Monday, May 30, 2011

Life script over the life span

Kahless says

Our development goes back to childhood but we do evolve in adulthood. So the 'issues' (lack of va va vroom) in my forties is not something I remember feeling in my twenties. So I have 'evolved' for want of a better word. I am not sure I repressed my child ego state in my twenties.

Life script

0 - 6 years - life script formation

Child trust
All children have to learn to trust, but are the parents trustworthy?

6 - 12 years - latency period. Crystallisation of the life script decisions made previously

12 - 20+ years - antiscript period where the life script is rejected to some degree. Emotional pain can be ignored or seen as a temporary aberration and thus counselling in a serious way may be avoided. Teens and twenty somethings can still think they can handle it and outside assistance is not necessary. If things don’t get better by the late 20s or early 30s they can’t cope anymore and seek counsel. For instance if there are panic attacks or depression this can be the case.

20+ - late 30s - Implementation of the practicalities necessary for conclusion of the life script to be lived out. A whole series of decisions over an extended time will be made to guarantee the life script comes to its final chapter. Financial decisions, relationship decisions, career decisions, where I live decisions, how I live decisions, how I recreate decisions, educational decisions and so forth.

5 girls
Each of these women will construct the practicalities of their life such that their life script will be fulfilled.

40+/50+ years - The life script becomes clearer as the person ends up in the in the life circumstances that were decided on in the first 6 years of life.

In the period from 0 to late 30s years of age the actual outcome of the life script has not occurred and thus one could argue that in one sense the person is kind of script free. In that period the person is still collecting all the life experiences (reinforcing memories and feelings) and structuring the practicalities of their day to day living that are necessary for the final chapter of the life script to come to fruition.

Pool player

Sometimes the teens, 20s and 30s can be quite good times that are at odds to the final life script outcome. But as one hits about 40 years of age the life script begins to show it self clearly. Both the healthy life scripts and unhealthy life scripts.

Graffiti

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book update

Tony White. 2011. Working with suicidal individuals. Jessica kingsley Publishers: London

Released 5 months ago

Get it at a library near you:


Maribor General Hospital Library (Slovenia)
Stellenbosch University Library (South Africa)
Mitt hogskolan library (Sweden)
Stockholm University (Sweden)
PJ Library (Norway)
University of Cambridge (UK)
Oxford University library (UK)
Coventry City Council library (UK)
Bromley Library service (UK)
Cadbury Heath Library (UK)
Kingswood Library (UK)
Yate Library (UK)
British Library (UK)
Hounslow Library (UK)
Executive Counseling and Training Academy (Singapore)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Library(Singapore)
Singapore Polytechnic Library (Singapore)
Curtin University (Aust)
Australian Catholic University (Aust)
Bond University (Aust)
University of Melbourne (Aust)
James Cook University (Aust)
University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA)
National Library of Medicine Maryland (USA)
University of Michigan (USA)
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (USA)
University of Missouri-Columbia (USA)
Akron-Summit County Public Library, Ohio (USA)
University of California Merced (USA)
University of North Carolina Greensboro (USA)
Library of congress (USA)
University of California San Franisco (USA)
Mt. Hood Community College Library Oregon (USA)
National College of Natural Medicine Oregon (USA)
Oregon Health and Science University (USA)
Northeast WI Public Libraries (USA)
College of DuPage Illinois (USA)
Boston College (USA)
University of Chicago Illinois (USA)
University of North Texas (USA)
Laredo Public Library Texas (USA)
University of Texas-Pan American (USA)
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand)
Eastern Institute of Technlogy (New Zealand)
University of Otago (New Zealand)
Rotorua District Library (New Zealand)
Library and Archives Canada (Canada)
City University of Hong Kong (China)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Linda - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion Test results

Linda
47 years old
Female
30/12/1963

1. My favorite story or fairytale was The Magic Far Away Tree.
2. I like when people are happy
3. My mother always told me to be quiet.
4. I always try to be a better person
5. Most men are lovely
6. What bothers me more than anything is chaos.
7. If I could, I would (see answer to number 4)
8. When I was a child, I wanted to live in the Magic Far Away Tree.
9. My father always told me I was fat
10: I think I have a right to feel at ease
11: If I get angry enough, I might break something.
12: I shouldn't get too angry
13. Love is multi faceted
14. I can't organise myself
15. I get depressed when I can't organise things around me
16. A mature adult is a person who accepts who they are
17. One of my most important rule is "Don't worry too much"
18. My parents always told me to stop talking rubbish
19. I failed to work things out for ages.
20. My biggest fear in life is failure
21. Someday I will not worry
22. The child in me is always there in the background waiting
23. Sometimes I think "If only I was a more organised person things would be easier"
24. People like myself like peace and quiet
25. I need to think more clearly
26. Winners are people who think they are winners
27. Marriage is something I value greatly
28. Death should be as inconvenient as possible.
29. My role in my family was small
30. One thing I try to hide from others is my sense of chaos
31. My dreams are usually about escape and my own death
32. Most woman are annoying
33. I really feel guilty when people around me are not happy.
34. When things get tough I see them through
35. When I was a child, my parents never liked each other
36. Sex is unique
37. When someone disagrees with me I don't care
38. If I were an animal I would be a dog
39. The last thing I want to do is not give a shit about anything or anyone
40. What I really learned in school was that the pretty girls got the boys
41. I want my child to be confident about who he is as a person
42. God is something that others might think about
43. A part of me wants to skippy skip out the door and disappear for a while
44. Why can't people be more genuine
45. The story of my life would be called Linda's Twaddle because that is what it is.

