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Copyright edyoung, PhD 1 ADVANCED RETROFLEXION: Reviewing, Writing, Examining, and Reflecting Upon the Past Sources of One’s Current Nature, Personality,

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright edyoung, PhD 1 ADVANCED RETROFLEXION: Reviewing, Writing, Examining, and Reflecting Upon the Past Sources of One’s Current Nature, Personality,"— Presentation transcript:

1 copyright edyoung, PhD 1 ADVANCED RETROFLEXION: Reviewing, Writing, Examining, and Reflecting Upon the Past Sources of One’s Current Nature, Personality, and Way of Being Humans are ‘time’ beings. Their present is a joint product of past patterns and vision of the future. Their future is constructed out of memories of their world and their reactions to it. Psychotherapy and retroflexive journalizing are ways the person can discover patterns in that past and then restructure these patterns and reconstruct their way of seeing, feeling, intending, adventuring and being in the world.

2 copyright edyoung, PhD 2 The Use of the Past in Therapy Sessions and Self Help Sessions Therapy looping forward and restructuring and reconstructing prior influencing or formative reactions to situations and replacing them with self enhancing reactions to similar situations. Journalizing integrates and masters progress toward that reconstructing enhancement. Therapy looping back through through prior influencing or formative situations. Self reflexive and retroflexive journalizing journalizing working through and consolidating progress. A Pattern Originating Early and Self Perpetuating and Expanding Through the Life Span.

3 copyright edyoung, PhD 3 Phase II. Journalizing and the Think-aloud Method: Areas Of Focus Self Retroflexive Journalizing: After working without success with a troubling issue using the reflexive technique, you take it into the retroflexive technique and work back and forth in time, through your life history. Use the retroflexive steps to see the origin and development of the troubling issue and its formative situations. How did you use self defeating reaction patterns to these issues and situations? How did they become increasingly elaborated and entrenched. Learning how to do this takes much practice and time. – Internal focus: Development of a View of the World Objectify how the development of a worldview that originated from your past was modeled by your parents and behaviors and emotional reactions of parents and others were shaping your worldview and behavior, throughout your life, so that they were increasingly glued together. Become aware of having been taught [in early life, and then persisting, and becoming elaborated] how to see types of life conditions and categories of people, organizations, institutions, places, activities, tasks, possessions, etc. You were taught to see from one, slanted, restricted point of view. Each person is confined to their accidental place and family of origin. Each person assimilates and accepts such perspectives unconsciously, somewhat like breathing air. Become aware of early, persisting, elaborated tendencies to selectively perceive Vs. not perceive, discuss Vs. avoid, remember Vs. forget, respond Vs. inhibit, learn and think about Vs. block particular aspects of their life experiences. Become aware of other possibilities. Become aware of how you assimilated a manner of perspective taking from your family and cultural milieu. Now, try to identify what levels of perspective you were taught to tune in to and which levels you learned to tune out: – Identify whether you learned to focus on or avoid sensations produced by physical objects and listen to or deny feelings produced by the interpretation of events. – Identify whether or not you learned to be a careful observer of your surroundings and whether or not you learned to be aware of characteristics of your self. – Identify whether or not you learned to consider broader social issues and their origins and effects and whether or not you learned to consider the origin, nature and effects of the self, yours and other persons as well. – Finally, as you come to understand your history with respect to perspective taking, consider the possibility that there are many unique histories, each with their own slant, and it is possible to not have to be restricted to the slant accidentally resulting from your own history.

4 copyright edyoung, PhD 4 Can a Life from a Dysfunctional Home Be Reconstructed to Resemble a Life from a Healthy, Secure Home? Can a Life from a Dysfunctional Home Be Reconstructed to Resemble a Life from a Healthy, Secure Home? Dysfunctional home Your Name _________ Life History Healthy, secure home Mr./Ms. Healthy Happy Life History

5 copyright edyoung, PhD 5 Phase II. Journalizing and the Think-aloud Method: Sensation and Perception Self Retroflexive Journalizing: (CONT) – SENSATION AND PERCEPTION: Try to recapture the nature of your original sensations and feelings or bodily pain and pleasure and aesthetic pleasure and pain. Recall your earliest memories of how degrees of bodily pleasure and pain and aesthetic pleasure and displeasure drew you toward and away from things and experiences. Recall physical acts, sounds, sights, touch, tastes, and smells and the manner in which they were first experienced. Recall social, interpersonal, and personal incidents and events and how they were experienced. Were these experience favorable or unfavorable. This may be difficult to do. You may have what you feel to be an earliest recollection that was pleasant and later discover that you were actually taught to regard this item as pleasant. Nevertheless, an earlier earliest memory reveals to you that you true first reaction was negative. These early experiences can, when examined very closely, be found to be quite complex. It may be difficult to sort out various influences coloring and biasing the original sensation. – HEDONIC TONE: Next, try to recapture the origin and history of the influences shaping and distorting the original and primary hedonic (pleasure-pain, favorable-unfavorable aesthetic) reaction. This history will gradually reveal to you how you developed preferences for things that at bottom are distasteful to you and distaste for things that are actually pleasant to you. In some cases you may find that the ulterior motive of another person influenced to dislike something you really liked. In other cases, you may find that your first experience may have been pleasant but later had negative, natural consequences that changed the liking to disliking. In still other cases, you may find that an original unpleasant experience could, if not avoided, lead to something highly rewarding and pleasant. Again, unraveling what was forced upon you and discovering what you truly feel and want may take time, patience and effort. In the end you will know what you yourself truly feel and like regardless of the pressures and influences of others. Then you will be free to decide what to do about it. – POSTURES OF RECEPTIVITY: Likewise, in the intellectual arena, there is a history of the development of opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and declarative {book} and procedural {instructions, actions} knowledge. With respect to each intellectual arena or type of intellectual task, you now have a Posture of Receptivity. Facing most things, you may be eager to engage, feel antipathy, feel cautiously curious or diffident, pretend to be interested, pretend to be disinterested, simply have a mysterious mental block or pretend to have a mental block, feel above it all or fearfully inferior. On the surface, you may have a ready justification for your posture. However, if you take a closer look and search out situations of origin you may find unappealing ulterior motives of others may have shaped your posture of receptivity. You may want to go through the retroflexive steps, open up the case for changing your posture and examine what a change would entail and what benefits might be derived from a change. In other words, once again, do you want to be stuck with the arbitrary throw of the dice in your history when the cost of change may only be a little loss of face and the benefits opening new doors for yourself.

