Online therapy, counseling & psychoanalysis

Moving towards health, success and well-being


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THE CONVERSATION IS THE OBJECT OF STUDY

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Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis is a community-based practice that emphasizes the value of intimacy and conversation. Group gatherings and individual conversations are the backbone of the endeavor, With a nod to professional ethics and the importance of confidentially, what mindfulness has to offer is a safe place to evaluate and reevaluate the feelings involved in the decisions we make all our lives.

Analysis is not an aspect of psychology. Although psychology, like philosophy and biology and medicine, is all important dimensions to building and sustaining relationships, the centerpiece of psychoanalysis is the respect for the transference and counter-transferences that take place from the first encounter.

In modern psychoanalysis, we aim for authentic encounters, from which we can research the data–the words and the collection of words used to describe and understand each other. The conversation is the object of study.

Our methods are not traditional diagnosis like would be found in the Diagnostic Manuals of Mental Health. We aim to discover what developmental sequences might be uncovered by listening for patterns in the free-association. The models discovered often are a metaphor for the resistances to better health that are unconsciously preventing the patient from, euphemistically, not being able to get out of his own way.

As a trained practitioner of psychoanalysis, my job is to facilitate conversation based on the contact that the client makes with his or her counselor. Emotional communication is primarily a method of response to the patient that involves acknowledging the patients feeling and mood, but NOT confronting that defense, rather mildly acknowledging the defense in a way that might get the patient interested in the new information.

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Psychoanalysis: breath & balance

This is important stuff.

Maybe, as important as anything can be moving us toward self guided health care, and ever evolving toward emotional maturity. The mental gymnastics that the ego or conscious mind puts us through is counter-stabilized  with breath and balance.

The instincts do not remain in the shadow of the object when the body is consulted for sensations. But that really only works from the position of stillness. Getting to still point with mantra and breath is a fundamental aspect of getting to health. Of course, life also happens between sessions of any practice. It is the balance we learn before hand that steadies us in a moment of body-pain. Sometime our own body pain, or even the body pain of others we live with can activate the lack of balance (mental, emotional & physical).

The return of the repressed and the return of the repetition compulsion activates and ignites fear which then takes our breath out of balance and everything feels wrong.

With the crown of your head high, your shoulders relaxed and a deep breath filling all of your lungs, slowly let out more breath than you took in. Breath like you are conducting the figure 8.

 

Why?  Because a well analyzed life includes a connection with the body-unconscious where our ancestry, experiences and memories are stored like in a freezer until some heat, some return of the repressed ignites the muscles, cells, bones of sensation and demands of us that we pay attention.  The needle on the gage reads low energy.  Going too much further without replenishing and we risk running out of gas only half way to our destination.

 

Below is an example of a meditation–it is constructed of non-mentated gestures and lines that I filled in with color and mood.  Well-being is a state of no effort because it takes as its starting point a moment of stillness. Therefore,  a better chance of leading to clarity than if we attempt to move through chaos….contour-and-gesture-1


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An Invitation to Deliberate Discourse

En-visioning the future & living in the present
while hearing the ghosts of our ancestors speak
to us of wisdom from the soul, these are a few of
our most revered human characteristics.

The ego gives us an organizing principle by which to categorize
and interpret the cosmos. So busy have we become
evolving our kind, that the source of our energy
is forgotten hidden in the shadow of the object.

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Everything that I have deliberately sought has
found me in juxtaposition to who “I” am. “I” as
a conduit of perception fools my mind into thinking
that “I” am alone in who is me.
But, the “I” has a self that is wider and deeper in
Consciousness then is the “I” alone. The “I” needs
our antiquity and it needs the histories
of our yesterdays to accomplish becoming the creative
being that, we are attempting to cultivate.

A spiritual humanism is one view of the totality
of self & I. The very fact that I can hold a
conversation with myself points to the ambiguity
of the human condition. Language as the vehicle
of evolution has run off rapidly into categorical
cubicles that function to protect the growth of
the species, and in so doing has often turned
against the same organism it professes to protect.

Perception from the ego’s position includes all the
rational and emotive perspectives on the world, our
universe. But the wider self brings the dimension
of unconscious symbolism to consciousness. The
analytics of the subjective provides not only the
emotions as an intrusion into the psyche, but provides
a wider and deeper meaning that geminates from
A position of source. The greater self in which the ego
swims is enlightened rather than knowledgeable. The
deeper meanings are encoded messages from the body
informing the psyche only if the self can over-power the
ego who always has first dibs and commentary on every
and all situations.

Our deeper selves need to be invited into deliberate
discourse with our personas. This dialogue brings
forth a merger of enlightenment and knowledge.


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Making the Body Conscious: Like a River Flows

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Understanding is a means toward acceptance.  Herein lies the center of our subjectivity and the center of our serenity.  Enjoying a deep sense of mindful breathing is one tool that we humans have to connect with the source of our mentations and our emotions.

Breathing is our first experience of life in the world beyond the womb.  Mindful breathing is our best attempt at gaining both understanding and acceptance as our mind grows toward maturity and impermanence.  Neither of these concepts are reversible and we either flow or rage toward these inevitable ends.

Because breathing is central to the experience of life making its unconscious, autonomic components conscious is our first step into the wildly active world of the human subjective. Conscious breathing is an experience that brings us closer to the primal sense of the subjective.

As we mature, we bump into life’s many intrusions and obstacles, some so powerful that they derail us from our mission:  to live in peace with ourselves and to the extent possible with those in our world.  Conscious breathing allows us to interpret the natural pace of our lives.  Turning our attention to our breath can add a pause when we are racing, our can add a nudge when we are lost in a status quo.