Bubble blower

Linda - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion Test results

11: If I get angry enough, I might break something.
12: I shouldn't get too angry
3. My mother always told me to be quiet.
40. What I really learned in school was that the pretty girls got the boys
9. My father always told me I was fat

Result - Possible self destructive urges if anger is not externalised.

Girl




6. What bothers me more than anything is chaos.
14. I can't organise myself
15. I get depressed when I can't organise things around me
25. I need to think more clearly
30. One thing I try to hide from others is my sense of chaos
19. I failed to work things out for ages.

Result - Loss of Adult ego state control in the personality. Potential sign of significant maladaption.


Dont look

33. I really feel guilty when people around me are not happy.
2. I like when people are happy
24. People like myself like peace and quiet


Result - Inability to handle conflict or other’s disquiet. Can be manipulated in relationships. Central factor to resolve in transference relationship.


Graffiti

Kahless - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion Test results

1. I can't remember reading books much as a kid, or what was read to me. My favourite story was based on what I watched on TV. I loved Dr Who and the Cybermen the best.

2. I like when people are nice to me.

3. My mother always told me to be good.

4. I always try to do my best.

5. Most men are selfish.

6. What bothers me more than anything is noise (at the moment.) Also people being late.

7. If I could I would quit work.

8. When I was a child, I , like Roses wanted to fly.

9. My father always told me not to make a fuss and also not to upset my mother.

10. I think I have a right to feel but I rather I didn't at times.

11. If I get angry enough I will tell you to fuck off out of my life.

12. I shouldn’t be so lazy.

13. As Snoopy once said "Love is, never having to say youre sorry."

14. I can’t feel any va va vroomm for life any more.

15. I get depressed when I think too much about life.

16. A mature adult is a person who takes responsibility for their own actions.

17. One of my most important rules is “Don’t make a fuss." (But I do break it if I am angry.)

18. My parents always told me that I should always try my best..

19. I failed to stick with things.

20. My biggest fear in life is being ignored.

21. Someday I will lose some weight!

22. The child in me is very sad at the moment.

23. Sometimes I think “if only ...
I am not an if only person.

24. People like myself are fools to themselves.

25. I need to lose the weight I have put on since quitting the smokes.

26. Winners are people who never give up.

27. Marriage is marriage!

28. Death is inevitable. The timing is choice.

29. My role in my family is to be happy go lucky.

30. One thing I try to hide from others is what is going on in my head.

31. My dreams are usually about (I cant remember my dreams)

32. Most woman are self conscious.

33. I really feel guilty when I think about my parents dying.

34. When things get tough I go into myself.

35. When I was a child, my parents never came and watched me in fencing competitions

36. Sex Female.

37. When someone disagrees with me I will listen to their reasoning.

38. If I were an animal I’d be a dog.

39. The last thing I want to do is to go out.

40. What I really learned in school is that children can be destructive.

41. I want my children to N/A

42. God is and will always be.

43. A part of me wants to ????? I am not good at knowing what I want.

44. Why can’t people just be straightforward and honest and fair?

45. The story of my life would be ordinary.

Smoking woman



Kahless - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion Test results

3. My mother always told me to be good.
4. I always try to do my best.
9. My father always told me not to make a fuss and also not to upset my mother.
12. I shouldn’t be so lazy.
14. I can’t feel any va va vroomm for life any more.

Results - Injunction: ‘Don’t get your needs met’. High Conforming Child ego state. Possible pull to non-life structured into personality.

Closed mouth



14. I can’t feel any va va vroomm for life any more.
15. I get depressed when I think too much about life.
22. The child in me is very sad at the moment.

Results - Repression of Free Child ego state

Woman and truck


17. One of my most important rules is “Don’t make a fuss." (But I do break it if I am angry.)
11. If I get angry enough I will tell you to fuck off out of my life.


Results - Internal release of the life script

Giving digit



5. Most men are selfish.
9. My father always told me not to make a fuss and also not to upset my mother.

Results - Need for a male psychotherapist




Graffiti

Friday, May 27, 2011

Roses - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion results

Name : roses
Age: Almost 49 years old
Sex: Female
Date: 17th May 2011

1. My favourite story or fairytale as a child was “Kimba the white lion”. We weren’t told stories so I first heard them via the telly.

2. I like when people are touchable: we can touch each other and it’s ok.

3. My mother always told me she loves me, that’s why she is saying this or doing this: whatever it was at the time.

4. I always try to not try – either do or don’t do.

5. Most men are male?

6. What bothers me more than anything is when I can’t and I want to.

7. If I could I would believe that I could do anything I wanted to do.

8. When I was a child, I wanted to fly.

9. My father always told me... I don’t think he told me anything. I think he just loved me.

10. I think I have a right to feel everything and anything all the time.

11. If I get angry enough I can and will hurt something... badly!

12. I shouldn’t... hurt anything.

13. Love is a lie.

14. I can’t touch everything. Some things are totally untouchable eg. Love, trust, truth...

15. I get depressed when that feeling happens... that feeling on the inside that makes me hurt so badly all over: my skin mainly.

16. A mature adult is a person who can control themselves regardless of how they’re feeling: regardless of what they want to do or be or say...

17. One of my most important rules is “Don’t be shy”.

18. My parents always told me that they love me.

19. I failed to listen to my parents.

20. My biggest fear in life is that I have, am or/and will hurt something beyond repair.

21. Someday I will die.

22. The child in me is always my friend.

23. Sometimes I think “if only I’d not been born”.

24. People like myself live.

25. I need to love.

26. Winners are people who keep going regardless of success or not.

27. Marriage is legal.

28. Death is good.

29. My role in my family is to love.

30. One thing I try to hide from others is me.

31. My dreams are usually about something that I want them to be about.

32. Most woman are female?

33. I really feel guilty when I do something I know goes against everything I’d like to think is good.

34. When things get tough I so severely get going! Like a dog protecting his/her bone or a bull at a red flag. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!! Oh my goodness! BRING IT ON!!

