[From Rick Marken (920510)]

Now there have been two posters noting the similarity of some
aspects of PCT to psychodynamics. I forget who the first was;
the second was David Goldstein in a very interesting post that
I just read this morning.

David says (re: the three perspectives on behavior described in
my paper):

From a therapy perspective, all three views would likely fall
under the cognitive/behavioral umbrella. This leaves out the
psychoanalytic and humanistic/existential perpsectives.

One observation: Most of the consultant clinical staff to our
center are psychoanalytically oriented. I think that HPCT therapy
ideas have something in common with psychoanalytic views. For
example: the idea of the importance of conflict, the idea of
background perceptions at a higher level which a person is not
aware of, the idea of resistance in therapy, the importance of

I agree. I think the psychoanalytic idea of "unconscious" causes
of conflict is just like the control theory idea that conficts
result from incompatible references set by higher (and not
consciously accessible) levels. Freud called it the id, we call
it the "next level up". Psychotherapy is based on the assumption that
conflicts can be solved (somehow) by discovering the unconscious
cause of the conflict. This is also consistent with the HPCT
idea that once you can adopt the point of view of the higher level
systems that are setting the conflicting lower level goals you can
"solve the problem" by setting non-conflicting goals -- you become
conscious of the cause of the conflict.

The part of psychotherapy (and behavior for that matter) that I
don't see in the PCT model is resistance. I don't know that the PCT
model currently has any mechanism that explains why people are often
so unwilling (resistant) to "going up a level" (or, as Freud would say,
see the unconsious cause of their problem). Resistance implies
that CONTROL is happening -- in this case, a person is controlling
something about the consequences of changing their point of view
(their consciousness). I believe this is a real phenomenon; we
see it in the discussion of beliefs on CSGnet, for example. I detect
some resistance on the part of some people (I will not exempt myself,
by the way) to look their beliefs as just phenomena, taking
a point of view that is not that of the beliefs themselves.

I think part of this resistence phenomenon may not be a "control
of consciousness" phenomenon but just part of the operation of
the control hierarchy when it is in imagination model -- we are
controlling what we imagine, and the existing hierarchy of
references determine what we want to perceive (whether the cause
of those perceptions is "boss reality" or imagination). I think
a nightmare is an example of the production of imagined perceptions
that were not effectively "resisted" by the ordinary control
mechanisms that allow imagined perceptions quite deviant from the
existing references for perception (imagined or not).

But the resistence seen in the "methods of levels" or ordinary
psychotherapy, could be a different phenomenon -- it's like there
is a control system (a defense mechanism?) that is busy keeping
you from going "up a level" to the cause of the references that
are creating a problem.

So David, as a clinician, do you think there might be such a system?
And, if so, what the hell might if be for? Is this the system that
zen philosophers (and some motorcycle maintainers) are trying to
get past?

Happy mothers day




Richard S. Marken USMail: 10459 Holman Ave
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