Metaphors from the Edge of Chaos

Event Details

Metaphors from the Edge of Chaos

Time: March 2, 2019 to March 3, 2019
Location: Psychosynthesis Trust
Street: 92-94 Tooley Street
City/Town: London
Website or Map: https://psychosynthesistrust.…
Phone: 020 7403 7814
Event Type: workshop
Organized By: Allan Frater
Latest Activity: Dec 5

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Event Description

The weekend will critique the limitations of technological metaphors hidden in much of therapeutic language. Ecological metaphors will be introduced that better convey the wildness and irregularity of human experience. In particular, we will draw upon the integration of psychotherapy with chaos theory and fractal geometry, contemporary perspectives which have emerged from the modelling of natural systems, such as cloud formations, lightning pathways and the beatings of the human heart.

The seminar will support you to:

- Speak, think and see through metaphor, avoiding the dangers of concrete and literal language, thinking and perception.
- Work with ‘living metaphor’ from immediate experience in client fantasies, feelings, body sensations and gestures.
- Notice fractal patterns as metaphors of wholeness.
- Use the idea of a ‘fractal psyche’ to ground therapeutic insights in everyday life.
- Apply nonlinear perspectives from chaos theory to the therapeutic relationship, development and healing.

Theoretical presentation will be grounded in clinical case study discussion, therapist-client role-play, experiential encounters with the local landscape and through attending to the group (i.e. yourself, others and the leader) as a nonlinear system.

Two key areas will be covered:

- Living metaphors at the edge of chaos:
how by drawing on complexity theory we can view client symptoms as finely balanced, dynamic systems of complex forces; how in the zone between disorder and stability known as ‘the edge of chaos’ a tiny event can trigger significant ‘phase change’ (such as when boiling water turns into steam); we will explore the holistic sensitivity required to detect the spontaneous arising of these tiny events in the fantasies, feelings, bodily symptoms and gestures of ‘living metaphor’ – metaphors from immediate experience prior to conceptualisation and the dead-hand of generalised theory.

- The fractal psyche as a metaphor of wholeness:
how to cultivate our intuitive feel for fractal patterns, familiar already from nature (e.g. flickering flames, waves on an ocean, skin wrinkles and snail’s shells); how to see each fractal image as a reflection of the whole, on ever finer scales ( like Russian Dolls); how any small piece of clinical material ( such as a dream, a passing comment, even how a client walks into the room) is a fractal image, reflective of the whole therapy and the client’s history, current symptoms and emerging future; and how to work with fractals in clinical practice.

The approach offers a perhaps surprising and counterintuitive non-linear understanding that shines new light on relationships, development and healing. However, it is expected participants will find familiarity within complexity theory as a way of thinking about recognisable, but often overlooked, aspects of clinical experience and also as a framework that resonates with psychological metaphors from pre-modern traditions such as alchemy and Buddhism.

The presentation is influenced by the work of Terry Marks-Tarlow, Robert M. Galatzer-Levy and David Abram.

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