We stand on the cusp of a different world. Climate change is bringing new global scarcities and related stressful events that scientists predict will exponentially increase. Concurrently, proliferating terrorist acts and wars are perpetrated with technologically advanced weapons. The global community is now connected through social media. Therefore, understanding the influence of core societal narratives on individual and group action is crucial for managing current and emerging threats. The potential exists for larger reconciliation within the human family. A new story, through focus upon commonly held ethical heroes and shared positive spiritual values and peace messages held in common in the Bible and the Quran may provide a stepping-stone to a more peaceable planet. A social order based upon compassionate direction, rather than cruelty, can be encouraged through focus upon the shared family origins to evoke remembrances of connection, and the creation of a new platform on which to build peaceful and cooperative ways. In our technologically connected world, infinite means now exist to create a new chapter in the family history of Moslems, Christians and Jews.
Presentation to The 17th Congress of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Process. Rome Italy 24-29 August 2009
The behavioral patterns of family relationship are passed on through generations. The seeds of trauma lie in wait to generate their unique yield: stories that tell of what happened to those who went before. Families hand their legacy of misery from one generation to the next. It began in the Garden of Eden when the original children, Adam and Eve, were initially wounded by a divine father’s anger. From this primordial clay, the dominant myths of western civilization sprouted the weeds of discord. Yet from that same mud perhaps will flower something that heals, something that is stronger than this discord for having been cross-pollinated with the Jewish, Moslem, and Christian traditions that have developed since those early moments in the Garden.
Media in Transition International Conference Massachusetts Institute of Technology Stone and Papyrus Storage and Transmission April 24-26, 2009
The Uses of Fairy Tales in Psychotherapy – presented at Media in Transition International Conference
An exploration of fairy tales has special value for psychotherapy: Psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, and Carl Jung among others looked to fairy tales and myths to represent of the anatomy of the psyche. The deep truths embodied in fairy tales, which depict complex developmental processes and group dynamics, and afford the means for transforming the pain of psychological wounding into creativity, continue to offer much to the steadily expanding field of psychotherapy. Their very brevity, and arresting themes, and imaginative treatment of significant events allow them to be interpreted, reinterpreted, and expanded upon in an infinite number of ways to allow individuals to comprehend their environment and their personal difficulties and to construct guides to action through enhanced knowledge. Close scrutiny of the patterns in fairy tales from such contemporary psychological perspectives as family systems, object relations, and cognitive frameworks can yield new insights. As Joseph Campbell stated, “The folk tale is the primer of the picture of the soul”. An understanding of the dynamics represented in the journey of the fairy tale heroine or hero that typically lead them from misery to their highest realization may reveal means for helping clients in their psychotherapy.