Old School Psychotherapy

Once upon a time, people perceived the wisdom of pausing to take stock. Once upon a time, a careful reconsideration of our own psychology was thought to be essential for true maturation. It was a given that one could not be entirely objective about oneself hence, people sought counsel from village elders, spiritual counselors and, counselors whose life path permitted in-depth analysis of the complexity of mind.

In the 1950’s, a medical juggernaut appeared on the scene with an extraordinary menu of ‘medications’ purporting to lessen psychological pain and discomfort. It would appear that the medications (or belief in the efficacy of the medications) do indeed lessen pain and discomfort. However, now, difficulties that in past years inspired introspection, have been labeled a ‘medical problem’ warranting drug treatments.

We abandon the pause to take stock at our peril. The mobilization of our mental wherewithal cannot occur without entertaining the idea that perhaps, it would be to our benefit to rethink some things or that perhaps, it might be to our benefit to rethink everything!

Red Pill?

The term to ‘red pill’ has become commonplace in public conversations. The origin of the term is from an admittedly disturbing film, The Matrix. I am not recommending the film. In the film, those that take the red pill come to see, that much of what they believed was true was in fact untrue.

These days the term is bandied about as many folks come to doubt the intentions of media personalities they’ve relied upon for information. And, as evidence of the misdeeds of many people in power have been exposed to the light of day, the trust that most people have had that things are moving along ‘well enough’ has been lost.

That people are being forced to rethink their assumptions is inherently a good thing, however, it can be psychologically destabilizing. When one begins to follow the trail ‘down the proverbial rabbit hole,’ one can feel adrift in a sea of confusion.

The trick is to find your footing while remaining open to the possibility that you must indeed abandon one world view as you formulate another. Think of the world of science. It has frequently become necessary for scientists to adapt to new conceptions of reality. They do so and historically, that process has given rise to tremendous progress.

Psychologically, we can ‘be as the scientist.’ We can adapt to new conceptions of reality. Indeed, we are wired to do this. To do so however, requires humility, careful consideration of new information and the cultivation of a science-mind, one which entertains the idea that they might be mistaken and continuously listens and learns.

A side effect? One is never bored and frequently amazed.

A Homeopathic Psychology

I believe most folks know the difference between allopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine. However, here is a short review.

Allopathic medicine zooms in on a problem with all of the power at it’s disposal. It defines phenomena as a disease, an illness or more recently, a disorder. It has an awesome arsenal at it’s disposal to do battle with what it conceives of as a threat. My selection of the military analogy is no accident.

Homeopathic medicine does not zoom in, rather it zooms out to look at a whole system within it’s context. This ‘holistic’ perspective assumes that what might be called a symptom of disease or disorder is ‘merely’ an outcome that can best be understood as the dynamics of a given system are better understood. That being the case, it works with systems, not against them, so the military analogy is not apt. Rather, a homeopathic approach is collaborative.

Nowhere is the necessity to look at a difficulty within the context of ‘systems within systems’ more important than when thinking about mind and mental wellness. A collaborative relationship with one’s own mind unleashes the inestimable power of mind. This approach forces a rethinking of the whole of contemporary psychology. 

Not to worry, it also suggests many, many ways to help ourselves and our loved ones.

Defensive Eh? Not a Problem

Just as surely as you have a physical immune system, the good news is, you have a psychic immune system.

You are carrying about a virtual edifice of stored functions, adaptive strategies, and defensive maneuvers that are continuously in play in, for want of a better word, your mind or your psyche.

Let’s consider for a moment the popular conception of ‘defensiveness.’ It has a negative connotation. Are we to be without defenses? I think not. We need our defenses. We carry about a phenomenal mind system. Like any system, it needs mechanisms to ensure it’s well being and functionality. So, the next time someone says to you, ‘you’re being defensive,’ I suggest you reply, ‘yes, and the problem is what?’

Materialism and Nonmaterialism

Materialist science examines, works with and manipulates measurable things. It could be said to work with what you can hold in the palm of your hand but for those little things called atoms, electrons and the like that are small but measurable.

Nonmaterialist science considers things that are in play but can neither be examined nor held in the palm of your hand.

We could speak of things spiritual or things quantum at this point but I prefer to speak about information, particularly, thoughts, assumptions, conclusions drawn and the like, in other words, the stuff of mind.

An interesting thing happens when we explore the nature of minds and our own mind in particular. We come to see that it is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the material and non material world . It’s wherewithal to help us knows no bounds. ‘Old School Psychotherapy’ permits exploration of the nature of mind and the development of strategies to work with it, not against it.

Working with it requires a homeopathic attitude. It requires a holistic point of view. Opportunities for us to learn are abundant. Opportunities for us to heal are abundant. Indeed, we can ‘right ourselves in the event of imbalance.’