Breath like a river flows……….


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Group as a Community Garden

If you have a supportive sangha, it’s easy to nourish your bodhicitta, the seeds of enlightenment. If you don’t have anyone who understands you, who encourages you in the practice of the living dharma, your desire to practice may wither. Your sangha—family, friends, and copractitioners—is the soil, and you are the seed. No matter how vigorous the seed is, if the soil does not provide nourishment, your seed will die. A good sangha is crucial for the practice. Please find a good sangha or help create one.
From Cultivating the Mind of Love, © 2008 by Thich Nhat Hanh.
complete article at http://www.tricycle.com/insights/fertile-soil-sangha

a garden

Community is a necessary stage in the progress of self actualization. To be actualized is much like being well-analyzed, the process allows us to move toward our selves in a more open and intimate manner. The Sangha or the group is a family of supporters that we can rely on. In the case of the group it is a replacement for a family that is either not available or non-existing.

Like the sentence above suggests, we can’t do it alone and find the kind of environment that feeds us when we are in our lower-most positions. Group and community remind us, when our mind wanders into a dark place, that there are others among us who know all to well the dark place and from their experience they help guide us back toward the light.

I appreciate the word cultivation and the metaphor of the garden because it is grounded in the material of life.

Life is messy. Life can induce chaos. Life is a divided experience in which we think and feel with different aspects of our mind/body matrix. Knowing both sides of the equation is necessary for a balanced algebra.

Groups assist with encouraging balance and encouraging health as the place from which we make our individual decisions.

 

 


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Me & My Dad: a selfie

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What are the bridges from low-self worth to the real self.

The real self, the authentic self is equally neurotic in grandiosity as he or she is in self-defeat.  Fearing that we are not enough we strive to meet an ideal that we create for ourselves.  This ideal is filled with over-compensation and is therefore as unreliable as our fearing self in relation to giving us the feeling that we are enough and therefore prideful in who we are.

The chronic question of who we want to be over-shadows the who we are in such a way as to blur reality.  In the state of chronic striving we miss the importance of the nuances of life and miss, as well, the feeling of warmth that we get from the experience of life.

Moving from cold toward our real selves is a movement toward warmth–life is warm.  Death is cold.  In this equation it is our task to live as well as we can within the boundaries of human limitations.  We can want to be better, we can want to learn a new skill, we can want more things and even a happier life; we just can not want as a chronic condition.

At some point in the process of a psychoanalysis we face who we are with certainty.  This is not the end of the process.  While at the still point of facing ourselves it becomes important to make the choice that is most comfortable with the self…This is fundamentally different from what we hear about in the media and what we grew up believing.

The comfortable choice allows for the thoughts to come from the ego, but does not buy into the idea that the ego’s voice is the only alternative.  Listening more closely to our body, the anxiety that arises, the lethargy that may impose itself; or the somatic complaints that we may have, need to be heard.  Because these sensations are often un pleasant we at times try to ignore and dismiss the feeling.  When we chose this option the voices of the body come back in a louder and stronger manner.

A question oriented toward self-understanding is the better option.  What am I trying to tell myself with the activation of this anxiety?  Am I on target?  Am I aiming for well-being?  These questions posed to the anxiety can shed light on an otherwise very dark place within our subjective self.

If we are aiming to please others rather than aiming for our well-being first we will lose focus and the lack of clarity actually exacerbates the power of the anxiety or the power of the somatic complaint.

It is important to remember that the idealized version of ourselves is as important to dismantle as is the condition of low self-confidence.

 

Below is an article written by a counselor in Texas.  It is short and it is accurate in its mission.

Happy reading.

 

 

http://www.bettertherapy.org/blog/low-self-esteem/


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The Road Map Is Not The Landscape

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Van Gogh tells a story of a countess who commissioned him to do a portrait.  When the portrait was finished and it came time to unveil the canvas to his subject, she had a startled response.  “My God, she said, “that is not me!”

“No, Madame, you are quite right that is not you, that is a painting of you.”

 

Frequently as we meander through life, we internalize images and thoughts and these images and thought are stored in a “consciousness-storage” container.  Some place in the brain-body matrix we have visions and we hold on to these visions as memories.  They take on an internal life of their own.  We can close our eyes and see a light we saw ten years ago, or we close our eyes and we see a person saying something to us.

At times these visions of our internal world become so real that they appear to us to be our reality.  In fact these visions and memories are simply symbolic representations of those people, places or things.

What is contained in our minds represent the world outside of us, but it is not the world outside of us any more than a road map of the eastern United States is the landscape of the eastern United States.

We can find Flint, Virginia on the map, and a good map will represent the way to get to Flint Virginia, but, it is not Flint, Virginia.  In the same way we often have a dialogue with ourselves and that internal dialogue takes a form that resembles reality.  We can become convinced that this internal dialogue is life, when in actuality the internal only symbolically represents life.

If we go looking inside ourselves for our souls, we will find inside a representation of our souls, but our souls are not in us.  We are in our souls.  The soul, what Emerson called the Over-soul is something that we reside in.  It does not reside in us–we reside in it.

It is an important philosophical distinction because if we can not let ourselves know that life is out-side of us, we will continue to believe that when we find Flint, Virginia on a broad map that is all that there is to Flint.  Guide-post exist inside of us that we can use to find the world, but we ought not confuse the map for the reality.  If we only find our selves on the map we will fall far short of the satisfactions that the universe can provide.

Let’s give it a shot.  Let’s go find ourselves in the world rather than remain content with the representational, symbolic world that exist as a chemical matrix within.