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Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

Last post 03-20-2007, 1:14 PM by ralphweidner. 46 replies.
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  •  06-01-2006, 3:47 PM 85

    • gail is not online. Last active: 08/24/2008, 9:48 PM gail
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    Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    How do you apply AQAL to psychology and psychotherapy? 
    What advice can you offer others about doing psychotherapy in a way that's Integrally Informed?
    What questions do you have that you'd like suggestions on?

    Post in reponse to this thread, and let's share the wealth of insight out there!

    For more academic conversations on this topic, check out Integral University's Study Groups on the subject.

    PS:  Forum Facilitators wanted - email gail@integralinstitute.org
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  •  06-21-2006, 10:20 AM 305 in reply to 85

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Hi, all,

    In case you happen to see it, I wrote a TMI double post and have now deleted it, in favor of something a bit more inviting of discussion.

    I have some questions:

    -What do people think are the most important developmental lines, and why?

    -How would you differentiate the three following "altered states"?

    1. Big mind?
    2. Being repeatedly hit in the face with a big soft pillow until all thoughts stop (from "I Heart Huckabees")?
    3. Feeling like you're not present, not there, for a few moments, and having the feeling scare you?

    In other words, is every no-self feeling post-conventional?  And how do you know the difference?

    -Many traditional psychotherapies have in common that one major goal is spontaneity, translucence, "function pleasure " (bioenergetics), or pure, childlike openness to experience, only without losing your head (rational faculties, self-reflection).  What do you think that is? 

    -What would a "love" line of development look like, and would there somehow also be a compassion line?  Is there a difference?



    Best,
    Joanne




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  •  06-22-2006, 10:31 AM 329 in reply to 305

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Another question for folks:

    I'll daresay that spiritual development and ILP work is extremely psychological in nature, if psychology is the study of all aspects of the mind.

    Here's one of those psychospiritual/transpersonal questions:  It apparently happens that a person might "fall in love with" their guru, as part of their spiritual development. 

    Is that "eros" of a healthy sort, like a transference that may or may not even happen?  Or, is it primitive idealization?  Or both? 

    Let's say we didn't know which.  I'd think that maybe the best PTF prevention possible would be to ask oneself the following question, when feeling intense love or longing for one's guru or teacher:

    Is any of this feeling a (developmentally) "higher" feeling?  Is any of this feeling something more primitive, something with a little bit of an ego-feeding, or "regular sexual" feeling? 

    I haven't had a guru, but in general, when I ask this of myself in any spiritual or seemingly post-con experience (even cog), I usually find that I can answer a bit of "yes" to both.  For example, if I think I'm full of universal love, I might be able to detect a little self-esteem feeding in it.  Then I proceed and just keep a little eye on that preconventional part. 

    Maybe people have some ideas about Guru Eros or primitive idealization.
    Best,
    Joanne

    P.S.  Let's say that the Eros is in fact something "higher", more subtle, refined, otherworldly, as it were.  In the depth therapies, a therapist has the client "stay with the feeling" and let it evolve.  I've done this in therapy with people, with the emotion of joy.  Just an idea...

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  •  06-22-2006, 12:26 PM 332 in reply to 305

