Working With Unconscious Forces
Understanding & Using ‘Potential Space’
To Deepen Process
Why We Work With
This year we will gain a deeper understanding and respect for the power of unconscious forces at work in every therapeutic encounter, and across the therapeutic process over time.
Unconscious Forces: The unconscious is the vast sum of operations of the mind that take place below the level of conscious awareness.
During this coming training year, we will bring our attention towards what motivates us, what hinders our efforts, what gets us in trouble, by directing our awareness more actively towards the presence of these forces just below the surface of conscious awareness.
We will grow our appreciation for how unconscious impulses and motivations can sabotage and work against the conscious strivings of the ego’s wishes and will.
Working with the unconscious dynamics as they arise within a therapeutic context requires us to suspend judgment, open a space of deep curiosity and sharp awareness, both towards what is happening in the mind, in the body and between practitioner and client. More than ever, we will enter a space of not knowing and perhaps un-knowing together.
Potential Space As Transformative Space
As practitioners we will deepen our sensitivity towards creating and using ‘the potential of spaciousness’, which the client may step into and make use of newly arising possibilities, if they are capable and ready for it.
The same spaciousness will allow us to linger more with our experiences, with subtle and fleeting impressions, by which the client leaves a mark on us below the surface of our conscious processing.
We will also work with our understanding and experience of countertransference as part of a transformative experience. We can view our countertransference as being our subjective and embodied response to how the client feels, thinks, and acts with us.
THE MASOCHISTIC (SELF-DEFEATING) PERSONALITY
In the light of working with unconscious forces as well as offering a transformative Space, we will address the Masochistic Personality.
We will come to understand this character’s self-destructive tendencies as an effort to keep an attachment at any cost.
We will examine their tendency to endure pain and suffering in the hope, conscious or unconscious, of some greater good, coupled with the tendency towards self-punishment in relationship with authority to find relief from the anxiety produced by the expected punishment from outside.
In addition, we will bring attention to their deep unconscious guilt and shame, often coupled with unacknowledged anger, resentment, and indignation. We will come to appreciate their deep anxiety produced by their intention to move their lives forward in life giving ways.
EMPHASIS ON EMBODIMENT
The body being one of the most effective tools to enter unconscious spaces with our clients, we will learn to pay closer attention to how our client’s bodies are signaling our bodies what is underneath the content of our client’s awareness.
We will also assist our clients in becoming aware of their unconscious body messages and make sense of them within the light of their story, as well as finding resources to shift their orientation.
In addition, we will deepen our felt sense of being in the body, and simply just ‘being a body’, gaining more appreciation for what it takes to embody a zest for life. We will sharpen our sense of relational embodied presence, coming to understand the function of positive regard toward our clients as well as towards the process happening between us.
Our mindful morning practice will be grounding our experience of the depth of our somatic presence, finding space in the ‘here and now’ as we deepen into the experience of our physicality of the present moment.
We will explore ways in which we can allow our embodied experience to be more fluid, more inclusive, and more relational, while holding the ground within our center.
We will also integrate the physiology and psychology of self-compassion into our daily practice in ways in which we become able to meet the necessary challenges of human existence with a deeper and more compassionate tolerance for what it means to be human. We recognize that when we generate compassion towards our shortcomings and human tendencies, rather than criticism, not only are we changing our mental and emotional experience, but we are also changing our body chemistry.