Working With Transformational Forces
ENGAGING WITH EROS, AGGRESSION & THE HUMAN IDIOM
IN SERVICE OF ALIVENESS & VITALITY
Why We Work With
How do we engage and embrace more richly an erotic mind and an enlivened body – an embodied presence – as practitioners?
How will doing so allow us to better help our clients attain a more integrated and sustained sense of well- being?
This training year explores the depths of how we can be able to work with a sense of the life force in the mind and body: the force of eros, the force of aggression, the kind of life force that ignites the heat of passionate pursuit.
The experience of erotic life is an essential undoing that happens to us; it is a place within us where the force and forms of adult desires emerging from the shadow of disowned, disavowed and disorganizing longings that throw us back into our infantile origins.
This training year is about entering into the territory of these ‘massive orienting passions’, learning to navigate the vulnerabilities and intimacies of life-giving, risky ventures. As David Mann says, “It is not in the nature of the erotic to be cozy.”
Yet those with the courage to mine these depth tend to find these explorations to be most worthwhile.
The eros of our life force, whether directly linked to our sexual or aggressive expressions or not, is the most enduring and exciting force that can sustain people in the face of life’s difficulties, disappointments and frustrations.
This training year will explore the various ways that our eros becomes diminished and muted by our character defenses.
We practice cultivating the strength of heart to be both daring and yielding as practitioners, in order to learn how to effectively address the client’s embedded patterns and obstacles, which deadens the enlivening engagement with eros and vitality.
Aggression is often mis-understood as a force that essentially hostile, violent, or only destructive. While this may be one aspect of a life-negating, distorted form of aggression, ultimately it is a force that is ruthlessly in service of life. It sees to our very existance, it allows us to pursue what brings us alive, it connects and binds us with others. It serves as a securing function.
Yet our deepest anxieties will also attach to our most primal aggressive tendencies as well. We tend to fear the aggression that lives within us, and often project it onto others.
When we can learn that we are capable of withstanding another’s aggressive force, and we can invite them to come up against us, our clients can deeply transform their own relationship with aggression, and enter more fully into relationship with an ‘other’.
This is what we will address and work with in our depth processes in coming training year.
THE HUMAN IDIOM
The human idiom, as defined by Christopher Bollas, is the peculiarity of a person’s aliveness, that finds its own being (and bliss) through the particular selection and use of people, places and things. It is only a unlived potential that exists within each person, until that moment when a person instinctually follows and uses the world around them to bring them alive.
We will explore this fresh perspective on “following your bliss” as a fundamental force that brings each of us alive, in our own uniue and idiosyncratic ways.
THE SCHIZOID CHARACTER
The central issue for this character is about existence. The schizoid person is constantly trying to justify their existence, they are always feeling as if their ‘very being is at stake’ as the encounter the world.
‘Making it’ in life is a persistent and pervasive concern. This leads to extraordinary performance anxiety that permeates their interior world. This is exacerbated by a self identity that becomes rooted in accomplishment & achievement.
Failure is the equivalent of the annihilation of the self.
Developmentally and relationally, the schizoid is always facing a choice between involvement and withdrawal. In their interior world, they are always moving along a continuum between hostility and emptiness.
These matters occupy a tremendous amount of psychic energy, to the point where the schizoid ends up reflexively and continuously withdrawing from life opportunities.
This is what we will address and work with in this particular charcter in coming training year.