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Hey,
    Great to see conversations like this starting.
    I think it's important to remember, when discussing Big Mind, Huckabee's Pillow Meditation, and a sense of absence, that these are states, and not stages. So Attilla the Hun could have a Big Mind experience, but since he's a pretty pre-conventional fellow, he wouldn't do much with it at first. On the other hand, someone steeped in ILP, with a powerful AQAL IOS and a history of shadow-work, etc, would get much more out of Pillow Meditation than Attilla (even though the latter was surely hit on the head numerous times). So I think any no-self state or feeling can have a post-conventional interpretation, but none are inherently post-conventional, any more than waking, dreaming, and deep sleep are post- or pre-conventional in and of themselves.
    And then we get an issue that's always bothered me with AQAL. Wilber divides states as though they're perfectly distinguishable, and any two tokens of the same type of state are identical. He admits this isn't so, but then speaks as if it were for the sake of simplicity. So when we look at the territory, instead of the map, we see that the boundaries between states are rather fluid. Any two Big Mind moments are different, and some might get very close to Huckabee's Pillow Mind, and others might get closer to the sense of absence you describe, and that's just how it goes.
    All that said, one can still find differences between the general natures of states, even if they aren't perfectly distinguishable. And I think there definitely are distinctions between the three you mentioned. How's this for an effort:
    When you're in Big Mind, you're very aware, very connected to everything that arises in your consciousness. I think in Huckabee's Pillow Mind you're almost shocked out of awareness, given a break from always being aware of things, so that you can then start to examine things again from scratch. And particularly when you're feeling like you're not present, that's almost the opposite of Big Mind, which is very present, almost omnipresent.
    I don't know if any of this is right, but it might be a good place to start from in discussing the question.
    As for lines, I think there's definitely a "Love Line" if you will (and even one that doesn't have a 900 number) I'm sure everyone's personal experience will confirm that the way we approach love, what we expect of it, what we're willing to do for it, what we think it means, etc all changes as we get older and learn and grow and discover. A lot of relationships fail because people are on different levels in the love line, and don't understand why the other doesn't understand their needs or feel their affection.
    I imagine that there is a compassion line separate from love, but I don't think lines are perfectly distinguishable any more than states, so there must be lots of interplay between them (like how the cognitive line effects all the others).
    Ken likes to summarize lines with a question. Cognitive is "Of what am I aware?" Aesthetic is "Among those things of which I am aware, what do I find beautiful." So can anyone think of a question that sums up the love line? I can't.
    It seems to me that the theory of lines in general, how they interact, what causes growth, etc, is all very underdeveloped. We might need to understand the nature of lines much better before we can really say something about a love line.
    I, of course, have no actual data on anything I've said. And any conversation based only on my personal experience and intuition is a bit suspect in an AQAL setting. So I'm eager to hear another perspective on this.
    And as an II employee, I should add that I'm really excited to see conversations like this starting on the Multiplex forums. It's great to have you all here.
    Yotam
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  •  06-22-2006, 1:12 PM 335 in reply to 332

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    I would suggest that a question for a Love line of development would be "Among those things of which I am aware, what can I grant acceptance just as it is and just as it is not?"  When you get down to it, love could be said to be what's present when total acceptance of a thing or person is present.  This total acceptance is distinct from acquiesence.
    One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. --Andre Gide

    Hope is as hollow as fear. --Lao-tzu
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  •  06-22-2006, 2:46 PM 343 in reply to 335

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Wow, other people.  :)

    Hi, Yotam and Cahacker,

    First, about love, I’ll try and dig up some info I have from some other group (IONS, ISSSEEM?), in which someone presented at a conference a bunch of info on love as a developmental line. If I find it, it might be fun to "chew on" here. 

    Yotam, fun insight about Attilla’s states.  I agree that waking, dreaming, and deep sleep are horizontal.  On the Wilber Combs Matrix, the Y-axis is hierarchical--developmental.  When a person becomes able to bring their conscious/waking awareness into the subtle/dreaming realm, or the deep-sleep/formless/causal realms, then the no-self states are vertical, not horizontal...??

    So, if I have a no-self experience, shall I then go to my meditation cushion and stay in that subjective experience?  Or shall I take myself to a shrink pretty soon? 

    Two contexts, similar feeling:

    Pre-con:  I have a deep-seated "impostor phenomenon" going on, and when my emotional baggage is triggered, I start to feel almost literally like I'm falling apart.  So I unconsciously decide to use my self-esteem-saving  defenses and depersonalize (Wikipedia:  feeling divorced from both the world and from[one's] own identity). Consciously, I think I might be in an altered state, maybe having an awakening.  I go home and sit on my cushion, staying in this nothing state. 

    Post-con:  I'm at a Boulder ILP conference and am an amateur meditator.  On the last day, Ken Wilber comes in and leads a meditation.  I surrender to it, feeling total trust in both Ken and in the group as is has developed.  I find myself in a state I've never felt before and decide to hang out in it.  It fits the descriptions I've read of "causal".  It's certainly pleasant enough, maybe blissful, but later I know that my ego didn't like it, because it was too formless.  It seemed useless and didn't connect to anything. 

    Non-con:  Huckabees pillowface.

    Implication:  I'd prefer to know when to go see the shrink for some new ego-structure building I thought I had, than spend 20 years thinking I'm meditating, with no life improvement.

    For me, it's still a tough question to know when an experience (any spiritual experience) is genuine.

    Best,

    Joanne

     

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  •  06-22-2006, 3:10 PM 345 in reply to 335

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Cahacker wrote: "I would suggest that a question for a Love line of development would be "Among those things of which I am aware, what can I grant acceptance just as it is and just as it is not?"  When you get down to it, love could be said to be what's present when total acceptance of a thing or person is present.  This total acceptance is distinct from acquiesence."

