A Psychology of Human Dignity

A Psychology of Human Dignity


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Originally published in the Netherlands in 2011, this book is the result of a life's work devoted to developing the craft of psychotherapy in a way that leaves the therapist's and the client's own responsibilities intact and that stimulates a direct, open, and honest link with day-to-day reality.

From his deep commitment to raising the consciousness of both therapists and clients regarding the profound relevance of the larger world situation we find ourselves in (history), as well as one's own current stage of life, Ad Dekkers has spent the past thirty years developing a battery of detailed, yet flexible, psychotherapeutic exercises. These organically developed exercises, useful and stimulating for both the practitioner and the general reader, constitute the core of this book.

Although written with practicing psychotherapists in mind, anyone interested in the history of the twentieth century or the biographical stages of human life will be rewarded here with a singular and caring picture of the human experience in our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621481126
Publisher: SteinerBooks, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/01/2015
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword William Bento xi

Introduction 1

The Continuing Development of Psychotherapy 1

Developing the Psychotherapeutic Craft 5

The History of the Exercises 6

The Psychological Sensation 11

The Natural Development of the Exercises 14

1 Perception, Memory, and More 15

Observation 16

Remembering 18

The Importance of Memories 21

Case-Bringing memories to the surface: A therapeutic dialogue 25

"Situations" and "Events" 27

Case-Restoring the capacity to observe after damage caused by ideological indoctrination 32

The Complex Term "Event" 34

Case-A suicide attempt. The destructive power of the ban on observation 39

Rudolf Steiner: Twelve Senses 40

The Effects of Completing Memory Depictions: About the Sentient Soul 43

Case-"Don't get involved in anything that throws you off balance. "A suffocating climate for the sentient soul 45

Continuing the Internal Activity: The Organizing Role of the Rational-Feeling Soul 46

The Future Perspective. The Role of the Consciousness Soul 50

Case-The therapy develops: Collectingfacts-making interpretations-reevaluating decisions 52

Summary 54

Chapter 1 Exercises 56

Exercise 1.1 Basic exercise: The sensory enrichment of a situation 56

Exercise 1.2 A single sensory area 64

Exercise 1.3 Basic exercise: Exploring an "event" 70

Exercise 1.4 Is there a difference between types of memories? 75

Exercise 1.5 I'd like to know if…":Making one's own choice 78

Exercise 1.6 A modern situation: TV, games, computers, films, the internet 79

Exercise 1.7 Case history. Autobiographical memory and identity 84

Exercise 1.8 The capacity to produce memory depictions 88

Exercise 1.8a The influence of upbringing and school on memory depictions 93

Exercise 1.8b Building up memory depictions on your own 93

Exercise 1.9 Grasping a situation: The role of the rational-feeling soul 95

Exercise 1.9a Obstacles during the transition from the sentient soul to rational-feeling soul: A fragment from Nescio 99

Exercise 1.9b The circular process of fleshing out the situation and interpretation. A fragment from Albert Schweitzer 100

Exercise 1.9c How does wisdom actually come about? A fragment from Gunter Grass 101

Exercise 1.10 How memories develop 103

Exercise 1.11 The will impulse of an event 106

Exercise 1.12 The three intervention levels in combination: What does the client learn from therapy? 110

Exercise 1.13 Basic exercise: Concentrating on a subject. Simple facts brought to life 112

2 Phases of Life: The Focus on Development 117

How Can Age Be Made Visible? 118

Case-Age as a therapeutic gateway. The 21st year of life 121

The Factor of Age in Therapy 123

Case-A trouble-free past and problems nonetheless. The "I" comes on the scene and demands its rights 126

An Interim Overview of the Exercises 127

Table 1 Comparing situations, events, and development phases 127

The Power of Imagination 131

Case-Age as a therapeutic gateway. The 42nd year of life 132

Self-Knowledge 134

Case-Exploring the mirroring age 136

Chapter 2 Exercises 140

Exercise 2.1 Characteristics of age: A cohort exercise based on the ages in the group 140

Exercise 2.2 Basic exercise: Focusing on a period. The technique of highlighting a certain period 143

Exercise 2.3 "Being confronted with your own age" 145

Exercise 2.4 "You're 43 years old and that means…" A stand-up exercise 147

Exercise 2.5 "A randomly chosen date" 150

Exercise 2.6 Comparing two successive ages 154

Exercise 2.7 Mirroring 157

Exercise 2.8 A phase of life as homework 162

3 The Impact of History: The Generations as a Conduit 164

Dilemmas in Psychotherapy 167

The Aftereffects of the First World War: An Example 170

Case-The absence of war memories 172

From Perception to Understanding to Effect: Processing the Example 174

Memories in the Context of History: Two Examples 175

Therapeutic Effect of the Historical Perspective 177

Case-The 1970s and 1980s: "Everything is possible" parents 179

The Influence of Our Material Surroundings 182

The Parents as Conduits 183

Case-The children of the spiritual revolution 186

Transgenerational Transference and the Differences Between Parents and Children 187

