True, the terms are defined in scientific language. But language itself is also defined, with more fuzzy, and hence often more effective rules. Science has not learned the sociometric method yet. Just wait till it hits the world! The sociometric revolution is yet to come.

Good communication & Psychotherapy

October 4, 2008

I see two qualities as essential to psychotherapy:

  • The crucible of the relationship. This is formed through the engament process and framed by purpose, time and money agreements.
  • Attention to the unconscious. Work with dreams & transference (perhaps better but more obscurely phrased as the isomorphy of dynamics.)

I educate about communication in relationship. I have done it since the early 80s , but with my enthusiasm as I learnt to work more fully with the crucible & the unconscious, I took this aspect for granted. I have also wondered at times if I was too interventionist, thus creating unnecessary transference.

Right now I want to claim it as useful, important. It is right to teach cognitive psychological material if the client will benefit from that. Then comes the crucial question what to teach? What is in the manual? How to teach it?

Some principles:

Firstly the crucible, the therapeutic relationship and unconscious processes must come first, or there will be no sustained deep work.

The educative work can be integrated into the psychotherapy.

And what is worth teaching? This must be under constant review as just what is good communication an art.

Recently I discovered Marshall Rosenberg, the whole NVC system is worth learning. See my earlier post.

Dialogue process as taught by Harville Hendrix is worth knowing. Here is a description of the Intentional Dialogue by Dawn J. Lipthrott.

There are dozens of principles of good communication in Transactional analysis. They have become part of my being over the years but I leaned about them first in an out of print book by Hogie Wycoff. There is a paper on the net that covers some of that: The Theory and Practice of Cooperation. One that is central to this paper and good communication is the understanding of the Karpman triangle

One of the difficulties many people face is that rather than learning about effective communication they learn ideas about “positive thinking”, and even “assertiveness”. They so easily lead to problems. “Positivity” misused, can cover pain & lead to annoyance when others express pain. Such tools in the culture are readily used to cope, but they do not enable deeper connection, they do not allow needs to be clearly identified. “Assertiveness” misused, can prevent the attitude put forward by Rosenberg, that we focus the needs of both parties. Over coming the forces in the culture that foster poor communication is an essential part of psychotherapy in my opinion. As both Rosenberg and Wycoff point out many of these linguistic modes are based to sustain a culture of dominance and submission.

Teaching is most needed & relevant long before clients arrive for help. The arrive with psychological trauma of adverse relationships in their lives. They maybe in deep pain and not receptive to learning. Yet at those times we can model, re-frame in language that leads to insight. For example (and I’ll just offer one for now), when someone confuses think and feel, in the active listening the therapist can untangle it:

“I feel no-one loves me”

You think no one loves you, I imagine you feel sad when you think that.

The Hungry Duck

August 27, 2008

Please only fulfill this request
if you can do it with the joy
of a small child feeding a hungry duck.

Please do not oblige me if you feel
coercion of any kind, such as by guilt,
shame, punishment, reward, duty,
or obligation”

This is a card to hand out after making a request. Based on NVC – Marshall Rosenberg.

Been finding many more great resources:

Raising Children Compassionately
by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Resisting the Urge to Throw a Pain Ball
By Serena Fennell

An excellent summary on Wikipedia


Murray Gell-Mann

August 20, 2008


Murray_Gell-Mann: Home

book Amazon

book Amazon

I want to quote one review from Amazon:

4.0 out of 5 stars The True Meaning of this Book, November 11, 2000
By Leonardo Motta
I decided to write this review because I thought none of the reviews really mentioned the main focus of this book. This is not a book about Quantum Mechanics, nor molecular biology, nor neurobiology. In this book, the great Gell-Mann exposes his ideas of why all subjects of science (from physics, to chemistry, to biology, to psychology) must be studied together, why they are related and also he shows models of how to do this unified study. He defends that reductionism is not the only way of doing science, in opposition of the philosophical ideas of Steven Weinberg and Richard Feynman. This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, because there aren’t many books that are against pure reductionism written by reductionism defenders. Gell-Mann is not against reductionism, but against PURE reductionism; he think its nice to explain a complex phenomenon based on the theory of its contents but its also important to study the phenomenon in his actual level, studying the way that the complex works. Not only the simple. Thats the origin of the name: Quark, the simple, and the Jaguar, the complex.

Beauty is Truth

August 20, 2008

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Ode on a Grecian Urn – John Keats

I just listened to a

Click to play, right click to download
TED talk by Murray Gell-Mann

He is eloquent about how beauty works in the investigation of truth in science. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, there is pattern in nature, there is symmetry and self symmetry.

Why this is such a great talk for me is that it ties in with an essay I wrote a few years ago (and it is still under construction) about practice based evidence in psychotherapy. I write about a profound knowing that happens in psychotherapy that is scientific, and not at all like the physical sciences. Nor is it part of the social research that looks scientific but is just pseudo science.