35. When I was a child, my parents never hugged me.

36. Sex is lovely!

37. When someone disagrees with me I let them.

38. If I were an animal I’d be dangerous!

39. The last thing I want to do is to say that I love someone and not really love them.

40. What I really learned in school is that no one has the power to make me do what I don’t want to do. If I do something for them, it was only because I wanted to first.

41. I want my children to one day understand what it was that’s really important to them... not what ‘is’ important but what’s important just to them alone individually.

42. God is love.

43. A part of me wants to hug you.

44. Why can’t people be touched and it be ok?

45. The story of my life would be called ‘Wasn’t meant to be but happened anyway’.


snowmen
Touch


Roses - Transactional Analysis Sentence Completion results

2. I like when people are touchable: we can touch each other and it’s ok.

14. I can’t touch everything. Some things are totally untouchable eg. Love, trust, truth...

44. Why can’t people be touched and it be ok?

43. A part of me wants to hug you.

35. When I was a child, my parents never hugged me.


Results - Somatic conversion of psychological structures

Body armor


13. Love is a lie.

18. My parents always told me that they love me.

14. I can’t touch everything. Some things are totally untouchable eg. Love, trust, truth...

29. My role in my family is to love.

25. I need to love.

6. What bothers me more than anything is when I can’t and I want to.


Results - Ambivalence in relationships

Eve

23. Sometimes I think “if only I’d not been born”.

21. Someday I will die.

28. Death is good.

35. When I was a child, my parents never hugged me.


Results - Self destructive urges



Graffiti

Monday, May 16, 2011

Transactional Analysis sentence completion test

TA Sentence Completion Test 001

TA Sentence Completion Test 002

To see larger versions click on picture > click on actions > Click on view all sizes

Hand stand


Graffiti

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Psychoanatomy of the eyes

Theory of bioenergetics

Eyes = fear, sadness, power & human contact.

Double function of the eyes - vision and contact
When two people’s eyes meet there is a sense of psychological contact with the quality of the contact varying depending on the look in the eyes. A hard look can be like a slap in the face and a soft look can be like a caress.

One can look into a person, through a person or over a person. Eye contact can be one of the most intimate forms of psychological contact between two people. There can be a sense of feeling or touching the inner essence of the other. That can be exciting, even erotic or it can be frightening and disturbing. It’s about psychological closeness and the eyes can be a reflection of the the person’s comfort or discomfort with that.

Lday picture

Eye contact is particularly important between parent and child. Without eye contact the child can feel a profound sense of being cut off or disconnected from the parent, especially before the child has the ability of speech. The parent communicates so much of their feeling about the child, to the child through the eyes. From loving, affectionate and accepting to angry, hateful and rejecting. And the eyes don’t lie. Words and to a lesser extent body language can be controlled and censored. It is very difficult, if not impossible to censor feelings reflected through the eyes. If you want to know what someone feels about you look into their eyes.

The quality of eye contact between mother and child has considerable effect on the psychology of the infant as well as the functioning of its eyes. If mother has feelings of love and warmth in her eyes the infant responds with a look of pleasure itself and the eyes become soft and relaxed. If the child sees anger and hate in mother’s eyes it will respond with shock and develop a wide eyed frozen with fear look in its eyes. If this becomes habitual and repetitive in the infant its eyes will be maintained in wide eyed shock look. Wide eyes enlarge the field of peripheral vision but reduce central vision and eye dysfunction can result that involves central vision. Myopia and the need for glasses at a young age

The eyes can be a good measure of ego strength. Those with a strong ego can look straight into the eyes of the other. Looking at the other can be an expression of assertion. The unassertive will tend not to do this. The eyes can be used to obtain power in relationships. Sometimes known as “staring the other down”. Dropping the eyes to the floor can be a sign of submission as is found in bowing in Japanese culture.

Japanese lady

Whilst the eyes are connected with the psychology of fear, ego strength and power they are also intimately involved in crying and sadness. Crying is the expression of sadness. The inability to cry or the “Don’t show sadness” injunction is held bodily in the eyes and thus visual or eye problems can result over time.

The amount and range of feelings the eyes can express can be a measure of psychological health. In addition one cannot be considered psychologically healthy if they cannot make or sustain eye contact with another person

Psychosomatic dysfunction involving the eyes

The need for glasses at a young age - childhood to early adulthood. Can result from preverbal experiences of the child. Fear of mother’s expression in her eyes or unresolved preverbal sadness.

Myopia - commonly occurs between the ages of 10 - 14 and can sometimes be attributed to bodily changes and the need to psychologically deal with sexual maturity.

Astigmatism, cross eyed, cataracts, conjunctivitis, dry eyes, sore eyes, habitual closing of the eyes whilst in conversation, facial tics involving the eyes (hemifacial spasms).

Problems with human contact are reflected in eye problems. Very thick glasses or the rim of the glasses can be used as a barrier to eye contact which is used to keep the person feeling safe thus reflecting trust issues in relationships. That can be either, “I don’t trust you” or “You can’t trust me”.

Lady rings on eyes

The habitual unnecessary use of sunglasses is interesting behaviour. It can result in a complete lack of eye to eye contact. That can be to hide feelings of sadness and fear or a sign of considerable discomfort with human contact. It can also be a reflection of a desire to obtain power in relationships and is a sign of a poor ego strength.

“I don’t feel strong enough to let you see who I really am”.

