PSEN Workshops Focused on Character Types
The Importance of Understanding Character Styles in Depth Processes
Character types provide us with an imperfect and incomplete “map” of an invisible inner territory in the human psyche worth exploring.
They offer a wise and compassionate way of understanding the dilemmas and issues of being human, as we move along a spiritual journey.
Each year in our PSEN Training Programs, we focus our learning on a particular character style, to better understand how to help those who identify strongly with this style to move beyond self limiting patterns of thinking and acting in the world.
We also focus on character to better support and assist our clients in developing more fully as human beings, and to not become embedded or entrenched in their character style.
- For our 2017-2018 year of PSEN Workshop offerings, we will focus on Alexander Lowen’s depiction of The Rigid Character’s structure and style.
- The Rigid Character can be best understood as an amalgamation of various types of obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors – that shift the focus away from one’s internal core, and towards an external focus on the periphery of life.
For our PSEN Workshop Intensive, we will focus on the following themes:
The Rigid Character
- Reflects facets of obsessive thoughts & compulsive behaviors.
- Is a parallel to Freud’s original “anal character”.
- Has the symptoms of The “Disciplined Child”.
The Rigid Character’s Dilemma
- The more there is to constrain, the harder it is to function like the well-oiled machine that carries the idealized image for this character structure.
- Essentially, the rigid character is just trying to stay out of trouble, and fears that if they should relax, they will be in deep trouble.
- This leads to an embedded a pervasive sense of anxiety. Every internal motivation basically derives from this anxiety-driven dilemma.
The Rigid Character & Authority
- Quite submissive towards authorities on the one hand, and yet they can also be correspondingly authoritarian with those they sense are “beneath” them in some way.
- Authoritarianism provides a sanctioned way of releasing the pent up hostility that is a consequence of being so strictly dominated by authority.
The Rigid Character & Authenticity
- Often, the first authentic experience for the rigid character is “obsessive doubt”, which triggers indecisiveness or inconclusiveness.
- Individuals who are very absorbed in keeping lists and order, and doing all activities required to maintain them – they do not have time or psychic energy to engage in interior exploration.
- Have an underlying anxiety, insecurity and uncertainty are kept bound up by this type of driven activity.
The Rigid Character’s Crisis Point in Development
- This crisis point for the rigid is diving headlong into his “authentic doubt”, into the void of his insubstantial condition. The anxiety here is real, the nothingness is real – and must be tolerated – it shakes the very foundation for the rigid character.
Healing Objectives for the Rigid Character
- The essential objective is to reconnect the rigid character with her basic human nature.
- Uncovering, expressing, and releasing emotions are life-giving tasks for those who have a rigid character structure.
- The id, shadow and warrior are all locked in a self-maintained restraint – exploring this inner territory is what can liberate the rigid character.
The Format for this PSEN Workshop Will Be:
- Mindfulness Meditations on Letting Go & Letting Flow
- Lectures on The Rigid Character
- Large Group Sharing on Embodying Compassion for the Rigid Dilemma.
- Large Group Demo & Experientials to Deepen Connection to the Core Issue.
- One to One Process Sessions to Practice the Work, both personally and as the practitioner.
- Small Group Supervision Sessions to Develop a Practitioner’s Mind for Rigid Character work.
- Large Group Integration Sessions.
“Being a character means that one is a spirit, that one conveys something in one’s being which is barely identifiable as it moves through others to create personal effects, but which is more deeply graspable when one’s spirit moves through the mental life of the other, to leave its trace.”
- Christopher Bollas