Psychotherapy & Science

especially the section on Alice that concludes:

Finding repeating patterns in what might at first glance appear to be unrelated material is very like the scientific endeavour in the physical world. Once a pattern is clearly seen then we have established a law of nature. To think of the work with Alice – which is typical of our psychotherapeutic work – as a form of research requires a shift of perspective, but it is clearly in a similar realm.

The dynamics that repeat independently of the content are understood through a visceral experience, tears and laughter. When yet another instance of the pattern is spotted it corroborates and often extends the understanding. When the dynamic is evident, though in a minor way in the psychotherapy itself it is a full experiential knowing that is shared in the psychotherapy space. Both the psychotherapist and the client can easily use such words as knowing, understanding which are the very things that scientific research aims for.

Psyberspace Podcast – the role of the therapist in couple work

May 15, 2008

For Imago colleagues

Tight Structure
Seamless flow
Recent shift

Four developments in my work:

a – bcr structured couple therapy – no dialogue
b – refining a topic
c – analysis of the dynamics to facilitate dialogue
d – coaching re: thoughts & feelings

Click to play, right click to download
Psyberspace Podcast 2008-05015

Click to listen, right-click to download or better still subscribe to this blog in a reader and you can easily see which posts have audio attached, and then put them on your player.

Podcast – Psyberspace – Relationship

May 10, 2008

Psyberspace, this blog, occasionally has audio I make. Occasionally. Rarely.

Here is a ten minute one, I called it relationship, but it is about one small sliver of thought about listening to your partner.

Podcast – Psyberspace – Relationship

Right click to download. Or click to listen.

How to end Psychotherapy

March 23, 2008

60 Percent Of Psychotherapy Clients Felt Therapy Didn’t End On Time

This article makes sense to me from my experience.

Time is such a critical factor in psychotherapy, beginnings, middles and especially endings. People often want to wean off therapy by coming les frequently. I discourage that and suggest we make a focus & work on a good ending. Even so there are false endings! People come back for another go at it.

In Psychotherapy Online my experience is different. I have a more flexible time frame for “appointments”, while I stick to a maximum of one hour sessions for my email responses, the work can also be spread out in smaller exchanges and because I don’t need to make calendar appointments for email work there is a flexibility that finds its way into making a more natural ending as well.

In general, clients who reported that termination was on time were more satisfied with their therapy. Factors contributing to positive feelings about termination included perceiving the experience of termination as an expression of independence, reflection of positive aspects of the therapeutic relationship and a reflection of positive gains experienced in therapy.

“Results suggest that clients find terminating psychotherapy at the right time important and yet difficult to achieve, and that clients experience a wide range of feelings, many positive, during the termination phase, which call for a reconceptualization of the role of the therapist during this important phase of psychotherapy.”

Exitential Psychotherapy – Yallom

March 22, 2008>Online version of the book.

I have been given a copy of the 1980 hard copy and it is on the top of my reading list at last.

Psychotherapy Online

December 19, 2007

Psychotherapy Online

I have just updated my psychotherapy online page. Just a tweak here or there, but it is amazing how I want to change it just a little every few months.

I added the words: dream, Jung, Psychodrama and Moreno to my first page. These words sum up my special interests and skill, so the should be there!

J. L. Moreno & CBT

December 13, 2007

George Kelly was influenced by J.L. Moreno Wikipedia. The interesting thing I just learned from my friend Don is that Kelly in turn was an influence on Beck, one of the founders of CBT.

Makes sense, in that the work of Moreno is about the whole person, thoughts, feelings and action, the individual, the collective, the practical, the relational and the cosmic.

In the psychotherapy I do it is useful to move along the continuum of role training on the one hand and the psychological roles and the psychodynamic aspects that Moreno called the psychodramatic.

Layout back to normal.

September 21, 2007

But what it looked like  was something like the Socio site.  My image, also on Thousand Sketches is used as the masthead.

The encounter symbol.  Nice.  It does draw my attention to the difference between up and down as opposed to left & right.  Horizontal implies equality, or perhaps more neutrally, it implies similarity.  The up/down  in this encounter symbol seems like different entities interacting.

Up /down has some power implications, or is that just cultural? Maybe it is OK!  Maybe it is always good to know, who is earthy, who is airy.   Maybe every encounter is a meeting of earth & sky. The “masculine” aspect is the top one it would seem, but the overvaluing of that is probably cultural.

Google psychotherapy delivers good news – but caution is always called for.

April 7, 2007

Intensive Psychotherapy More Effective Than Brief Therapy For Treating Bipolar Depression

I see stuff like this in my custom google psychotherapy news item.  It seens thgere is a run of research that says psychotherapy is better when intendive & psychodynamic.  More effective than drugs or at least more effective than drugs on their own and so on.

