“...Nazism, nihilism, Satanism or ordinary pubertal omnipotence and narcissism?? The kind of inconsiderateness they plead for is only a bit more absolute than the one they see around them”,as a journalist that is quoted in this blogpost writes.
Biologism has come back: the tendency to explain everything in terms of being biological/evolutionary… See the gene-technique here too, she writes!? And also the social-biology: the idea that human beings social systems in first hand are an effect of our genes… The blogger makes comparisons to Hitler and the biologists, geneticists, physicians and psychiatrists Hitler surrounded himself with… (men, and some women too, who gathered around Hitler, why drawn there?).
From where comes Nazist/fascist, nihilistic, Satanist or pubertal omnipotence and narcissism? And the tendency to praise strength and that sort of superiority? From nowhere?
I would like to write a blogpost about things Jennifer Freyd has written... About what she thinks would be possible to achieve in therapy... But now I am in a hurry to work! :-)
Addition: this is about contempt for weakness!? A sort of übermensch ideal (see Nietzsche?)... And when I have been walking between schools today I also thought about this with wages... And draw parallels to what the Dutch therapist Ingeborg Bosch writes about children learned from earliest in life to share with others and the results of this... Being unselfish... Yes, she writes about this at page 123-124 in her book "Rediscovering The True Self".
"Becoming sensitive to our children's pain.
Having accessed our own pain will sensitize us to what is happening with our children, make it possible to sense when they are hurt, and help us to be there for them. In other words, we can't change the past, but we can be aware of the effects of our behavior now. The mother who used to put great emphasis on her two-years-old daughter behaving well with other children, sharing her toys etc., can now let her daughter behave her age, only two. A tree-year-old has a strong need to assert her identity and to make a clear distinction between what is hers and what isn't. She does not want to share her toys with other children. If the mother can respect this need of her child's, the child will eventually develop the empathy needed in order to really share with others. This particular skill is usually first manifested naturally when children are six years old. How many children in our society get to be 'selfish' until they are six years old? Most of us are forced into sharing at a much younger age. And how many of us develop into adults who truly can and do share with others? Don't most of us keep track of how much we have done for others, so that we know when it is their turn to do something for us? How many of us do something for others just because we want to, without expecting anything in return? Not even a thank you?
The mother who has accessed her own pain over having had to comply with the family norm of thinking of others before you think of yourself, will no longer force her little child to behave in that way. She will trust her child to develop into a loving human being when the time is appropriate."
photo on Ingeborg Bosch.
Second addition in the evening:
There was an article in the magazine ETC that came today, called something in the style “Rebel against men’s violence against men.”
The author of the article, the Swedish journalist Maria-Pia Boëthius, writes that if one is to blame “biology” when it comes to men’s’ violence, the biological differences between men and men must be enormous. How can we otherwise explain that there are so many men whom would never ever use violence, not even lift their hands to beat and never would even think of doing something like this, while others spend their whole lives on “the planet Violence” as she writes? And some are between those two poles too.
There is research on violent men and rapists, but she should want to see studies on men who don’t resort to violence. She wonders what the difference would be between those and the violent ones. How the non-violent handle their chromosomes, the testosterone, and their genes which are said to be the origin of the other men’s (the violent ones) violence.
She means that the global, intensive, vital and for life so necessary debate about men’s violence against women stands in the way for the even more widespread violence in our time: men’s violence against men, the violence that creates most death on this earth, most victims and most perpetrators.
She wonders if it is taboo to speak about men’s violence against men (yes, is it? Too shameful?? And why is that?). She means that the intensive debate about men’s violence against women of course shall go on (not why she writes this article). But she wonders if it is the same men that are violent against women as against men? Or are there men only violating women and others who only violating and killing men? (Yes, one can wonder! And if it is so, why?) Noone knows she writes.
The violence we have seen recently: right-extremists torturing a handicapped man to death, 16-yearold boys maltreating a friend to death etc. etc. etc. – what are we seeing?
Boëthius refers to Susan Brownmiller (here Browmillers blog!), who was one of the first writing about rapes in a modern way (how do one write about that in a “modern way”?? :-)), from the women’s point of view, called the rapists the manliness’ guerrilla-soldiers. Today she would call them terrorists Boëthius thinks. Men spreading suffering and horror and making sure that the fear for “men” is maintained; women’s fear that can hit all men, how shall women know which man is violent and which is not?