    Yeah, sometimes it seems that when you really love, then to know, to love, and to be almost seem to merge.
    J

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  •  06-23-2006, 4:01 PM 379 in reply to 335

    • rosecpw is not online. Last active: 04-07-2008, 1:57 PM rosecpw
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    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    cahacker:
    I would suggest that a question for a Love line of development would be "Among those things of which I am aware, what can I grant acceptance just as it is and just as it is not?"  When you get down to it, love could be said to be what's present when total acceptance of a thing or person is present.  This total acceptance is distinct from acquiesence.

     

    I like this question, but want to offer a possible refinement. What about using "appreication" instead of acceptance? Maybe true acceptance is appreciation, but appreciation doesn't feel like it needs to be granted because it wells up organically out of a sense of fullness.

    Among those things of which I am aware, what can I appreciate-- just as it is and just as it is not?

    For me, appreciating goes a step beyond accepting. Appreciating seems to imply seeing, understanding, and valuing. 

    Robin

     

     

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  •  06-24-2006, 6:15 AM 424 in reply to 379

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Hi, folks,

    As this thread progresses, I see the inevitable branching into theory discussions and real-life applications.

    I am a theory headed therapist. 

    Theory heads tend to squelch real life discussions, in part because the jargony sound of it sometimes makes real-lifers sometimes feel a little dumb, or bored, or critical. I know this from experience. (Of course, theory is very real life to me.  It's just short-hand.)

    I've decided to label my posts if they're about theory or about providing therapy from the therapist perspective.  So you can skip over it if that's not your thing, OK?

    And someday, perhaps there'll be a Files section, so that lengthy posts, like essays, don't have to clog the airways. 

    Best,
    Joanne





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  •  06-24-2006, 11:36 AM 433 in reply to 379

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Hi Robin

    Good point! I hadn't noticed the distinction until you just pointed it out.

    'Total acceptance' seems to be more analagous to Patience where as 'appreciation' does add another level of depth to the definition of Love. 

    It seems acceptance (patience) is necessary but not sufficient for love (appreciation).

    According to the Tibetan schools of Buddhism patience is the antidote to anger, whereas love is the antidote to hatred. The differences are subtle (at first perhaps) but important I think.


    Great thread here, really enjoying it.

    \\//

    "May the sufferings and negativites of living beings ripen upon me,
    And may my happiness and virtue ripen upon them" - Nagarjuna
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  •  06-25-2006, 5:04 PM 460 in reply to 343

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Hi Joanne,

    A very interesting/stimulating thread....

    For now, I would like to discuss your comment - "For me, it's still a tough question to know when an experience (any spiritual experience) is genuine".

    How does one differentiate between "genuine" and non-genuine "experience"? How can we "certify" experience? What criteria will we use to determine the categories of "True/False" relative to reported subjective experience?

    What is your experience?

    Best Regards,

    Justin


    "Life is like stepping onto a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink".

    SHUNRYU SUZUKI
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  •  06-26-2006, 11:58 AM 487 in reply to 433

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    I really like (appreciate?) this take on the question. I have three concerns I'm hoping can be relieved.

    1 - Is appreciate a well-enough defined term? Or are we just replacing "love" with "appreciate," without adding any new understanding? Of course, this definition chasing can go on forever, and we may have to just leave "appreciate" as a bedrock term, but I think we might be able to go a bit deeper.

    2 - I personally think (and some friends and Socrates agree with me) that loving something or someone involves a desire to contact, interact with, or at least be effected by that object of love, and I'm not sure that "appreciate just as it is and as it isn't" carries that implication. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, however. This is, clearly, closely tied to my first concern about what exactly "appreciate" means.

    3 - Does this question in fact define a line? Do the things that people love, according to this definition, at any stage in life transcend and include, in some way, the things they loved earlier? Here I think the answer is yes, but I'd hope for some confirmation by the community. I'm thinking of it this way. When I was a wee little boy, I loved my mother for her physical and emotional benefits to me. I accepted being fed and nurtured by her, and she was very little to me besides my source of food and my nurturer, so I was thus accepting her entirely as she was and as she wasn't to my awareness at the time. Now that I'm slightly more aware, and can recognize parts of people that transcend and include their physical and emotional natures, love is appreciating those things of a person. And thus I'm free to love someone now, by appreciating their deeper nature, and still not appreciate their physical being. (There are qualities to my mother now that I appreciate less than fully, but they are of less significance than those qualities which I do appreciate completely.) Does that work, do you think? Or am I mis-groking transcend and include in this context?