If the sunglass wearer is communicating with others who are not wearing any kind of eye covering it can allow the person to feel a sense of power or control, “I can see you but you cannot see me”. Again reflective of a sense of impotence or powerlessness in the person covering their eyes with sunglasses.

Graffiti

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book update part 2

Working with suicidal individuals.

There is no consistent way that I am aware of to find out which libraries the book is now in. But I have found it in some libraries which I have accidently stumbled across. Listed here:

University of Cambridge (UK)
Curtin University (Aust)
Australian Catholic University (Aust)
Boston College (USA)
City University of Hong Kong (China)
Executive Counseling and Training Academy (Singapore)
Oxford University library (UK)
Eastern Institute of Technlogy (New Zealand)
Oregon Health and Science University (USA)
James Cook University (Aust)
Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Library of congress (USA)
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
British Library
PJ Library (Norway)
Bromley Library service (UK)
University of Missouri-Columbia (USA)
Akron-Summit County Public Library, Ohio (USA)
University of California Merced (USA)

Also two comments from a discussion forum which commented on my book:

Andy Williams • bought a copy about three weeks ago - will be using it to deliver a training on risk assessment at the North East Regional TA Conference in November 2011 at York

Rosemary Napper • I reviewed it for the publisher - I thought in many ways it is an excellent book - and I have found supervisees find it very stabilising. I wonder if it has a role with family members too as its very accessible as well as grounding.

I was sad that it uses classical models of ego states from the 1960s, rather than more contemporary and coherent ideas about ego states. Nonetheless, the way these are used and illustrated with many many case examples works quite well, and clearly works for him as a set of maps to think about both personality and communication............

Reccomend!
And so glad to see a TA book published by a mainstream publisher!
We need more writers!

--------------------------------------

Serbian psychologist Natasa Djurica says:

Overall Tony White's book "Working with suicidal individuals" is interesting, instructive and written in an easy to read style. It reminds me of the book from my childhood, "Journey To The Center of The Earth" by Jules Verne. It captured my Free Child in the reading of it. Is there a better compliment for a book, especially an occupational book?
 
Why the book "Journey To The Center of The Earth"? Probably because Tony White's book was a journey to the centre of suicidality as a human behaviour. He was an excellent guide on this journey.

The book has a logical and systematic structure. It reassures those who think suicide is a danger that lurks behind every human stress, depression or tragedy. He shows this is not the case at all.

In his easy to understand style, the author explain that human behaviour is a reflection of the structure of their personality. This explanation gives strong evidence there is a clear distinction between those who are suicidal and those who are not. The distinguishing feature between the groups are decisions. Early decisions made in childhood under adverse parenting (ego state Child)  or decision modelled by parents or significant others in a process of introjection ( Parent ego state). It is these early decisions in the personality structure that determine suicidal behaviour. Thanks to this book we know suicidal urges are not something lurking in every human.

For some readers this will be surprising. But there is much more.
 
The author then leaves readers with some questions: 
* Most people are unaware of their suicide decision. How do we recognise when the decisions are there? The suicide decision can be activated during someone's life but they also can "sleep" in the personality for their whole life, why? If someone has those decision is there possibility to change them? 

* From his long term practice and rich experience readers are given examples of those behaviours which seem suicidal but are actually not!? He also explains why some behaviours even the potentially lethal end are not suicidal!?

It is very interesting to see how writer leads us from this uncertain position. I can say I found the answers I need. At the end of the journey the reader is well informed about suicidal behaviour, and provided with lots off tools and ways for understanding, assessing, helping, and working with suicidal individuals. 

-----------------

One interesting comment that I see here and have had two others say to me is about the grounding nature of the book. This certainly wasn't planned by me but it may reflect a change in my self over time about working with the suicidal.

Rosemary Napper says of the book - it is stablizing and grounding
Natasa Djurica says - it is reassuring about the danger of suicide

When I meet with a suicidal client these days I am much less alarmed and feel more confident in my dealings with them than I was as a younger psychotherapist. It is good to see that this perhaps is reflected in this book which I had no idea I was doing when I wrote it.

Tony

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Final fantasy 7

The P1 ego state.

As mentioned in the previous post, Final fantasy 1, the fantasy stage of child development and the development of the P1 ego state are closely linked.

Lillith and fantasy

Reference
Pam Levin, 1974. Becoming the way we are. Berkeley: Transactional publications

She states that when people develop problems about this stage they can often have a scary, sinister and demonic quality about them. Children can report nightmares and can have a particular interest in magic.

Levin refers to this stage of development as the Supernatural Child lasting from 3 to 6 years of age. The stage of fantasy and magic and scary things. Witches, potions, spells, dragons, flying broomsticks are all part of this magical, devilish, scary and a bit of fun part of the personality which TA theory would say is the P1 part of the personality. We all know magicians fake it but there is still that part of us that likes to see some magic in action.

This part of the personality is engaged with things like the Harry Potter stories. It can also be found in Batman with characters like the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker. They are presented as mischievous, irreverent and yet appealing characters.

Riddler 2

---------------

Two other pieces of research state:

Bouldin, P.
An investigation of the fantasy predisposition and fantasy style of children with imaginary companions. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 2006, 167(1), 17 - 29.

According to Piaget (1962) (Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton.) fantasy play, daydreaming and dreaming all evolve from the same mental process.

Children who engage in extensive fantasy play tend to be more imaginative. Thus they have an imaginative predisposition.

Children with imaginary friends were more predisposed to engage in fantasy than those children who did not have such friends. (Mean age of children in study was 6 years old)

Children with imaginary friends:
1. Reported they daydreamed more often
2. Daydreamed when alone
3. Felt they could almost see and hear the contents of their daydreams in front of them.