Updated November 20: Här mer om biologismen och "biologisk ingenjörskonst", ett svar jag fick på en kommentar (mina kursiveringar).
"19/11 23:17 at 23:17
Det du tar upp sist i det intressanta inlägg, om biomedicin, är inte en annan diskussion som du försiktigtvis föreslår, för det är en del av biologiserandet av människan. Det är en viktig del av projektet att förvandla henne till ett objekt, ett enkelt konglomerat av biokemiska entiteter.
I botten, om man drar ut konsekvenserna till sitt yttersta, ligger föreställningar om att vi alla bara agerar utifrån våra gener. Har man väl accepterat den föreställningen, då ger sig det bästa tänkbara samhället av sig självt så småningom. Det blir ett i vilket biologer är expterna på både samhälle och socialt liv, där all social samvaro kan reduceras till biokemi och där man försöker skapa “det goda samhället” med hjälp av biokemiska åtgärder. Med sådana försöker man redan komma åt alla sociala avvikelser exempelvis.
Framtidens ingenjörskonst är inte social alltså, det är den biologiska ingenjörskonstens era vi nu träder in i. Den blir, det kan jag garantera, inte friare, trevliga eller mindre manipulativ än den sociala varianten, tvärtom."
I got a reply on a comment I wrote to the blogpost mentioned in the beginning of this blogpost. Shortly here is what stood in it:
Biologization of the human beings… A project to transform her to an object, a simple conglomerate of biological entities. In the bottom, if we draw the consequences to the utmost limit, the notion lies that we are all acting only out of our genes. Imagine a society where the biologists are the experts on both society and social life, where all social life can be reduced to biochemistry and where one tries to create the “good society” with the help of biochemical measures. With the help of this one is already trying to correct social divergences for instance. Yes, as ADHD etc.! Without not wanting to know what is in the bottom of these problems really?
But, yes, it is problematic to criticize therapy too… You can maybe play pharmacological industry in hand in a way, for the first?? And where do people in severe distress turn?? Trying other forms of help that can be as manipulative and maybe even more manipulative? Phew…
To prevent this, what should one do?? Try to raise awareness?? Here and there? Dare to speak about these things? Draw these things up in open air?? Everywhere where opportunities are given.
About Eugenics in English and in Swedish.
*) Book Review - Rediscovering The True Self by Ingeborg Bosch, 2002, pps. 288, Published by Ingeborg Bosch, PRI b.v.
Reviewed by John A. Speyrer
The author of Rediscovering The True Self has written an interesting and detailed book about a form of primal-oriented psychotherapy which she developed. Ingeborg Bosch received her 'doctoraal degree' in psychology from the
Happily, Ingeborg Bosch has not joined the list of the last five authors who have written how-to books on primal-type therapies without once mentioning that one's regressions can include the traumas of birth. It is only one sentence, but she writes, "In regression clients can consciously experience their own birth." Because of the previous omissions by those other authors, that was enough to placate me! But she does more than mention that the intrauterine period of life can be traumatic. She writes that some of her clients experience regression to the womb. Bosch also believes that even during early development, fetuses are sentient and can feel the lack of bonding and love:
In my experience with clients, I have noticed that adults who were born without being truly planned and wanted, who were merely an 'accident of nature,' seem to suffer from a feeling of "not having the right to exist in the world." This terrible feeling could have originated in the uterus as a Primary Defense against feeling the truth that the mother did not truly want the child.
The author concentrates on explaining how the therapy works and what we can do to lower our defenses and begin the process of feeling our early traumas. She describes the theoretical aspects of her therapy in many different ways so that the reader approaches the material repeatedly and for this reason should have a good understanding of what the therapy is about.
In the chapter entitled Special Situations and Challenges Ingeborg Bosch examines and explains what to do in certain situations with which the reader may be concerned:
· I don't have any feelings.
· I just feel depressed.
· I feel angry and I think that's good for me.
· I can't remember anything from my past.
· I can't connect my feelings to my old reality.
· How do I know my memories are true?
· It's too scary for me.