This sort of research is dubious, but I know from so many years of work as a psychotherapy that it fits with my experience.

But there is a danger too, psychotherapy can go badly wrong with a bad therapist, and how do you know?

Easy to know one thing: boundaries.  If there is anything other than meetings in the therapists rooms, for a fee then beware.

Suppression of the feminine

April 6, 2007

Listened to an interesting podcast from Future Primitive featuring Max Adashu who is writing volumes on Witches – Suppressed History

I like her politics and her sane approach to the supression of the feminine, which includes the suppression of the psych, and all things psychological (in the true soul anima sense of the word.) I liked the phrase that in culture male is default.

Art on her site here

Download Podcast here

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for panic disorder – silly?

March 29, 2007

Try using psychodynamic psychotherapy for panic disorder — HealthandAge:

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for panic disorder, according to a new study comparing it with relaxation therapy. Panic disorder is a common and debilitating condition characterized by bouts of extreme anxiety, dizziness, palpitations and chest pain. It accounts for as many as 20 per cent of US emergency room visits. Antidepressant therapies can be used to treat it, as can cognitive behavioral therapy. In a new study, researchers at New York -Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center reveal that psychodynamic psychotherapy is also a useful approach. A group of 49 patients was assigned to either 12 weeks of twice weekly psychodynamic therapy or to applied relaxation training. The psychoanalysis was twice as effective as the relaxation. In the study, 73 per cent of those on psychotherapy reported improvement, compared to only 39 per cent in the relaxation group. Psychodynamic psychotherapy allows helps patients confront the root causes of the fear that drives their panic disorder. This was only a small study but the results are promising enough to justify its extension to larger groups of patients.

Source American Journal of Psychiatry March 2007

I suppose it is good to see this sort of report. However it is all nonsense. They muddle up the distinction between psychoanalysis & psychodynamic psychotherapy, and worse it the idea that psychodynamic psychotherapy is focused on a particular symptom with a particular outcome. It may be that there is deep trauma under the panic and even 24 sessions is rushing it. Worse still is that the clients will have had to consent to a battery of tests.

Psychotherapy is like some particles in physics – it changes if you observe it from the outside.

Nice to see a test that says psychotherapy os ok, but still silly

Repeal Section 59

March 28, 2007

Scoop: Get It Straight: Repeal Section 59 And Cut Crime:

Anne Else’s Letter gets it right.


October 10, 2006

In the last post I wrote about my Thousand Sketches project – and how it has its roots in many things I have done. One of those projects was “Psybernet” it predates my involvement with the Internet – it began on Fidonet. That project hit me with a bang just like the Thousand Sketches just has. It was the realisation that the online communication I was involved in (in CompuServe at that time) was intrinsically psychological. I was familiar with Psychodrama and knew – from experience – how groups could be an incubator for psychological transformation.

Cyberspace was full of groups! I wanted a group that was consciously exploring this online space in a psychological way and Psybernet was it. That original group began on the Psybernet BBS, then moved to L-soft mailing list, and then to eGroups which were bought out by Yahoo groups.

While my focus has been on the dramas that unfold in groups – I also found out a lot about the infrastructure of online groups. Some software was better than others, and there are many more mature forms now. Caucus is a web forum that is the best I have experienced for conversation online. There are plenty of good email lists, but some do not handle files or the web all that well. For the best of all worlds for online groups using the Web & email is OnlineGroups.Net. It is very good as a web based forum and excellent for email, groups can all be accessed either way, and they can cohere on a site to form a community.

All this is on my mind as I am thinking about Thousand Sketches because the first person I shared my Psybernet ideas with as they emerged in the early 1990s was Dan Randow the main developer of OnlineGroups.Net. He was in both IT and Psychodrama and he immediately saw the online group potential for very productive work. Dan went on to develop a career facilitating groups online for organisations, for a while I worked in the company he established, GroupSense.

The initial philosophy was to use available technology. eGroups were a mainstay for GroupSense, but that went sour when Yahoo! pruchased them. It became much harder to integrate the tech into a group’s life. People needed a Yahoo ID and the messages carried ads. Something new was needed.

That led to GroupServer an open source project which has well a developed implementation at OnlineGroups.Net

I have been using the sevice for may years and have felt at home there for professional & personal groups.

OnlineGroups.Net is now offering sites with groups to the public, this is a new development and I find it fascinating how those discussions over the years with Dan about creating forms to enhance group life has led to us making public our endeavours, though different, at the same time! In the case of Dan, excellent software for groups, and for me Thousand Sketches.

Of course I have an Announcement Group for Thousand Sketches at OnlineGroups.Net.