Applications; the ranks of clinicians grow

[From Bill Powers (950827.1145 MDT)]

Dennis McCracken (950825.1130PDT) --

Now that the Prince has kissed you, I hope you'll continue to be a wide-
awake participant.

I am delighted with your speculations about using PCT in therapy, and
even more delighted that Ed Ford and David Goldstein now have another
person to join in their defense against carping theoreticians. Maybe
this will entice Dick Robertson back to life, and who knows how many
other therapists who have been maintaining silence.

Debates between theoreticians and clinicians are difficult at best,
because the clinicians always feel that the real problems and practical
difficulties aren't being understood. Maybe now that the clinicians have
reached the magic number of 3 and maybe 4, they can start asking each
other the hard questions about how to apply PCT. I can imagine the same
sorts of discussions that go on among the modelers: is this right way to
apply it? Do you suppose it might work if we .... Do we dare try it? Oh,
no, that's too simple, it couldn't possibly work. Why don't YOU try it
and tell me what happens? Well, all right, I'll try it too, maybe next
week.

So with at least three of you now available to put PCT to the test in
psychotherapy, I can relax a little.

···

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Your thoughts on positive feedback are fascinating. I immediately
thought of asthma, and checked with Mary to see if the same idea might
apply; she thinks it might. You start out with a bit of a cough, and
think "Oh, hell, is this another asthma attack starting?" So you get a
little afraid and tense, the old biochemicals start surging around, and
you find your breathing tightening up, etc. etc. etc.. Bruce Abbott
might have something to add on this.

Conflicts can have some of the same characteristics. One side starts to
act, and that arouses the other side, and then the action builds up
until you have the all-out opposition from both sides. That really is
positive feedback, too, isn't it?
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I'll have a look at your Web page.
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David Goldstein (952708) --

     There is some suggestions of conflict in the psychotherapy case
     which I described. The boy wants his parents to give him more
     freedom but then acts in a way to increase his parents monitoring
     and control of him and therefore, decrease his freedom.
     ...
     It is hard to do the method of levels with a 9 year old boy. I
     have been able to determine that there are self-image issues
     involved: His self-image is such they he can imagine that his
     parents would want to leave him. There are also anger and power
     issues involved: He becomes so anger at his parents that " if they
     were not my parents, their ribs would be sore. "

With the method of levels I think it's important not to try to chart out
a path ahead of time. The actual conflict is probably not being
expressed in words or logical thoughts. You can create what seems like a
reasonable scenario and try to follow up on it, but I've never succeeded
with that approach. In fact when I start pushing the other person toward
some insight _I've_ had, the process usually grinds to a halt. When you
and I did it together I often had to keep myself from saying something
to push you where I thought you were going; if I had spoken up I think I
would have been wrong most of the time.

When you're doing the method of levels, you have to forget about being a
wise psychologist who understands the patient better than the patient
does and is helping the patient to understand something the psychologist
has already figured out. That's a completely different process, which
may have its place, but not when you're doing the method of levels. If
the patient says "My mother likes my father better than me," you don't
mutter "yippee" and head for the Oedipal conflict. You just say, "What
else can you tell me about that?" or "Any thoughts about that?" In the
method of levels, you don't know what's going to come next, and don't
much care. If there are self-image problems involved, the boy will
sooner or later come right out and tell you about them: "I guess I
shouldn't be feeling that way about my parents," or whatever. Then you
ask "Why not?" The ONLY point of the method of levels is to get the
person to adopt as high a level of viewpoint as possible. What happens
as a result of doing that is out of your hands.

I's like to eavesdrop on a discussion of this method among you, Dennis,
Ed, and Dick Robertson.
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Best to all,

Bill P.