· I'm always feeling bad about myself.
· How do I know the difference between an old and adult need?
· But it's happening now!
· How can I keep my feelings from quickly fading?
Jean Jenson, in the Foreword writes that the author has expanded the theoretical elements of the therapy she describes in Reclaiming Your Life . Jenson writes that this has resulted in a "renewed" form of her therapy. Bosch's version of the therapy places more emphasis on the need for pro-action than other forms of "primal therapy."
I believe that this emphasis is important and that the author has properly described it as an essential part of the process. According to the Bosch, this primary focusing on self-observation and changing one's behavior, rather than just feeling one's old hurts, has had quite profound effects in both the way the therapy is practiced as well as on its results.
Bosch believes, as does Jenson, that we should not only feel our early repressed feelings but actively seek out triggers to them. This intentional behavior will automatically help lower one's defenses and is an important aide in speeding up one's progress in the therapy.
The author has interesting things to say about the relationship between Western religious doctrines and regressive therapies. She feels that religions help to keep us tethered to our defenses and away from re-living our early feelings. "The idea of being guilty by nature," she writes "is a basic premise in Christianity." In this way religion can become a reinforcement to very common guilt feelings which are not due to personal shortcomings but rather originate in conclusions we came to about ourselves dating to the crib and even before!
Eastern religions also help to keep down those original feelings. She writes that they also prevent us from seeing and believing the truth about what really happened to us during our early upbringing. She feels that religions promote power structures among their hierarchies as well as feelings of sinfulness in its followers. This enables churches to establish power bases which are not necessarily in accord with the needs of its members. (Eastern philosophy was Bosch's minor in graduate school).
She believes the process of healing comprises five steps:
· Intellectually knowing that what we are feeling is not happening in the present; that, in reality, most often the hurts we are feeling are really old early feelings.
· Emotionally realizing the real depth of our early suffering.
· Overcoming the fear of feeling and the fear of reversing our defenses.
· Fully feeling our pain in regressions.
· Applying what we have learned to our behaviors and thoughts.
Bosch writes that through regressions we learn with certainty the origins of the uncomfortable "problem" feelings we have. She feels that this will free us "the next time the symbolic situation presents itself." This is only the beginning in obtaining a cure, as this freedom will only be achieved when we are able to thoroughly feel all of our old pain.
These regressions when accompanied by doing the opposite of what we want to do - what we neurotically fear to do - will eventually result in the healing of our still actively triggered feelings, These feelings of shame, panic, anger, guilt, inadequacy and impatience, etc., which bring us much misery and sabotage so many of our relationships, will eventually become weaker and weaker and eventually disappear.
I found the large number of abbreviations used in Rediscovering The True Self distracting. The therapy, Past Reality Integration, is referred to as PRI. The reader must contend with AC, CC, S, DR, OP, FH, FP, FP-dn, FP-a, PD, OR and OUN. Spelling-out the terminology concepts would not have taken much more room on the printed page and would have made the book easier to read. It is easier to understand the meaning of "symbol" instead than the letter S. A casual reader of Rediscovering The True Self might just give up because of the need to learn the coded terms.
There are a number of interesting sections of the book which present unique diagnostic questions and tests to find out what are one's defenses. Another section one may complete to determine if the concepts of Past Reality Integration are understood. Other helpful sections include case histories of clients, on whether parents should be forgiven, on childrearing and on how our own children can be symbols for us.
Instead of repeating the author's theories of her Past Reality Reintegration, I refer you to the Prologue and Chapter 8 from Rediscovering The True Selfwhich appears on this website. Here she details the most important aspects of her therapy.
I enjoyed reading Rediscovering The True Self and recommend it to others."
[from Rediscovering the True Self - a book by Ingeborg Bosch]
Past Reality Integration Therapy Summarized
Before reading in detail about the theoretical concepts on which Past Reality Integration (PRI) therapy is based, it might be helpful to have a general overview first. Hopefully this will make it easier to understand the theory that is discussed in the next few chapters.
