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Inspiring texts PART II - Communication in relation to Process Work

Updated on April 4, 2019

Language is a mirror of mind. (Chomsky) Communication is information flow between sender and receiver using different signs and channels of such transmission.

"Patterns of communication" by Julie Diamond is destined definitely for connoisseurs of science discovering how human psyche works. It is so detailed and informative that I must admit it challenged me. I wish I can remember all these important tips! There is no way I will even try to lie to you that this is an easy one!

It takes into account something we usually take as a disturbance in conversation. Here however all information, following Jungian principles, is useful.

Although our survival depends on ability of the ego to settle boundaries, differentiate itself from others, this ego creates extra rigid boundaries against content that threatens it. Ego keeps out any information that disturbs it. Information however cannot be lost so it is usually stored in "secondary process" = subconscious mind. Of course ego strongly dissociates from that area. A suppressed message will persist till it is received consciously anyway.

And here is where all the fun starts... This "pushed out" information shows up, suddenly, unwillingly, as if we don't have control over it. It is still a piece of our identity, the portion we ignored. At this point some schools describe it as pathological, antisocial, but not Process Work that takes a different approach and goal. It simply enters the "game" of bringing that part back into our identity.

Just by the fact that we perceive something we dislike, it is also an identification with it, although negative. What we can alter is our attitude toward the disturbance, not changing its nature. Then it is included in our consciousness, giving us ability to move fluidly between conscious and previously unconscious content.

Photo: Tadeusz Danaj

Information is a difference that makes a difference. (Bateson) Perceiving a difference happens when it matters, when difference in sound corresponds to a differ

Perception is a process of differentiating between known and the new. Perception differs from what we expect, assume, stands out from norm.

Meaning is created by breaking rules.

Information appears in signals and we can work only with its manifestations. We perceive signals through channels such as: visual, auditory, relationship.

We use channels with intend, sending also unintended messages as disturbers. Disturber has own intend and uses other momentarily unoccupied channels.

I really like the comparison of primary intended message to government that uses main channels, deciding what is acceptable and rejecting unacceptable messages that finds other channels like body gestures, paralanguage, movement, hallucinations, feelings, meaningful coincidences, forgotten words.

And how to discover those disturbers - speakers from subconscious mind? Process Work uses concept of dreamfigure, a personification of a piece of someone's personality: symbol, feeling, resistance, desire, body symptoms.

It looks like we all have plenty of identities within and they always communicate something, one to another. Process Work discovers which figure talks to which and what is the message.

Recovering a lost or unwanted information happens not by cognitively discussing it, but by becoming for a while a disturber = sender.

Information flow between all parties are complimentary, they are always in relation one to another, to get reaction, response, etc.

In therapeutic intervention, when signals are not received consciously, sent by a dreamfigure, a momentary, unconscious reactions happen, called dreaming up. If I understood this correctly... a therapist can be dreamed up by client, meaning the therapist can have reaction as normally somebody else had from client's environment. Probably here is why therapist needs to pay attention to own reactions toward client, as they hold signal to follow, not to react to it, not represent it, but to use this in intervention.

The secondary process complements the primary attitude.

To find a channel in which disturbances occurs we need to know how the client perceives it. (kinesthetic? visual, auditory, etc.) Amplifying it, increases experience of a disturber, until his presence is obvious. Following that disturber, we get to know his information. However we still need to interpret it, which again requires translation from one structure into another; from interrupting signals such: eye contact, looking down, into: what we easily identify with: facts, statements, etc .

Photo: Tadeusz Danaj

Dreamfigures, myths, field, double signals

Dreamfigures are usually parts of our consciousness that stay in conflict to itself. We view the world from our, accepted = primary process perspective. Anything that can be threatening to it, having different ideas, perspectives, goes into secondary process.

After we get a message, we switch standpoints and become the sender, disturber, transmitting him accordingly, through channels he was manifesting. Then we get the message by enacting it.

Some problem that may arise here are:

*verification if information was right, précised.

* information is given by one part of personality, usually having own idea about other part.

* amplification doesn't work with abstract concepts.

Personality can be viewed as a myth with own characters and story. Myth has its own reality. Psychological reality is stronger than the outer one. If one insists that he is cold, even if thermometer shows warm, then he is still cold. Inner myths create reality not present outward. They determine our perception of reality. Myths think us up. Human being is a collection of dreamfigures held together by a myth striving for expression.

Entirety of personality is described as field. If one can find information in body signals, someone's relationships, dream, event, then there is no boundaries. Such individual's given field manifests in many ways.

Information not directly received, settles somewhere else, populating field. Unperceived dreamfigures will inhabit other individuals. Other people becomes also channels for them, being dreamed up, populating certain roles, represent certain concepts. They all seek expression.

To recover information from field, a therapist digs deep, knowing that information field is holographic. Starting in one place, it holds the same information everywhere. All communication is redundant (repeats).

Language can be situational or contextual. It is not only about what was said but also how. NLP model demonstrates how verbs reveal the means of perceiving and experiencing reality. Verbs show where different dreamfigures are located.

If information doesn't belong to our primary identity it shows up typically in passive verbs, someone else is active, not a speaker. Verb structure shows where secondary information appears. My boss runs me over.

Secondary communication is embedded (build into) by adding some information to another. I wish I could express my opinion. To test what is behind such statement, one may ask: If you could, what would you say?

Another way to decode information is sound of the language: tempo, mimicking, stressing the words, speaking loudly, quickly, using sarcasm, irony, etc.

Sarcasm marks the information by stressing the pitch of word in sentence: He's definitely not the BEST dresser I've met.

Double signals and double binds happens in incongruence of what we say and what we intend. For example, when therapist encourages client to be powerful. Powerful role is already occupied by therapist. Obeying this command is not being powerful, but resisting it, it is becoming powerful and risking being accused by therapist of resistance.

or: You're the therapist, you tell me what to do. It's double bind: commanding therapist and at the same time asking for help. The therapist can try to help or listen to the secondary information of a commander. Therapist can respond to signals rather only to the content.

Addressing the dreamfigure directly is probably the most effective way to assist.

Dreamfigures resist consciousness and seek least awareness. They are motivated by drive of expression and don't want to be structured. Organizing them limits their power, irritates them. Interpreting them devaluates them. So the goal is to move fluidly between primary and secondary processes. Taoist philosophy of allowing nature to happen, is therapeutic. Technique is secondary, attitude matters.

We need different language for every patient. (Jung)

Some more thoughts I wish I can remember... though I am not even dreaming of applying it properly ;)

Describing behavior as communication is non judgmental. Information tries to complete itself. Behavior consists of signals. Nature is not random, it occurs in patterns.

I hope that psychology is now days more and more applied to others than only upper, white class. Looks like process work deals with lots of different situations like emigrants, crime, poverty, altered states of consciousness, etc.

At this point I have some notes, so this book goes to... again somebody really interested!

Photo Tadeusz Danaj


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