An understanding conversation in dasainsanalysis.
Conversation (Psychological aspects)
|Publication:||Name: Existential Analysis Publisher: Society for Existential Analysis Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Society for Existential Analysis ISSN: 1752-5616|
|Issue:||Date: July, 2009 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 2|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom|
Every psychotherapeutic school has its basic therapeutic methods. Daseinsanalysis (DA) considers essential the understanding conversation. It is also the starting point for other methods: interpretation of dreams, free imagination and work with the small and/or large psychotherapeutic groups, family therapy and psychosomatic therapy.
Speech And Conversation
For a man, the world is constituted by language. It means that the world the way we know it, the way we can understand it and the way we can meaningfully live in it, depends on the way we make it through the language a known, understandable and communicable space in which our existence is actualised. The speech explains and forms us. (M. Heidegger, H. G. Gadamer)
This is why the conversation in which the language becomes meaningful is the take-off method of DA therapy.
The conversation is not about a delivery of information; information exchange does promote and provide for it, under certain circumstances, but it is not its basis. The conversation is not a mere means of communication, but it is a human effort of the existence of "being together at the same thing with the other in the conversation". Such as the conversation dies through the absence of the listener, the human capacity of being oneself dies with one's silence the same way. (M. Heidegger. J. Patocka)
The other need not be physically present, we can also speak to ourselves. Our being in the world, the existence, is not monolithic; it is not materialised only in a certain place and at a certain time. It does not lead only one way, it heads in all directions. The conversation is not only "here" and then with the counterpart, but it is distributed in the space of relating. We do not lead only one conversation, that happens only in extreme or rare cases. We talk in consecutive and mutually permeating conversations with those who are topically related to us in the contexts of the world where we dwell together. Through the conversation we find ourselves in a network of language, in a stream of speeches that run through. We then enter into the currents of the stream to be carried away by it through our participation. We cannot understand the conversation only as a mode of relating. The conversation contains the presence of what is spoken of together with the adjacent contexts, and at the same time also the world with challenges through which it turns toward us. And along with it, also our pronounced or unvoiced, yet awaking or already awaken responding to it. Our existence is the conversation.
Conversation and its aspects.
1. Respectful listening
Re-spicere means to "repeatedly acknowledge what is worth esteem".
Patient: I had a bad day yesterday.
Therapist: Yesterday was not very good.
P: Well, mainly in the evening when I realised none of my children came to see me again.
T: You were expecting some of your children to come and see you during the weekend, and they didn't which spoilt the impression of the whole weekend.
P. Yes, it spoilt all my day, even though actually I felt quite satisfied in the morning. I went shopping and there were not too many people and then I stopped in a shop with furnishings and stuff. I found a very nice table mats and bed clothes for the grandchildren.
T. I see, so Sunday was not doing too badly, you were happy to have the things for them, but something disappeared, the joy, you felt lonely and you also stayed alone.
P: Yes ... , I better went to bed early....
T: You preferred to sleep it off.
P. I needed to cut off it.
T: Hmmm, you better left it behind ...
P. At least for a while.
T: So that you did not have to perceive the pestering disappointment.
P: It is really cruel of them!
T: They do not see how you are affected by it.
P: It hurts and it's also so humiliating....
T: It hurts your dignity ...
P: I humiliate myself ... and I cannot stop myself thinking of them ... , I can't do it ...
T. You cannot get separated from them so easily. Is that what you mean?
P. Exactly ...
T: ... hm ... , as if nothing beside them were fulfilling you.
P. Well, there is not much for me in life.
T: Nothing appears to be there except them.
P: And should there be?
T: That is not a bad question. It seems to show the way out of the depression.
In the conversation, the patient is saying what happened to her and how she spent her Sunday. The therapist listens closely and he is verifying as well as looking for the sense of what was said. The complaints of the patient over the ingratitude of her children must be respected. It is a painful confrontation with the reality. But it also shows that the patient is not resigned, she only does not know yet how to go on. However, her last question opens up a new topic, the search for a way out.