These children are able to create vivid mental images and tend to use these in times of solitude. And more likely to play solitary games with a mythical theme. They are seen as having enriched fantasy lives and are seen as highly imaginative.

Digit girl

Heuvelman, L.R. & Graybill, D.
Assessment of children’s fantasies with the Make A Picture Story: Validity and norms. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1990, 55, 578 - 592.

The younger the child the more fanciful the fantasy

Behaviourally aggressive children tended to have more aggressive fantasies but it is also noted that normal children also make frequent use of violence and aggression in their fantasies. Thus caution must be taken when children display violent fantasises to assume this is a sign of potential aggressive behaviour problems.

Children rarely will have nude figures in their fantasies.

Children will generally have child figures in their fantasies and usually select those of the same sex as the child.

---------------------

Green man 1

The schizoid personality

The DSM notes of the schizoid personality, “Excessive daydreaming is often present”. Based on the research above one can begin to identify those children who have the potential to develop the schizoid personality. For instance those children with fantasy involving imaginary friends.

Once identified one can then adjust their parenting style to make sure the schizoid personality development remains within the normal range. Some key features of the schizoid structure are as such:

Core decision
The world is scary so withdraw from it (people) and don’t show any of your feelings

Other injunctions
Don’t show your feelings
Don’t be close
Don’t belong
Don’t get your needs met

Ego states
Commonly high in Conforming Child ego state as ‘rocking the boat’ will attract attention and make people focus on them which is scary. The “withdrawn Child ego state” best describes them. They have little desire for social interaction. Often good thinkers and so they can be high in Adult ego state. The quiet achiever is a common style for them and thus they make good employees. Low Free Child ego state as that involves the expression of feelings and can also attract attention. They can give the appearance of being cold or aloof.
They in particular find it difficult to express anger (and assertion which is a derivative of anger). So Rebellious Child ego state is not often used. This can make them appear indecisive and not clear in their goals. Often present is a lack of social skills.

Woman sit alone


The demon or lillith.
Other than schizoid personality problems, the P1 stage of development (3 - 6 years of age) can result in the formation of the demon or lillth part of the personality

Consider this quote from Eric Berne who wrote about the demon in his book, ‘What do you say after you say hello’.

He stated, “The demon is the jester in human existence and the joker in psychotherapy.... No matter how well the therapist plans his psychotherapy, the patient always has the upper hand. At the point when the therapist thinks he has the four aces, Jeder plays his joker, and the demon wins the pot. Then he skips merrily off, leaving the doctor to leaf through the deck trying to figure out what happened. Even if he is ready for it, there may be little he can do..... The demon first appears in the high chair, when Jeder scatters his food on the floor with a merry glint, waiting to see what his parents will do. If they make friends with it, it will go onto later mischief, and then perhaps into humorous fun and jokes. If they beat it down, it will lurk surly in the background, ready to leap out at an unguarded moment and scramble his life as it originally scrambled his food.” (Pp 122 - 123).

Berne, E. 1972. What Do You Say After You Say Hello? Bantam: New York.


A fixation at the P1 stage of development can result in this type of behaviour becoming prominent in the personality.

Party

Graffiti

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Final fantasy 6

Up to this juncture I have maintained the following psychological functions fantasy can provide

Fantasy as a defence mechanism
Fantasy in the schizoid personality structure
Fantasy to alter mood - self soothing
Fantasy as a source of strokes - positive and negative
Fantasy and life script reinforcement

It would seem that there are others

Fantasy in the narcissistic personality structure
I have mentioned this before that one feature of the DSM-IV criteria of the narcissistic personality is:

“Preoccupation with fantasises of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.”

Thus it can be stated that fantasy is used by some narcissistic people to maintain that personality structure.

Lady & pig in mud bath

Fantasy as a reflection of current events in a persons life
As with sleep dreams, day dreams can occur as a reaction to events in a person’s life. If one is entering a new relationship they may have fantasies about how it will go or things the two people may do together and so forth. If the person gets a new job they may fantasise various scenarios about what might happen. This also happens in sleep dreams sometimes. When it does this reflects the psychological importance the current event has to the person.

Fantasy as wish fulfilment
This also occurs in sleep dreams. The daydream may be about what the person wishes. A relationship, money, success, sporting ability, their team winning the grand final, finding a lost child, to be the dependent one in a relationship and so forth.

Thus we have some of the ways fantasy can be used by the fantisizer. There may be others that come to light subsequently but at the moment we have this:

Fantasy as a defence mechanism
Fantasy in the schizoid personality structure
Fantasy to alter mood - self soothing
Fantasy as a source of strokes - positive and negative
Fantasy and life script reinforcement
Fantasy in the narcissistic personality structure
Fantasy as a reflection of current events in a persons life
Fantasy as wish fulfilment

XBOX party

There is one other point that must be made. This does not relate to the function of fantasy but how fantasy can be used in therapy. This I mentioned in final fantasy 5. If one maintains that daydreams are expressions of the unconscious or they arise from the unconscious, one can use them therapeutically the same way one would use dream analysis with sleep dreams. It is a way of understanding the unconscious of the individual.

For example Kahless stated:

“I used to day-dream being a secret agent, or a fireman, or Lara Croft”(end quote).

A therapist may ask of her,
What are the qualities of Lara Croft that are important in the fantasy?
What does Lara Croft do in the fantasy?
What is her relationship to others in the fantasy?

Of course the answer to each of these questions if simply a reflection of the psyche of Kahless. As with sleep dream work they each are part of her in some way. The therapist seeks to find out what those are and then finds a way to use them therapeutically. For instance it may become apparent that Kahless is not owning the Lara Croft in her. Some of the qualities she sees in Lara Croft she has in her own personality but is in denial about them at the moment. One could then use two chair to facilitate her accepting that part of her personality. As I also said in final fantasy 5 it is the theme that the therapist is looking for. The character of Lara Croft is not important. It is what that character means to Kahless that is important. The theme of the character and the theme of what the character does.