Past Reality Integration (PRI) therapy is based on the idea that we all have a divided consciousness: one part of our consciousness sees the world through the eyes of the child we once were, and feels accordingly. The other part of our consciousness sees the world through the eyes of the adult we now are. Because of this division, we perceive and experience things quite differently, depending on which part of our consciousness we are accessing. For example, one moment we can feel secure, 'on top of things' and competent, and the next moment we might feel depressed, angry, insecure, guilty, etc.
Maybe you recognize this, often sudden, change in the way you feel about yourself and your life. Normally nothing extraordinary occurs to cause such a shift, so we can't make sense out of the change in the way we feel.
On an unconscious level, however, something does happen. What happens is that we are confronted with something, usually a person or a situation, that reminds us, without us being aware of it, of something in our past. Actually it reminds us of something in our past that we had to repress when we were children. This unconscious remembering is what causes a shift from Adult Consciousness to Childhood Consciousness.
PRI therapy is based on the idea that children do not receive what they need. Children need more than food, clothing and shelter, they also need physical and emotional safety, respect for their own identity, loving physical and emotional attention, support, encouragement and warmth. A child needs all these things to become a healthy functioning adult. However, children often grow up with caregivers who are not able to meet all these needs. Facing the truth that some or many of these needs will never be met is too threatening for the child, because her survival depends on her needs being met. In order to survive childhood, most of us had to repress the truth that some of our survival needs would never be met. We could not feel the emotional impact this had on us, and we had to deny the truth of the situation.
There are three basic ways to deny the fact that some or most of our childhood needs will never be met*:
1. We think that we can get our needs met if only we try harder to do or be what we think our parents want us to do or be. This is called False Hope (FH).
2. We tell ourselves that we can do without the fulfillment of these needs: "It's ok that my mother punishes me so harshly, I can tolerate it." This is called False Power - denial of needs (FP - dn). Or we get angry with someone else, blaming them. This is called False Power - anger (FP - a).
3. We blame ourselves: "My father didn't pay much attention to me, I was a stupid child." This is called the Primary Defense (PD).
This way of repressing and denying the truth about our childhood causes our consciousness to divide into the two parts described above. One part that we have conscious access to (which later develops into what we call the Adult Consciousness) and one part that we hide from ourselves and can't access consciously, but which contains the truth about our childhood (which later develops into what we call Childhood Consciousness). For the child we were, this was a very effective survival strategy. It saved us from feeling the pain of the devastating truth that our parents did not fulfill our needs.
The trouble starts when, as adults, we encounter a Symbol (a person or situation that reminds us of the past, while we are not aware of this). Without realizing why, we suddenly experience feelings that we can't understand - we feel unappreciated, misunderstood, depressed, insecure, guilty, etc. We might feel a strong irritation or deep anger that is out of proportion to the situation. All these things signal that we have been triggered into a consciousness shift; from Adult Consciousness (AC) into Childhood Consciousness (CC).
Past Reality Integration (PRI) therapy is aimed at helping the client regain an undivided consciousness. If our consciousness is undivided we won't experience the pain that the child we were had to repress and deny, over and over again, as if it is happening now. PRI therapy works towards this goal by consciously accessing and feeling the old childhood pain.
This is a painful process, but uncovering the truth about the past makes it possible to integrate the old, childhood pain, into our Adult Consciousness (AC). When old, childhood pain is uncovered, felt and integrated, eventually less and less pain will have to be Repressed and Denied, and ultimately the division in consciousness will come to an end. The pain becomes a scar instead of the open wound it is as long as it is repressed and denied in Childhood Consciousness (CC). The old, childhood pain doesn't hurt anymore, it is just a memory. An unpleasant one, but a memory nevertheless. This makes it possible to achieve a sense of inner autonomy, because contact with the True Self will now be restored.
Engaging in PRI therapy means actively feeling any old pain that surfaces when we confront a Symbol. Normally, feeling pain is not something we like to do. In this case it is old, unfelt pain, which can only be resolved by admitting and feeling it. In this respect it is helpful not to be consoled. Consolation, no matter how well intended, will take you out of your feeling and away from integration. There is no need to worry, the feelings will subside by themselves.
