Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Birth of a New Self

I see a psychotherapist once a week. I've been thinking about cutting down the sessions to once every two weeks, or even once a month. There is no magic in our sessions. I attach no feeling of specialness to our interaction. Psychotherapy should be magical, it should be special. Special in the sense that one feels sensations that are not experienced in the mundane world. One should feel some connection to one's inner self, a connection to one's past and one's future possibilities. One should begin to see the grand connection between the inner world of wish fulfillment and the everyday human world of real objects. Psychotherapy should inspire a sense of the connectedness between past and present, between the self and others, and between conscious and unconscious. Therapy should be a process of synthesis and integration of the consciously-experienced self and the world of the seemingly alien. The revelations of the patient should be allowed to flow naturally, they should not be forced. The patient should act, feel, and say in the moment things that resonate at all the levels of his existence -- that resonate with the past; with unconscious wishes, conflicts and prohibitions; and with the Others of his life. Therapy should be a succession of moments of greater than normal psychological sensitivity. The therapist needs to confer significance upon the patient's suffering by making meaningful interpretations.

My therapist treats our interaction as an interrogation: an Inquisition of the self, as it were. It is an unholy Inquisition that torments and troubles me. I don't like being closely questioned. It seems that my therapist is only capable of asking questions, one after another. I like being questioned as much as a resistance fighter likes being interrogated by the Gestapo or an atheist by the Inquisition! But I don't, as some seem to think, just blindly disregard my therapist. There are therapists like mine who want facts, facts, facts, and of course I know their pursuit is profoundly useful. It's just that my daily, present world sometimes seems very remote from theirs. Therapy should be like old love affairs -- there is so much, not all bad, that one doesn't want to talk about, so much one can't talk about -- either because of reservations or repression. A great deal of therapy's beauty and excitement for the patient lies in the now in which the facts of one's life are being revealed. Like most, I am a bit manic-depressive, though the poles for me seem to lie much more between an active self and a nonentity. One self knows profoundly that it is neither important nor socially relevant at all; another, seen at far rarer moments, seems sometimes possessed. I feel identity with the average tribal shaman or the object of the shaman's ministrations.

The shaman, healer and spiritual expert in aboriginal Siberian culture, acts as the intermediary between humanity and the alien forces of disease and environmental catastrophe. Thus he fills the void wrought in the texture of existence by the incomprehensible experience of suffering. He serves as the link between the everyday human world and the realm of the ineffable, the unconscious, or, in his subjective belief the supernatural, and like Persephone he inhabits both worlds. He must experience the alien in himself as a prerequisite for interpreting and conferring significance upon the suffering of those who consult him for help against illness or misfortune. This personal experience of the alien, which resembles a mental disorder, is a major source of the apparent effectiveness of his form of psychotherapy, as it encourages the development of a greater than normal psychological sensitivity for his ever-renewed attempts to heal himself and his culture mates.

The ultimate aim of psychotherapy should be a kind of hatching: the birth of a new self out of the shells and slime of one's past existence. Psychotherapy should not simply be the accumulation of more and more facts about the patient.

4 comments:

javier said...

oye y que quieres que haga si sobreviviste a un maldito vuelo yo no tengo la culpa idiota no me escribas para decirme bobadas. tonto

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