Of particular note with this is sexual fantasies. Whilst fantasy of heroic deeds or of great wealth can be used to understand the psyche, sexual fantasises have the extra feature of involving very close, intense and intimate relating. They involve at least two people interacting in a very close and intimate way. Fantasy about winning the grand final or being dux of the school does not have the same feature. Thus sexual fantasises assume extra importance in this way.

In using sexual fantasises in this way one firstly takes the sex out of the equation.
Forget about the sex and how are these two people relating?
If they were relating with the same theme in a non sexual way, what would they be doing?

Thus the unconscious wants, fears and needs involving intimate relationships becomes more defined. What the person’s unconscious feels about self and others and their relating becomes clearer.

Graffiti

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sex work

I was asked to write this for a magazine article. I thought I would post it here as well.

In my years of work I have counselled many prostitutes or sex workers as they preferred to be called. The largest group I have worked with have been females who prostitute themselves to males or couples. There is a smaller group who I have worked with and they are males who prostitute themselves to male clients. I will keep my comments restricted to the female sex workers that I have counselled.

There is a wide variety of sex work. There are those who work in massage parlours where there is no intercourse and the women simply gives ‘hand relief’ or oral sex. There are escort services where the woman is hired as a partner for the evening. That can include very little sexual contact or full sexual contact depending on the woman and the circumstances. The street walkers stand by the road side to obtain customers and provide the full range of sexual contact. The same applies for brothels and the privateers who work on their own or with a few women together in their own flat or apartment. Brothels tend to be preferred because they are the safest but the ‘house’ takes a cut of the money earned.

Women enter the sex industry for a wide variety of reasons. Some will do a period of sex work (a few months to a few years) for purely financial reasons, then stop and never work again. Common examples of this are students who need money or single mothers who need extra money to survive for a period of time.

Money

The street walkers tend to be the more desperate women and drug habits are common. Most brothels wont allow the women to be using drugs so they have to move to the streets to get money. This is where the most tragic life scripts are lived out. The sex worker may end up having sex with men in cars for $30 so as to buy the next ‘hit’. Desperate women who live horrid lives. Commonly found in counselling when working in drug rehabilitation.

Then there is the career prostitute who often works in brothels or as a privateer when they have established a clientele who they ‘steal’ from the brothel. This woman has decided that she will make her money by prostituting herself. She is prepared to do this and one can make very good money doing precisely that. They can make much more money as a prostitute than working as a waitress. A $100+ per hour up to thousands of dollars per hour for the high class prostitute.

However very few end up financially well off at the end of their careers. They are typically poor planners in life, including financial planners and do not have healthy life scripts. Not uncommonly there has been some kind of sexual abuse in their childhood or some other kind of abuse and thus then end up not in good circumstances at the end of their lives. But the sex work gives them lots of money for a period of time and they can live the good life which they could not do if they had a usual job.

Street prostitute2

In addition to their early scripting being a sex worker typically destroys the self esteem. Some prostitutes report they will spend their money of expensive clothes, jewellery, etc to try and make self feel good because she feels so bad about being a prostitute.

She learns how to shut herself off from the man and the sex. So she desensitises or maybe even dissociates to protect her Free Child and over time this slowly destroys her love for herself. Whilst allowing full sexual contact with the man she will often have things which she does not allow. Commonly they are kissing, hand holding or gentle caressing. Those things which the woman sees as a sign of emotional intimacy. She wants no emotional intimacy with the man because that makes it much harder for her shut off emotionally from the sex and physical contact with the man.

Common personality types for the female sex worker would be borderline and antisocial. There are many others as well but these probably are the most common. Oddly enough not uncommonly the female sex worker can be a lesbian. Also not that uncommon is for the prostitute to have a partner whilst working. As one can imagine the partner has to be somewhat understanding or you get the partner who is unemployed and lives of the woman's earnings. Often they do not make good choices as to partners. When the career sex worker comes to the end of her career, she does less sex work and more legitimate work and she can end up with a very long term client as her partner at least to some degree.

Shusi woman

Most sex workers feel they are the one exploiting the client, not the other way around as one might think. They see themselves as conning the man by acting that she likes him when in fact she may despise him. That she can do something as simple as giving him a hand job and get $100 out of him. They may use this type of thinking to maintain some kind of self respect as being the one who is really in charge of the situation.

Graffiti

Friday, May 6, 2011

Psychosomatics

From the theories of Franz Alexander

Body Script Psychomatics
To see larger click on picture > click on actions > click on view all sizes

The endocrinology of psychosomatic disturbance.

Graffiti

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Final fantasy 5

Definition of daydreams (Fantasy)

In final fantasy 2 I looked at what daydreams are. Part of that was to distinguish them from memory and I concluded

Thus we have three main characteristics of fantasy:
1. It is a cognitive process
2. It involves creative thought
3. It causes some change in mood or leads to some kind of psychological advantage

Comments by Kahless, Roses and KYLady have now added to this definition thus providing a more comprehensive understanding of the subject. Some of the comments made were:

“The other way I use fantasy is to explore how I would feel about something. Sometimes I imagine a particular event happening, like a bereavement (which is quite a common one of late) and then I play out in my mind how I would behave and how I would act. I think through what I would say and how I would feel. So sometimes fantasy can be a training ground?”

and

“I practice golf in my imagination all the time. A boring meeting is the perfect time to play at least 9 holes”. (end quotes)