The therapist respects not only the topic, but also the patient's possibilities to be oriented in it and let the accessible resorts arise for her. Ho does not interpret the motivations or "hidden" meanings of hypothetical motives, he does not offer hypothetical "solutions"; he is listening because in the conversation, in the space of the pronounced, the sense of the troubles is discovered, but there also appears what is achievable within the possibilities of the patient and how. (O. Calek). He does not hurry, does not impose his pace on the patient, but adapts himself to her while inviting her to try and use her often undistinguished or forgotten potential. Where there appears the space for the patients potential, he enters it before her to wait, if necessary. "And should (not) there be?" is the possible turning point, a question stepping out of the state of loneliness, humiliating stranding in a careless family, out of the circuit of the patient's life burdened with sadness. It is the patient's provocation of the therapist: "try it together with me, show me how, help me, is there still any chance?" And the therapist must be prepared not only for lengthy stages of tired wandering where there is no spark of self-confidence nor the security bringing the self-confidence, he must be watchfully regardful of the glimmers of the light of hope, in which the new possibilities appear: "And should there be? ... His response brings a praiseful appreciation and confirms the hope: "That is not a bad question ... ".
Respectful listening in this respect resembles the non-directive conversation by Carl Rogers. DA considers some Rogers' attitudes consonant. Empathy opens up the joint space for meeting, therefore it can be considered an ascension to understanding. Respect, esteem a tolerance together with an unconditioned acceptance of the patient are akin to DA.
(Note: In DA we do not recommend to especially emphasize empathy. Under certain circumstances, empathy brings understanding. But in DA it is not central. We have verified repeatedly that emphasizing it leads to mutual tuning more often than required in DA, however, not necessarily to understanding. Even though we pay great attention to this danger, we have found out that it is difficult to control it so that it does not lead to a regular co-acting-out).
2. Understanding concern
By understanding concern we mean the specific reality of the psychotherapeutic activity. The daseinsanalyst is required to have his/her understanding of the patient led in the context of the original anthropological clues. They involve the consideration of the patient's features the way they instantly appear. Important are the cultural and social-anthropological aspects of the patient's current life and his/her history as well as the recognition of the patient's direction, tuning and motivating intentions. The understanding concern also means appropriate, patient-welcoming openness and the readiness to involvement, which is professionally conditioned at the same time.
The understanding concern is sympathetic and comprehending. It is necessary to find the sense of the problem and the corresponding action, not only the various determinants.
(Note: We have been intrigued recently by the involvement of a Slovak psychotherapist in a state authority power misuse when his patient was traumatized not only by being brutally attacked by unknown men, but also by the attitude of the state police that worked against the patient upon a political order. Her psychotherapist was curing her post-stress reaction, but he also helped her in other areas of her life. He got her a lawyer, notified the press.)
In DA we can only recommend approaches; the internal order and rules must always be used with regard of the situation. They must not be an inhibiting programme or a mindless activity matrix. The following example is to show what DA means by the understanding concern in the patient's situation.
This example also prompts why it is impossible in DA to move thoughtlessly, stereotypedly nor causalistically in the patients' time dimensions. It is also evident that the synchronicity of all temporal dimensions in the existence of Life take place in the present and not in the irrecoverable past. We open up the past if it is materialised in the present so much that it cannot control it any more. Or if the past paralyses the present so much that nothing sensible remains in it to allow the projection of the future. The relief, however, is only possible through the new belief founded in the present and the hope set upon the possibilities opened by the future times horizon. The new stepping out makes us change the past relations and conditions, which is indispensable for the change.
3. Prejudice-free acceptance, esteem and agape
In DA, the respectful acceptance of the patient without prejudice toward his/her illness and its individual demonstrations is of the essence. However, the prejudice-free acceptance does not concern to, the prejudice used in the common estimation. Here we mean the prejudice issuing from the determination of a man, if understood reductively. From this fact, there issues prejudice, which cannot be avoided, put away or surpassed by any complementary and therefore secondary corrections and exhortation. Examples of prejudice in psychotherapeutic schools and directions:
The training psychoanalysis has been doing not very well for some time, both parties are unsatisfied, it is difficult to speak about it, also because in fact "there is not any problem".