6 copyright edyoung, PhD 6 CYCLING THROUGH THE FUTURE TO THE RECENT AND DISTANT PAST IN THE RETROFLEXIVE PROCESS 4. Immediate Future 3. Present 2. Recent Past 1. Distant Past At some point, after the reflexive process breaks down and there is switch to the retroflexive process, there begins a search for deeper roots of the recalcitrant problem. In many cases, sticking with the proximal-time-oriented reflexive, problem solving approach does not work since, not understanding and resolving the behavior’s origin, the old, self defeating behaviors inevitably reassert themselves. The switch, then, is toward searching the distant past for origins and after finding them, restructuring one’s perception and interpretation of the original scene and reconstructing new, experimental responses. Often, it is necessary to traverse the distant back to the recent past, and back and forth, in order to grasp these persisting and increasingly elaborated patterns. When the scene of origin is recaptured, in order for the process of working through to be effective, there needs to be a recovery of the total experience: physically, conceptually, emotionally, behaviorally, and interpersonally. Each or any aspect could play a role in the possible persistence of the problem if they are not recovered, restructured, and reconstructed.

7 copyright edyoung, PhD 7 Phase II. Journalizing and the Think-aloud Method: Life Conditions Self Retroflexive Journalizing: (CONT) LIFE CONDITIONS INFLUENCE ACTION PATTERNS – Finally, there are characteristics of your life style which you may wonder about. These, too, are a result of a formative history. You may feel stuck with some pattern which you have come to find out is actually injurious to your health or self defeating or even self destructive. Even so, you may find yourself adamantly defending the pattern. You may want to ask yourself if this persistence is the result of a complex set of influences which you have forgotten yet now defend as your own, rationally chosen path. If so, do you really want to be restricted by this accident of history visited upon you before you could have been aware that it was happening, much less aware of its eventual untoward effects on you. – In some cases your life conditions and circumstances may have induced you to learn to act prematurely and impulsively only to find that you have to live with negative consequences, yet, you are unable to control this tendency. – In some cases you may have learned to be overly cautious or shy, thus preventing you from being able to take advantage of legitimate, positive opportunities. As a result you may feel life passing you by and you do not understand why you are this way and feel you can not do anything about it. Working back and forth through your life history may reveal to you the conditions or influences under which these tendencies developed. – Questioning your current circumstances, you may find that they are actually very different from the original conditions. Current conditions do not require these distorted, self defeating patterns. You may find that you have been defending your way of being because ‘ that is just who you are’, whereas the way you are is the result of an accidental set of circumstances from the past over which, at the time, you had no control. Although you did not choose it in the beginning, it has become glued to your self concept. People question you about it and you defend it as though you chose it. As you write and think aloud, begin to focus in on your ideas about what you are like, your self concept, and describe how it developed. Then write about what different self concepts you can imagine and what it would be like to actually be that way, how life might be different for you. – With the objective knowledge of its origins, you not only have a legitimate explanation, but now you also have a choice, you are free to become whatever you want to be. With some work, of course. You can consciously forge a chosen style of life and self concept for yourself, and it will be truly yours.

8 copyright edyoung, PhD 8 CYCLING BACK FROM THE DISTANT AND RECENT PAST TO FUTURE IN THE RETROFLEXIVE PROCESS 1. Distant Past 4. Immediate Future 3. Present 2. Recent Past Grasping and restructuring the past and then beginning to reconstruct viable responses for the future, one begins the step in the retroflexive process called projecting. Initially this involves traversing and cycling through from the distant past, recent past, present, and immediate future. Periodically, the question arises, concerning new experimental strategies: are these solutions really suitable for me, are they consistent with what I have been like in the recent and distant past, am I making too big a break with the patterns from my life history? Then one can sometimes engage in a reinterpretation of the past patterns to bring them into consistency with what one is beginning to want for one’s future. The crucial question here is whether there will be a superficial redefinition of one’s past or will there be a thorough going restructuring of the past and reconstructing the future that is integrated and resolute. This latter position requires a high degree of patience and persistence in the therapeutic process.

9 copyright edyoung, PhD 9 CONTINUING THE PROCESS OF REFLEXIVE AND RETROFLEXIVE JOURNALIZING TO TRACK ONE’S PROGRESS IN SHAPING THE WAY LIFE IS SEEN DIFFERENTLY AND ACTIONS ARE SHAPED FOR SELF ENHANCEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE FUTURE Return Altering patterns and envisioning new possibilities for the future. Getting a perspective on the past, detecting patterns in relation to people and situations.

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