Batman makeup

I need at this juncture to distinguish between thinking and daydreaming. The two examples to me show some kind of mental exercise for some kind of gain. Sports psychologists also use this kind of thing. They counsel the sports person to imagine themselves winning the race. As I develop this work on daydreaming I would exclude these from my definition of daydreams. The daydreams I am talking about are driven by the unconscious just like sleeping dreams are. Thus we have a fourth aspect of daydreams:

4. They are expressions of the unconscious or they arise from the unconscious.

People can engage in all sorts of mental tasks as KYLady and Kahless demonstrate above. They are not daydreaming because they are not expressions of the unconscious. I see the need to make this distinction because it allows us to keep daydreaming and sleep dreaming as psychologically similar processes. If we restrict the definition of daydreaming as I suggest then they remain useful in therapy particularly with diagnosis. Or one can use daydreams in the same way one would do sleep dream work in therapy. If we include mental activity that is not an expression of the unconscious then the concept of daydreams looses some of its therapeutic applications.

As with sleep dreams, daydreams will arise spontaneously driven by what is in the unconscious. Initially one does not plan the daydream. After a daydream has been created the individual may repeat the same sort of daydream theme over and over. This is reported by Kahless when she says:

“I used to day-dream being a secret agent, or a fireman, or Lara Croft”

and when I discuss the man who reported

“A 27 year old male reports that when he gets very down he will create visual scenarios (fantasies) in his mind. Typically he does this when he goes to bed at night. They are very violent and always involve him getting hurt. For instance he imagines himself being stabbed or shot by someone else or he will imagine himself shooting, stabbing or cutting himself with big knives. In essence we have fantasised self harm.”(end quote)

Two women

Thus the content and theme of the daydream arises spontaneously from the unconscious. Once developed the person often repeats the same daydream theme with minor changes to players and scenarios. It is the theme of the daydream that the therapist is interested in because this is what gives the insight into the unconscious.

Once created the person may use the daydream for a variety of psychological reasons some of which I described in final fantasy 4 and will add to in final fantasy 6. For instance as a source of strokes, as a defence mechanism, to maintain schizoid withdrawal or narcissistic self aggrandisement.

Graffiti

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Final fantasy 4 (Edit # 2)

The various forms fantasy can take.

Fantasy as a defence mechanism.
As originally posited by Freud many, many years ago fantasy can be used as a defence mechanism. A defence mechanism is meant to defend a person from anxiety producing stimuli. It is designed to keep their sense of self intact when confronted with unpleasant information.

The example often used to demonstrate this defence mechanism comes from James Thurber’s tale, “The secret life of Walter Mitty”. He was a meek man dominated by a bullying wife. Such a situation would damage anyone’s self esteem. He copes with it by escaping into daydreams where he does heroic deeds as a sea captain or knight in shining armour. This allowed his self respect to be saved at least while he was daydreaming.

Slave girls

They do not have to be heroic deeds, it may be fantasising of a lovely place or a relationship that brings good feelings. If fantasy is used as an escape from painful information in real life then the fantasy may be a defence mechanism.

The young child who has to deal with loud parental arguments can do so by going into withdrawal and daydreaming. The Free Child ego state deals with the anxiety by simply thinking about something else and thus the anxiety reduces.

Kahless provided us with an example of her daydreams. This is a good example which shows a number of interesting features.

“My day dreams generally revolve around me performing a heroic but fatal deed.

I used to day-dream being a secret agent, or a fireman, or Lara Croft.

These days I am just me. This very morning I day-dreamed that I was at work, in a meeting and armed gun-men stormed in. They said they would release everyone if someone volunteered to play russian roulette. I volunteered. I looked them in the eye and said "come on then fuckers."

I fantasise aka day-dream, a lot.

In real life, people around me say I am courageous. I think I am and I am not. Sometimes I like to just plain put my head in the sand.

Maybe this links into my blog name and my avatar.

Kahless - a Klingon warrior
and a lion who maybe from the Wizard of Oz.” (end quote)

Teenager, dissociated, suicide

In working with such a person there is no direct sign here that the daydreaming is being used to avoid painful circumstances. One would need to enquire as to that. The fact that she reports daydreaming a lot is a sign that she may be using fantasy as a defence mechanism.

Fantasy in the schizoid personality structure
Fantasy can be an important part of the schizoid personality type. That person who is socially isolated and does not have much interest in being otherwise. That is they do not crave a lot of social contact and are OK being a ‘loner’. One would be enquiring from the above example about their social life and desire to form relationships. If there is little interest in social contact then the fantasising could be seen as one way by which the individual copes. A rich fantasy life allows the person to psychologically withdraw and obtain the strokes they need at least to survive. The schizoid person is commonly stroked deprived as a result of little social contact. The fantasies can provide some level of strokes for them.

Of course the person who uses fantasy as a defence mechanism can also use fantasy as part of their schizoid personality structure. But this is by no means always the case. The defence mechanism of fantasy may be used in quite specific circumstances to deal with difficult circumstances and then the fantasising ceases. The schizoid personality who uses fantasy does so in a far more wide ranging way. They may fantasise as a defence mechanism but they will also fantasise when there is nothing to defend against. The schizoid is a withdrawn type of person and the fantasising is used to facilitate that withdrawal.

Young girl and helicopters

It is reported in the example that she daydreams a lot so one would be questioning about other features of the schizoid personality type so as to make a judgement on that diagnosis.

Fantasy to alter mood
It would seem that fantasy could operate in both ways, to provide for a pleasant mood and have a self soothing effect and to be used to provide angst and emotional disquiet.