The postgraduate finally asks how the analyst understands this unpleasant situation, how he would explain it. The answer is: "There is resistance which needs to be broken."
The student protests: "But the resistance, as you call it, is me. And I do not want to be broken."
The therapist continues: "What you are saying reflects one form of resistance, which is intellectualisation. You know very well that I do not mean it literally, that it is only a parable."
S: "So what are going to do with me? Now I do not understand the parable at all. I really resist and I refuse that anything violent be done with me. I simply just don't want that."
T: "I am not going to do anything with you; you yourself must view the unconscious motive of your behaviour."
S: "There is not anything unconscious in me. In any case, I do not know about it. I only know that I do not want you to do anything unpleasant to me, something that might hurt. And how can I get to something unconscious when I am unconscious of it?"
T. ignores the question and asks: "Have you any experience of anyone hurting you?"
The conversation implies an unrelated presumption of existence of resistance, i.e. when psychoanalysis gets stuck, another prejudice is some kind of a foregone conclusion of the existence of unconsciousness as well as the ignoring of patient's fear of the given situation by diverting the patient to another, temporally distant topic, because it is presumed that it is the violent experience that is true motive of the contemporary apprehension.
In advance, we must reject the reservation that the above example shows rather a badly led training analysis and that it has nothing in common with the merit of the case. On the contrary, the example is a typical description of soundness that issues from the reductive conception of a man. (M. Boss, G. Condrau)
The reverence of a man in DA issues from the meeting of an emerging entity, with a human being, from the "miracle" of his being. M. Buber speaks of the "I-You" relation, which is different from the objective "I-It" relation. In a similar way, the "I-Them" meeting differs from the "I-You" relation in the advanced "We".
But we must care of existence. It is a kind care which has no other motives, including the sexual or spiritual ones. It is governed by compassion and considerate care. (It is an expression of responsibility for the others in the sense of Levinas). This kind of love, the agape, protects both the psychotherapist and the patient from the erotic love. (compare M. Buber. E. Levinas. V. Frankl, M. Boss).
4. The search of the sense
In DA, the sense does not mean any vanishing goal, it is not the central teleological motive to which other motives are subordinated or are secondary by their mediocrity or derived from the basic motifs. (compare with e.g. V Frankl, F.H. Allport, A.H. Maslow, H. Hartmann, D. Rappaport, also H. Kohut. O. Kernberg).
A methodologically ineglectable principle must be added. An adequate explanation of the contemporary facts of our existence can only be executed from themselves. This is why DA does not explain symptom from the past, the same way as a tree cannot be explained from its roots. We can only see where they reach, but the present into which all other times vent, shows their sense. If the components of the past and future do no semantically enter the lived present, if they do not turn into it, the references to it are not worth anything in the therapy.
Wife: I still cannot get pregnant. We are trying, but it does not work.
Husband: Well, we are already pretty tired of it.
Therapist: Tired? Tired of the effort and vane endeavour?
W: We are beginning to lose hope.
H: Well, I think I am not ... (guilty turn to the wife, then to the therapist)
W: (irritated) ... You keep underestimating it. It makes me unhappy and you do not understand!
H: ... So we do it the artificial way, or we can wait!
W: I do not want to wait any more. Who are you so concerned about?
T: It is quite stressful for both of you. But I still lack something here ...,
W: I lack being finally pregnant and being able to live my life.
T: You are not living it?
W: (looks at the husband; it looks like there is a topic she cannot speak of without the husband's consent)
H: (seems to be angry, looks obstinate, keeps silent)
T: We have probably hit some important topic that you prefer not to speak of with others ...
W: (silent, looks at the ground with tears in her eyes, husband's temper is evidently rising, he is really angry).