PRI therapy also encourages clients to change those behaviors (often ingrained and incorrectly considered to be part of one's nature and personality) that support the denial of the past reality. As explained earlier, such behaviors are called defense mechanisms because they defend us from feeling the old pain. Changing those behaviors - consciously not employing our defense mechanisms - often feels counterintuitive and unsafe, but it is a powerful tool in the healing process aimed at creating an undivided consciousness. Use of this tool can create unexpectedly different behaviors that might not be pleasing to friends, family, or co-workers. Imagine a woman who tries to accommodate her husband in as many ways as possible in the hope of getting love and attention, which never comes. This is an example of False Hope (FH). The woman will need to stop doing anything related to that specific goal of accommodating her husband. This will be very difficult for her and, quite likely, for him too.
Next imagine a man who either reacts angrily or remains totally untouched by a disturbing event (FP - dn), such as being passed over for a promotion he had expected. This is an example of the defense mechanism we call False Power (FP - dn). The "cool" behavior will have to be turned around into behavior that admits such things are painful. This man will have to acknowledge his hurt instead of pretending that "it's no big deal." Such behavior might come as quite a surprise to the people around him because they are accustomed to him being "strong" or stoic.
Now imagine a man who blames himself for events in his life that are not his doing. If someone runs into his car while it is parked in a parking lot, for example, he will feel dreadful about having parked in that particular spot, cursing at himself for being so careless. "If only I would have . . ., but I am too clumsy" is a thought that he has often. This is an example of the defense mechanism that we call the Primary Defense (PD). It consists of blaming ourselves, feeling worthless, meaningless, bad, etc. The Primary Defense has to be countered by admitting that something painful was done to us by someone else. Not because something is wrong with us, that we deserve the treatment, or that we elicited it. This man who is always quick to take the blame will need to stop doing so. Again, this might be quite surprising to those who know him. It could be unpleasant, too, in the case that others find it convenient to blame him, and they exploit his willingness to accept the blame.
In summary, Past Reality Integration therapy is aimed at helping the client work towards an undivided consciousness in order to be free from childhood pain, which surfaces when a Symbol is confronted. To that end, PRI therapy, will encourage the client to:
1. access and feel pain, while knowing it is about the past, not the present, and
2. act oppositely from what has become habitual in many cases, realizing that these behaviors are defense mechanisms that are no longer needed in the present.
N.B. we can only apply PRI successfully when we have (access to) an Adult Consciousness and are capable of providing for our basic survival needs. When these prerequisites cannot be met, e.g. when someone is permanently dependent on caretakers as a result of being mentally challenged, PRI should be discouraged. In those situations a therapy that helps develop and supports coping-strategies is more useful.
Please read Appendix 8 (below), in which a graphical representation of the structure of PRI is presented. Hopefully this Appendix will aid to a further understanding of how PRI is constructed.
* * * *
The Structure of Past Reality Integration Therapy
PRI is based on three pillars: cognition, behavior and emotion and on the ultimate integration of these three pillars into one, during PRI's last phase: the so-called Dual-Consciousness. Attaching more or less importance to any of these three pillars amounts to an incorrect interpretation of PRI. Such a misunderstanding will effect our healing process in an unfavorable way. The content and application of these cognitive, behavioral and emotional elements of PRI is very specifically defined and unique to PRI and should not be taken to be an eclectic combination of the existing Cognitive, Behavior and Regression therapies.
Putting too much of an emphasis on feeling the old pain while not paying enough attention to daily self-observation and the reversing of defenses in the here and now is not effective. This holds true also for a one-sided focus on PRI's cognitive aspects: understanding and recognizing the mechanisms at work, but not reversing defenses nor feeling the pain sufficiently. Lastly, an emphasis on reversing defenses, without sufficiently recognizing and accessing old pain, also isn't a useful application of PRI.
1. Self-observation (cognition)
Meticulous self-observation is the foundation of PRI and never ends. In that sense PRI is not so much a method, as it is a way of life. By observing ourselves very closely we first learn to recognize when we are behaving defensively. Then sooner and sooner it will become clear to us which Symbol activated our defenses. We learn to distinguish the Adult Consciousness from the Child Consciousness and our defenses, and we are aware whether feelings are caused in the here and now or whether they are old. This phase mainly entails being engaged in a cognitive way.