It is probably safe to say that the majority of fantasy is used to self soothe. The fantasizer uses it to generate a more positive mood. The most obvious example of this is with sexual fantasies, however there are many other kinds of fantasies which could do the same. Any fantasy that has desirable content could be seen to achieve a self soothing effect. Indeed in therapy people who have trouble self soothing can use the soothing effects of fantasy as a means to start learning how to self soothe. Certainly a good skill to have.

The fantasy example we were provided with by Kahless states:

“I dont use day dreams to defend against anxiety, but I guess in the main I do daydream for self gratification”(end quote)

and

“I will drift mostly into daydream I think when I am bored. That is particularly when driving, or sat in a meeting at work that has lost my attention or when the tv is on.”(end quote)

Thus indicating the use of fantasy to self soothe and generate a more positive mood.

Smiling child

However there are perhaps two exceptions to this where undesirable content in the fantasy can also have a soothing effect. The first I talk about in my book - Working with suicidal individuals - when I mention suicide fantasies and their potential self soothing effects.

The client who reported as an 8 year old child she used to sing the rhyme, “I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead”. She had developed a rudimentary suicidal fantasy that allowed her to feel better when under stress at home. She used it to soothe painful feelings as it gave her a fantasised escape hatch from a very undesirable domestic situation.

Then a case study was presented on the topic of escape hatches.
“Having the (suicide) option there in the back of my head actually serves to help me. It doesn't help once the danger is more immediate. When it starts making messes. But on a day to day basis it is nice.

It helps with the more minor bad things like 'yes this situation is bad, but it's not quite bad enough to kill myself over, which if it does get worse is an option.'

I visualize the (suicide) method in my head a lot though during times of stress. It's soothing”
(End quote)

Woman on tracks

Second we have what amounts to fantasised self harm. I wrote this some time ago on another blog.

A 27 year old male reports that when he gets very down he will create visual scenarios (fantasies) in his mind. Typically he does this when he goes to bed at night. They are very violent and always involve him getting hurt. For instance he imagines himself being stabbed or shot by someone else or he will imagine himself shooting, stabbing or cutting himself with big knives. In essence we have fantasised self harm.

Self harm in an ironic kind of way is about self soothing. Most often people self harm because it makes them feel better at least partially (as well as distressed by it often). They are in some important way soothed by it. This man reports that such fantasies make him feel better afterwards. He feels a sense of relief and he finds that it relaxes him and reduces the tension he was feeling previously. This is typically reported by some self harmers.

Above describes how some people use fantasy to change their mood in a positive way where they end up feeling better. Some use fantasy for the opposite reason where they end up feeling worse.

Fantasy and strokes
This in transactional analysis relates to stroke theory. In childhood people develop their stroking patterns then compulsively repeat the same kind of stroking patterns in adulthood. If they tended to receive positive strokes in childhood they will set about receiving the same in adulthood through the way they relate, by the activities they do and by the fantasies they have. If they tended to receive negative strokes in childhood they will do the same in adulthood in the same way including the fantasies they have. In these circumstances the fantasy is used to change the mood in a more painful direction.

Fantasy can be quite a powerful way to obtain strokes because they can be achieved at any time and are guaranteed (completely reliable). They are not dependent on some other person doing something. The outcome is completely dependent on the fantasizer and no other person or set of circumstances.

Look at my muscles

Fantasy and life script reinforcement
Related to this is the concept of reinforcing memories. In Transactional Analysis theory people are said to have a collection of reinforcing memories that will reinforce their perceptions of self and others. For example if a person is somewhat paranoid and believes you cannot trust others he will have a collection of reinforcing memories to support that belief. As he goes through life he will collect (maintain recall) those experiences when his trust was broken or he saw people behave in untrustworthy ways. He will conveniently forget or loose the recall of those experiences where people behaved in trustworthy ways. This makes his world reliable and consistent with the conclusions he has made about it. that you cannot trust people.

Fantasy can be used in the same way. If one is constantly hearing stories of betrayal and disloyalty that will over time take its toll. Even though they are fictional tales it can still support the early decisions in a kind of clandestine way. As an example one needs only to look at the psychology of the narcissistic personality. One of the diagnostic criteria in the DSM for the narcissist is:

“Preoccupation with fantasises of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.”

This begins to show some of the psychological power that fantasies can have in the human psyche. One could argue that they are of little importance because they are fictional and thus they will be dismissed as having any meaning for the person’s psychology. However as the DSM indicates it has been discovered that a significant number of narcissists will fantasise in a way that is consistent with the beliefs of their exceptional worth, importance, specialness and so forth. The fantasies support the personality structure of these individuals.

Paranoid pictures

However it must also be remembered that people use fantasy for a variety of reasons and this is just one of them.

For instance we can go back to the example provided by Kahless where she states:

“My day dreams generally revolve around me performing a heroic but fatal deed.

I used to day-dream being a secret agent, or a fireman, or Lara Croft.” (end quote)

We know from her comments in final fantasy 4 (Edit #1) where she states:

“I think I would tend to have schizoid characteristics. Incidentally my partner a number of times these last weeks has commented on how cold and distant I have been lately.” (end quote)

She is not of a narcissistic personality but reports fantasies that one could find from the narcissistic type of person. She is fantasising heroic deeds for some other reason than to support a narcissistic personality structure.

The point at hand is to ascertain from the client does the fantasy have any meaning for them in terms of supporting their life script beliefs. If this is the case then various treatment options open up with the use of fantasy. Give the narcissistic client homework where they fantasise self as just an average citizen. Or even do a guided fantasy with such an individual where there is nothing exceptional about them. This is similar with the treatment options of getting a person to change their reinforcing memories. The same could apply by getting the person can change their reinforcing fantasies.

There are still more reason what people fantasise. Watch this space.

Graffiti

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final fantasy 4 (Edit # 1)

The various forms fantasy can take.


Graffiti