T: It is alright that you are angry; you surely have a reason (to the husband). (turns to the wife) In the same way, the pity is your reaction to frustration. It is quite common in a marriage that the true reasons of discord are the most difficult to speak of. What if you wrote what truly hampers you on a piece of paper and then you will give it to the husband. Then he will reply to you the same way. Do not forget to ask for understanding and thank for the effort.
W: (writes) I want to ask you, please, not to get angry when I write this. I don't mean anything bad, you can really trust me. What bothers me most is furniture after your parents in the bedroom. I like them both, but it is as if I had them behind my back all the time. So sorry, and thank you for reading this.
H: I also apologise for my mistrust. But you still do not understand that they are my parents. I am not going to throw out their furniture.
T: Would it be possible to store the furniture somewhere outside the flat for a year, and after that get back to the case and make a better decision?
H: (hesitates) ... Well. I might be possible somehow to deposit it somewhere, is that what you mean ... ?
T: Yes something of the kind. So, is there a possible agreement? And come in three months.
The couple agree to store the furniture in a friend's barn. The wife is evidently satisfied, she seems to have unbend. The husband is rather less happy, but he certainly is not so mistrustful. Also other partial recommendations were agreed upon to support the basic agreement.
Both of them come after three months. Already at the door, they are reporting: We are expecting!
T: That is a wonderful news. Congratulations. Suddenly everything changed, didn't it?
W: I got relieved after the conversations ... the burden fell off me.
H: (slightly constrained) Well ,,, I am glad, but I really do not understand women ... It did not work for such a long time, and then such a....
T: Don't be afraid to say it, triviality ... a straw ... (all of them laugh, the husband a little constrainedly, the wife pregnantly and the therapist relieved and satisfied).
The sense of "infertility" was evident. The patient could not found the family where she would feel her own and untouchable privacy, her "home nest". The patient lived with his parents since ever, very close. He did not understand what his wife objected against their presence, "if it is so nice to have good relations with one's parents". The marriage founded on this freedom-lacking basis did not make any sense to the woman, why should she then risk pregnancy. This is why the therapist offered a temporary solution, bearable for both. It proved that they were able to effectuate it, and a new joint perspective opened up for them. There also opened the possibility of the wife's pregnancy.
(It was necessary to continue for several months working on the clarification and mutual understanding, approximation, trust and new possibility of their marital coexistence. Both grandparents were invited to one of the sessions; their sober and poignant inputs helped the marital understanding.)
5. Amplificatory interrogation, search for contexts
Looking for contexts is also part of the conversation. Looking for contexts means a view of the horizons of our existence that delimit and trace out our world. The amplificatory interrogation opens up and amplifies these horizons. In psychotherapy we consider especially those that are tied with the illness and its cure, but because the illness is not simply a set of symptoms, but it is also a sequence of incidents and events that took place in the life of a patient, it is necessary to study it in integrated life context.
P: (seventeen year old grammar school girl suffering from agoraphobia): Mother is afraid that I will have bad results at school, and I am afraid too.
Therapist: Mummy is afraid that you will not cope with the loads to learn? And you are not very sure either, are you?
P: We, ... I would cope, but she's afraid.
T: Rather than the lot of learning, you are rather more afraid, that mummy will be sorry for your results ...
P: It's not quite that my results be bad, but ... that she will be ashamed of me.
T: Hm ... So you must be careful so that you are not your mother's disgrace, so you are watching the marks rather than what you are learning at school.
P: Biology would be fun, but I have bad marks in it.... (It appears that the girl had only one B from a written exam last year and the teacher "criticised" her in front of the class for her second place in the nationaly contest in biology.)
T: If you did not have to watch the absolute perfection of your marks, biology ... it seems to be interesting to you in a special way.
P: I'd really love to understand it, but ... (keepes silent).
T: And do you talk to your mum about these things?
P: No, mum's only concerned that I might have bad results.
T: This is a problem I would rather speak to your mother about.
P: She will be afraid that the will have to be ashamed of me ... so she won't come.
T: What if I came to see you at home? Would you complain?
P: (revived) I would not object against that at all.
T: Alright. So I'll call your mother. Do you agree?