Wibke Bruhns: Germany's War Record 189

At the Back Door of History 192

Case-The Netherlands and slavery. The therapist is wide of the mark 194

The Struggle to Deal with the Past: Quelling Rebellion in the Dutch East Indies 196

Case-Acknowledging our colonial past 199

Proposal for a Transgenerational Principle 200

Case-"Hardened and affected by the Second World War" 202

An Example of Positive Transgenerational Transference: Oliver Sacks 203

Summary 206

Chapter 3 Exercises 209

Exercise 3.1 The group deployed as a way of displaying the course of history: The links between the generations 209

Exercise 3.2 Lessons of history transferred by the parents 215

Exercise 3.3 History in a transgenerational perspective: The therapist takes the initiative 218

Exercise 3.4 A systematic investigation of the clients own transgenerationality; homework 223

Exercise 3.5 A basic exercise: What is an "existential message"? 226

Exercise 3.6 Embedding personal details in a historical context 230

Exercise 3.7 About the grandparents 232

Exercise 3.8 The physical surroundings as a silent co-educator 234

Exercise 3.9 Writing your own history 237

4 The Self-Aware "I" 240

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. The Birth of the "I": The First Memory 243

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. Up to the Age of 21: The T Takes Possession of the Body 248

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. The 21st Year: The "F Ascends the Throne: The Sentient Soul 252

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. The Hypomochlion: The Rational-Feeling Soul 255

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. The Twin-Track Decision around the 35th Year: The Consciousness Soul 256

The Development of the "I" during the Stages of Life. The 42nd Year: The Midlife Crisis. The Spirit Comes on the Scene 258

The Awakening of Self Awareness: Observation of the Will: Actual Intentions 261

Awakening Self-Awareness: About Warmth 262

Case-Contact with one's own source of creation through warmth 265

Awakening Self-Awareness: Reincarnation as a Theme in Therapy? 267

Case-Ten rights of the human being. "Do you believe in reincarnation?" 269

Awakening Self Awareness: Karmic Encounters 272

Table 2 New and Karmic Encounters 275

Awakening Self Awareness: Role-reversal in "I" Perspective 276

Illustration 1: Role-reversal, Near-Death Experience, Karmic Compensation 280

Case-A conciliatory role-reversal 281

Awakening self-awareness: Spontaneous role-reversal during the near-death experience 282

Case-The end of a psychosomatic problem: compassion "His war has become part of me" 285

Awakening Self-Awareness: Karmic Compensation 288

Awakening Self-Awareness: The Conscience 292

Case-The broken heart; or, The conscience as real power 297

Conclusion 299

Chapter 4 Exercises 302

Exercise 4.1 Characteristics of the "I" 302

Exercise 4.2 "I"-development in the course of life: A cohort exercise 306

Exercise 4.3 "I-moments": Perceptible moments of the "I" in the course of life 310

Exercise 4.4 The first memory 312

Exercise 4.5 The "You" exercise 313

Exercise 4.6 Peak experiences: Revelations of the spirit. From emotion to wisdom 318

Exercise 4.7 The deepest intentions are manifested in actions: The Saturn conversation 322

Exercise 4.8 The direction taken by the "I": The conscience 326

Exercise 4.9 Warmth case history: A half-open diagnostic consultation 328

Exercise 4.10 In contact with the other person's "I" 333

Exercise 4.10a Experiences of a personal encounter with the other persons "I" 334

Exercise 4.10b Other people's "I" in their creative processes. Homework 335

Exercise 4.11 "The unhappiness of the good person and the happiness of the badperson": The tension between freedom and destiny 338

Exercise 4.12 Role-reversal 341

Exercise 4.13 How far does responsibility extend? 347

Exercise 4.14 Does what happens to me happen because I willed it? The issue of karmic compensation 349

Exercise 4.15 Is there a difference between new and karmic encounters? 353

Table 3 Characteristics of New and Karmic Encounters 355

Exercise 4.16 "Ten rights of the human being": The healing power of the "I" 357

Exercise 4.17 The transgenerational dimension of the "I" 357

Exercise 4.18 The therapist as a substitute "I": The mirroring of the biography 373

The Structure of the Exercises 381

Table 4 Theme and Format of the Exercises 382

Perception and Memory 384

Life Phases 386

The Influence of History 388

Giving Meaning to Our Lives; or, the Road to the "I" 391

Format and Setting of the Exercises 394

Conclusion 403

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