    Another question, but this is less of a concern with the particular theory being debated: Does this apply to every possible object of love? Does it mean work to describe my love of my best friend, my girlfriend, my mother, my cat, ice cream, Bach, and God equally?

    And how about this. We often have state experiences that involve a sense of love that does not remain when we return to our normal state. How can we sort the state love from the stage love?

    Thanks guys.

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  •  06-26-2006, 12:11 PM 489 in reply to 343

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    So, I spent much of the weekend (I was at a WET, too, so it counts for double) thinking about this question. And here's my concern, which I didn't understand well enough to express right in my last post. I think that what you've called precon and postcon in your example might actually be unhealthy ego and healthy ego. And you're on to this already, you just don't know it. You don't go to a shrink when you're precon - you just keep on living 'till it you're con and then postcon. You go to a shrink when you have an unhealthy self. My point with Attilla was that precon cognition can still have good times with causal states, they'll just interpret them in a precon way. And postcon can have bad times with causal states, if they have a zone 2 issue that's interfering with the zone 1 experience, and they'll hopefully interpret that in a postcon way and know to go to a shrink.

    My point is that there are actually three axes at work here. The X and Y axes of WC matrix (gross, subtle, causal, nondual and precon to postcon) as well as a third axis (sort of) which represents healthy or unhealthy ego, which might be what you're calling genuine or non-genuine experiences. And it's really that axis that determines whether you should see a shrink or a guru. I don't know the answer at all, but I imagine between the bunch of us, we could start to put it together. I think step one might be to recognize that the example you called precon and I'm calling unhealthy involved "feeling divorced from both the world and from[one's] own identity," which is generally not a property of causal experiences. Generally, from descriptions and my few personal experiences, I understand that in a causal experience you feel very engaged with the world and yourself, and identify with the openness in which self and world arise.  Let's see where we can go with this from here.

    I'm also curious to hear people's thoughts on distinguishing the phenomenology of a big mind experience from that of a pillow mind experience. They definitely feel different, but if we could put together what the difference is exactly, from a zone 1 perspective, I think that would be remarkable. I'm curious to do the same for various other meditative states, chemically altered states, mentally ill states, etc, but it's a big project. If anyone could reccomend a book on such things, that'd make me very happy.

    Yotam

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  •  06-26-2006, 4:24 PM 519 in reply to 489

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    yschachter:

    I'm also curious to hear people's thoughts on distinguishing the phenomenology of a big mind experience from that of a pillow mind experience. They definitely feel different, but if we could put together what the difference is exactly, from a zone 1 perspective, I think that would be remarkable. I'm curious to do the same for various other meditative states, chemically altered states, mentally ill states, etc, but it's a big project. If anyone could reccomend a book on such things, that'd make me very happy.



    I think only a
    Rumi could help you here. Or a Lao Tzu. Or how about this guy?


    Sorry if that sounds completely unhelpful and flipant, I'm half joking, but my other half is thinking that Zone 1 can only really be done on the cushion... and poetry (or a decent Guru) is the only way to get one Zone 1 to grok another Zone 1.

    A flash from a poem or Guru can be so shockingly obvious and real (and unreal (and magical) at the same time) it is hard to conceptualise or describe in mere words, by the time that contraction comes the moment is long gone. It's like your mind and the poet's mind are the same mind, directly aprehending the same thing together in that moment, with no separation or duration.

    But yeah... if there really is a book on such things... I wanna see it.

    \/



    "May the sufferings and negativites of living beings ripen upon me,
    And may my happiness and virtue ripen upon them" - Nagarjuna
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  •  06-27-2006, 11:37 AM 547 in reply to 519

    Re: Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

    Alright. Point taken.

    But the thing is, that guy you linked to DOES do what I'm talking about. He just doesn't do enough of it.

    Sure, the only way to really grok zone 1 of a state is to experience it, but third-person descriptions are possible and helpful. So, for instance, Ken writes in half a dozen different books what Psychic, Sublte, Causal, and Nondual each feel like. And while reading those descriptions don't put you there, they give you tools to recognize it if you've ever been there or find yourself there later. Those are the sorts of descriptions I was asking for. They're a different sort of knowledge than the experience itself (call it an outside view of zone 1 instead of inside view of zone 1, or 3p*1p*1p*1-p instead of 1p*1p*1p*1-p if you're into that), but both are helpful and valid.

    So I'd like descriptions of other states comparable to those Ken gives of his favorite four. And there could actually be books like that. And we could, in theory, come up with descriptions of that sort that explain the difference between Big Mind and Pillow Mind.

     

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