P: If you think so ,,,
T: It was my idea, I'll tell that to your mum!
P: (wiggles in the chair) Alright!
The conversation opens up several topical horizons the importance and position of which is discovered and shifted throughout the conversation. From school marks we get to the topic of a constrained home where the daughter and the mother, due to school results, got stuck in shame and single-faced evaluation, aimed at an impression of correctness and perfection. At the same time we learn something about the girl, about her interests and boundaries which are related with the lack of freedom of the mother. The lack of freedom in a constrained home impends the girl's freedom, and the psychotherapist's suggestion to visit their home is a step opening the door to the world not only for the girl, but also for the whole family. At the same time, there appears and deepens the mutual relation between the therapist and the patient and also members of the family. After the visit to the family, it shows that the mother who until recently lived in one of the countries of the former Yugoslavia emigrated to the Czech Republic after her husband's violent death. To safeguard both her children (there is also a younger brother of the patient), she considers their education the key to their secure future. But she suffered a number of traumas herself, so I proposed help from our clinic. The assurance of the mother that the daughter is gifted, capable and more independent than the mother realises, enabled her to open up the topics of her own life. The mother subsequently went through a succesful therapy of a post-traumatic stress reaction and the overall climate in the family improved a lot.
6. Appositeness of formulation, search for an expression
We see the appositeness of formulation very well in art. Two pictures are not alike even though they depict the same thing. It is not crucial how the matter is expressed to be accepted, it is decisive whether it is accepted. It is synoptic in cootherapy. Both therapists say the same thing, but one uses a more burly form and the patient chooses that one. On another occasion it is the one that catches the patient by surprise and he rather reaches for a neutral expression. Another time it is necessary to discover the meaning. Then we in fact look for the word that would discover it, the guessed becomes the discovery. The search for an expression, however, is not limited to a verbal statement. Very precise and apposite are bodily expressions, either motive-mimic or kinetic, as well as physiological. Also because of that we use the non-verbal procedures and methods.
(Note: Nevertheless, it is necessary to observe that in the space of the human way of being, the verbal language is basic. Without it, our comprehension and understanding would not be possible within the entirety of our lives. It is because we convert also the non-verbal expressions into the verbal ones. Psychotherapy would not otherwise be able to function, nor even exist. This is why DA uses the non-verbal techniques to a different extent, but it deprecates the theories of "more natural ways of communication", which the non-verbal communication is sometimes passed for. We do not know a better and a more adequate means of understanding the world than the human language).
In psychotherapy it is necessary to look for expressions that truly describe what the patient means and for the expressing of which he needs his/her idiomatic, culturally or otherwise conditional speech means.
T: You seem to be always dissatisfied with your son somehow.
P: Well, not always, really ...
T: It is that severity of yours ...
P: (keeps silent).
T: Is it very hard to talk about it?
P: On no, I don't mind.
Group member: You seem blocked to me.
P: (revived) It is probably ... , I am blocked, that's true ,,, it is ... , alright, yes, I'm blocked!
A depressively tempered woman, as if frozen and lost in fixed ideas and conditions, moving hard and ungainly. The colour of her skin is unhealthy and sodden, her formerly slender figure getting shapeless. The cure is not successful, anti-depresives and the group therapy have only a supportive effect.
T: Klara, I keep wondering what's happening to you, and when I look at you I have an impression as if you were filled with something strange ...
P: (looks inapprehensive at first, then it is evident that she is thinking hard).
T: Can you sand up so that to show evidently how that "thing inside" fills you up? Simply express that physical feeling fully. Even exaggerate it.
P: stands up, stands like a golem. Then moves about the room wobbling without a goal. We are all astonished.
T: Can you feel something inside you?
T: Alright. And where is it present most inside you? Which part of the body does it occupy most?
P: points at the belly, toward lower abdomen.
T: (encouraging her) Well ... ?!
P: (speaks) It's disgusting! It is everywhere inside me, in the belly, in the genitals, anus....
T: Is it possible to expel it from inside you?.... try it.... , you may even leave....
