One of the things I remember hearing from Ericksonian teachers is the idea that Milton emphasized the power of small strategic changes in loosening up a rigid, maladaptive system. In proposing that pdocs think of spiritual emergencies as diagnostic possibilities, I am aware of the fact that they would have to change many things in their thinking. The process by which the DSM is constructed, involving value judgments and socialization of "mental health professionals," might be unmasked; it would become clear that certain parts of the human mindscape are unexplored not because they do not exist, but because professionals prefer not to tread there.
Even if we grant that some people, because of brain biology, inherit bucking broncos in their limbic systems, it does not follow that chemical sedation of same is the only approach we can follow. Perhaps we need to train "horse whisperers" of the unconscious mind, who can gently tame these wild mustangs of the brain. Again, I think of how Steve Gilligan emphasizes adding, rather than subtracting variety in systems.
One of the things I assert in my book-in-progress is that it is one of the errors of mania to place too much value on elation as a state to be pursued and maintained, rather than as a vehicle to be utilized and released. Placing the wrong kind of value on elation turns it into an addiction. If you enjoy riding in your car for its own sake, you may forget to go where the car can take you. I think this is where Dr. Kay Jamison has created trouble for herself.
Jamison's autobiographical book, "An Unquiet Mind," narrates one of her ecstatic experiences, visiting the rings of Saturn. Now, it appears that she sees this experience as psychotic, however seductive it is for her. Lithium seems to her to deprive her of Saturn, which she misses under the medication's lethargic influence. But I read the same story and see Saturn's rings as expressions of the intelligence of her unconscious mind. The rings of Saturn are among the most elaborate and beautiful structures in the solar system. WHen she was a child, she learned about science, including astronomy. Her unconscious mind knows that Saturn's apparent motion across the sky is the slowest of all the planets; it has been a symbol of plodding, slow and phlegmatic energy for centuries. Her conscious mind, as she makes clear, rejects this energy in favor of a "mercurial" [her word] temperment. Her unconscious mind is showing her that there is beauty and subtlety in this energy she has always rejected. If she integrated this understanding of slowness, she might have utilized her mania, and might not miss it so much.
Thanks for the tip about putting on pants prior to leaving the house. It sounds like a handy technique, which I will have to try at my very next opportunity. Maybe I will put on shoes and socks too.
There are no replies to this message.
| Behavior OnLine Home Page | Disclaimer |
Copyright © 1996-2004 Behavior OnLine, Inc. All rights reserved.