2. Defense Reversal (behavior)
After we have developed a certain skill in observing ourselves and we are fairly able to recognize our defenses, we can start reversing our defenses every time they are activated. Just as is the case with phase one, this phase continues as long as is necessary. That means that as long as we keep on behaving defensively, the need remains to reverse our defenses. Here too it is more accurate to speak of a way of life, than of a temporary medicine. This PRI phase entails a very active engagement with our concrete everyday behavior. In some situations this might lead to applying so-called 'exposure.' This means that we deliberately expose ourselves to that which we would most like to avoid, in order to gain access to the feelings that are hidden behind our avoidance. As important, DR helps us to disidentify from our defenses: to truly acknowledge on a deep cognitive and feeling level that we don't need to defend ourselves anymore and that this idea is an illusion that keeps us imprisoned.
1. Regression (emotion)
After the cognitive and behavioral work in phase one and two, the emotional element receives specific attention especially through the use of regression.
a. Regression with the help of a therapist
Regression with the help of a therapist serves primarily as a way to learn to apply regression independently, not as a means to heal. This phase ends when the client knows how to apply regression by herself. Some people will need much time to achieve this skill, others might be able to apply regression independently with hardly any or even no help at all. For people who have a very hard time accessing their feelings (much FP-dn) DR work is often more effective than accessing old pain with the help of regression during the beginning phases of PRI.
b. Regression Independently
Applying the tool of regression independently is important in order to be able to connect old pain to its true cause: the old reality. In other words: regression serves as a way of gaining access to the repressed contents of the Childhood Consciousness with our Adult Consciousness, in order to facilitate integration of the old pain and the old reality which caused it, into AC. This phase in principle has an end. When we are aware of what the old repressed reality looked like in general and we know (on an emotional level) what that would have felt like, it is not necessary anymore to experience the same old pain over and over again every time a Symbol is confronted. When this stage has been reached regression remains of importance only in those situations in which a Symbol causes a very strong (over or under) reaction, which makes it impossible to apply phase four: Dual-Consciousness. Or when we are confronted with a new Symbol and a pain that we haven't previously accessed and connected to the old reality.
Experiencing regressions can also be considered as a form of 'exposure,' just as is frequently the case with Defense Reversal. After all, during regression we expose ourselves deliberately to old situations and feelings that we would rather not undergo.
1. Dual-Consciousness (cognition, behavior, emotion)
Dual-Consciousness refers to PRI's last phase in which we are able to:
- notice when we are Symbolizing (we can feel old pain come up and identify it as such), - know what the Symbol is,
- know exactly what the pain is that the Symbol brings up and which old reality it is connected to. For example: this is how the child I was felt when so and so did or didn't do such and such,
- allow the pain to be in our body without suppressing/defending against it (as we did before PRI therapy) or increasing it(as during Regression) until it subsides by itself, while we stay connected to the present reality and act based not on our defenses but on our adult consciousness.
In this fourth phase of PRI, the Dual-Consciousness, PRI's three pillars - cognition, behavior, emotion - integrate into one.
This phase ends in theory when all our defenses have been dismantled, nothing works as Symbol anymore, we have integrated all old pain and we are continuously and permanently in to our Adult Consciousness, completely in touch with the here and now, from an undivided consciousness … This is a goal that most of us might spend a lifetime (or more…) on before reaching it! However, do not let yourself be discouraged, because no matter how far removed this final phase may be, every step on the path there is very worthwhile because it will influence our lives and the lives of our loved ones in such a valuable way.
The following movement will develop during a successful PRI process:
- from 'Unconsciously being Burdened': We find many problems on our life's path, but are quite unable to understand or succesfully deal with them, to
- 'Consciously Being': self-observation provides us with the recognition of and insight into our emotional problems, to
- 'Consciously being Burdened': as a result of Defense Reversal and opening up to old pain in regression (so called 'exposure') to
- 'Consciously being Unburdened': the relief we experience in the state of Dual-Consciousness, when we are able to function in the here and now from an Adult Consciousness, without fighting to keep up our defenses with which we had erroneously identified, because we now know that old pain does not need to be fended off.
- 'Unconsciously being Unburdened' More and more areas of our life will become free from the influence of our past. A freedom which often is so complete that it becomes unconscious.
When we are able to experience the Present for what it truly is, it is usually surprisingly unburdened."