P: (with an expression of enormous effort and certain disgust, with loud sighs and groans she pushes out something that is occupying her. Then she runs to the toilet. After quite a while she comes back all red and sweaty, shaking! We wrap her in a blanket, she huddles in and lets her get embraced. She stinks of sour sweat.
T: (after a while). Well, Klara ..., is that better?
P: It's filth, filth, filth! I shi.... him out, I shi.... it out, I still have pieces of it inside me ... I don't want it!!! She gets up, with loud squealing sighs she expels the "remains of an alien" as she called it later.
T: invites her to speak.
P: It was my husband! I can't get rid of him.... I keep thinking of him ..., but I did not know that then.... (Surprised, she looks at the others, as if she has just woken up after a long sleep).
After several months the patient is all transformed. Elegant, lively, with much better skin, slender and firm in a light dress. She epitomises her life in a completely different way. Her metamorphosis is impossible to miss and we all watch her with admiration. In the meantime, several group sessions have passed, the patient gradually talks about her marriage, divorce, futile attempts at getting a new acquaintance and seeking help in therapy. She got oriented and she understood a lot about her former life. She sold the house, changed the job and it seems that she won't need further treatment soon.
In DA psychotherapy, the conversation is secured by two interlaced insitutions:
The witness institution.
In psychotherapy it is always the case that the life the way it is lived by the patient should show in the true light. Living it truly means living authentically. Who ensures the authenticity of what is shown in the psychotherapeutic conversation?
The setting of this instance is important because it decides about the guarantees and determines the veracity level. In psychotherapy this role is taken by the witness institution.
The witness is the one who is together with another person (about whom he/she gives the testimony), present to the events that took place. He/she is equally important for "the others", for the public, as well as for the "protagonists" of the event.
It is possible to get back to the testimony and it is possible to set out from it again. Human testimony constitutes the belief and its relative form, the trust.
In psychotherapy according to DA, the role of a witness is played by the therapist. He/she is the participant of the patient's life that ensures though his/her role that what was revealed is expressed truly and reliably recorded, and also reminded in the therapeutical context, if necessary. In a group psychotherapy, the group also becomes a witness.
The witness it a guardian of the truth. The veracity of live cannot be scientifically determined, not apriori, and it cannot be pre-negotiated by a standard. The truth is revealed on the way, by the way the life is led. The institution of a witness cannot be replaced by any machine. A machine cannot look you in the eye.
Another psychotherapist's determination is pastoral. The task and the deal of the shepherd is the care of the creature. The shepherd is there, where he/she is needed by the minder.
The space the pastoral role of the psychotherapist is applied is a conversation, which can only be led in a relation.
The pastoral care of the relations issues from the substantive destination of a man, which is relatedness. Is precedes all specific relations, is not preceded by the causal conditionality nor has it any partial motivation, because it is primary in relation to it in the same way as musicality precedes the violin playing or the reception of the vision is the condition of the capacity of drawing. (My friend is blind, but perceives revelations. And therefore he no only understands art, but he sees what is revealed). The DA care of the individual relations fulfilling the relativity, is in the final consideration the care of the overreaching, care of the journey of hope of such a meeting which lies beyond all visible horizons of existence. Because that is where our being heads for, to the mystical and only guessed or indirectly revealed sense of being, which is shown in the individual encounters.
The care of the conversation is the care of an authentic sense of the pronounced in the contexts of the conversation. It is the care of the "being present together at the same thing", it is the care of our existence which is accomplished in relation and originates and perishes in the space of mystery of the unspoken, from which every speech is born and into which it also fits.
Conversation in daseinsanalysis.
Daseinsanalysis is psychotherapy, which issues from a different concept of the world than the scientific one. In DA is reflected the phenomenologically expressed effort to understand the being as what cannot be explained in any way by an aggregate of the being of any individual thing or things.
DA psychotherapy, based on M. Heidegger's fundamental ontology, investigates the human presence, human existence from the experience of existence, human life in the world in the contextual entirety and it basic destinations.
What enables man to know about the world and his being in it is the language, which becomes meaningful in the conversation. This is why DA considers the conversation its default and basic therapeutic method. The author states and characterises some basic aspects of the conversation, which are the respectful listening, understanding concern, prejudice-free acceptation and esteem, search for the sense, amplificatory interrogation and search for an apposite expression.
According to the author, the mission of the psychotherapist in DA is double.
1. Pastoral care
a) of the relatedness (relativity) and relations
b) of conversation, of communication.
2. Institution of a witness. Testimony is an aid to the sense of psychotherapy, guarantee of participation as well as a reminder of what happened to the patient, what occurred to him/her in life and also of how he/she lived his/her life. The role in question includes the protection of the patient as well as the reminder of the condition of "being healthy". Being healthy includes also the moral side of the existence, as its substantive and therefore ineglectable aspect. That, however, does not found the right to moralize in the DA, but through the conversation thematises the awareness of the patient's morality as part of the authentic being.
The starting point (as well as the goal) of the psychotherapeutic conversation is the meeting with an individual human being. However, psychotherapy proceeds in a group in the same way as with a couple or a family, but the conversation in a group or in a family must be dedicated special attention.
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PhDr. Jiri Ruzicka Ph.D is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. He has a psychoanalytic training and has worked as a training analyst. He also has a background in Rogerian, community and group psychotherapy, and has taught Daseinsanalysis for over twenty years. He is Rector of Prague College of Psycho-Social Studies and Director of the College Psychotherapeutic and Psychosomatic Clinic. Email email@example.com
Thirty-years old, strikingly pretty, bright and successful woman, flashing with demonstrative energy complains about problems she has with other people. She has constant conflicts, arguments and collisions with men and women alike. She also mentions the fact that during her therapy so far she has repeatedly realised that she was fixed on her father who, beside the fact that he wanted to have a son and not a girl, keeps roughly criticising and preaching her down constantly. The therapy she has undergone so far led her to leave home, but the conflicts and repeated failures of partnerships continue. That has been going on since she was 18. In DS she has conflicts, although she is surrounded by a group of friends and admirers, she is still dissatisfied and dislocated from life. In one evening club programme, she surprisingly rudely attacked "men" remonstrating their arrogance, numbness and inconsideration. The she calls women "stupid cows". The club ends with a heavy conflict. The patient is impossible to miss due to her stature, being about 190 cm tall, and remarkable with her exceptional beauty. Very well educated and gifted. Besides, she is boisterous, competitive and dominant. Wherever possible, she tends to indicate the direction and tone. The same, however, happens in the group. She sparkles with bright ideas, she complements and anticipates the insights and explanations of other colleagues, including the psychotherapists. Simply unbearable. The next day after the club she suffered some kind of a social hangover, and perhaps due to that, but also because she had been thinking about the catastrophic evening and wanted to speak about her share in it, she asked the group members to tell her what they did not like about her, what was annoying about her behaviour. After a moment of hesitating silence, an avalanche of critical reproaches setoff toward her. It was evident that such an invitation was self-destructive. "I think that you do not know how to deal with your properties", the therapist interrupted the destructive battering of the group. "You behave like a 220 cm tall black muscular guy, trimmed with chains of gold, who wants to 'cover up' his being different. So he paints his lips with a white lipstick, opens up his shirt down to the waist, and thus 'invisible' he enters a Czech pub with a village disco to pick some girls. And then he is surprised to be decoyed out by the local boys, where they give him a good flogging and rob him the gold and his purse as well." The outburst of laughter of the patient (as well as of the whole group) is immediately replaced by her tears. She understood. "So what am I supposed to do?" she asked helplessly. After a short pause, someone in the group said: "One beauty who was elected Miss responded to millions of admiring demonstrations saying 'My beauty is the beauty of your eyes.' People loved her". Still that day, the young woman changed dress, receded to the background, dropped her voice and participated only quietly on the evening club. "It was an essential discovery for me" she recalled later. She indeed changed and the change continues.
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