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Chapter 14

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Chapter 14 - Page 1 of 7 Chapter 14: Psychotherapy, Consciousness, and Well-being Psychological therapies and the emotions  It is as if, in the religions, literatures, and psychotherapeutic practices of the world, human consciousness has struggled to find a right relation with the emotions  In the East, the tenor of emotional life is thought to be best modulated by mediation and by attitudes such as non-attachment to worldly things  Mindfulness meditation has similar effects on the brain as positive emotions o Shifting activation to the left hemisphere o Mindfulness has become of a form of psychological therapy  Greeks and Hebrews – idea of transformation of the self o Derived from Egyptians o Incorporated into Christianity (Renaissance)  At the core of each of us is a little piece of divine substance, the soul, that has been detached from God, and contained inside a human body. Our task is to see through the veils of bodily existence and undertake a spiritual journey. Helped b y a mentor, we relinquish whatever obscures our vision, undergo spiritual rebirth, and struggle out of darkness to the light, so that our soul may reunite with the divine. Emotions are part of the obscuring veil, first to be recognized and owned, and then transcended  Going for confession has several components o First, a confession o Second, emotions of shame and remorse o Third, restitution o Fourth, amendment of life  At the center of process of change are the emotions  In the West, psychoanalytic therapy The basic idea of psychoanalytic therapy  Freud’s first form of psychotherapy focused on emotionally traumatic events in a patient’s earlier life  Recalling the trauma, enabling it to become conscious, allowing the emotions associated with it to be experienced and expressed, thus freeing the patient from the trauma’s harmful effects  The center of his new idea was that neurotic people suffer from inner conflict  He proposed a therapy of listening carefully, with respect, and “evenly hovering attention” to patients who suffered from emotional disorders Therapy’s focus on the emotions  Eclectic - incorporating aspects from different variants into their practice Chapter 14 - Page 2 of 7  Therapy is an interaction with another person in which, as a patient or client, one can discover some of the properties of one’s emotion schemas and can to some extent change how these schemas operate  Therapy provides the context of a relationship in which one may experience one’s emotion schemas, understand them better, take responsibility for them, and modify some aspects of one’s behaviour accordingly  Three kinds of therapy that focus on them: Psychoanalysis: unconscious schemas of relating  Recognition of transference of the client to the therapist  Transference is the manifestation of emotion schemas, mental models that embody ways of relating to others that have become habitual  A set of emotional attitudes towards significant others o Such attitudes become projected onto people in the present  Relational self – beliefs and emotions of selfhood that derive from earlier relationships  Facial expressions were of more positive emotions when the description was reminiscent of a significant other they liked, than for one they didn’t like  When the target’s traits resembled those of the perceiver’s positive significant other, the target exhibited more positive emotion in the conversation o When positive transference was received, the target was happier than when negative transference was received  Psychoanalytic therapy is designed to recognize transferences, and to bring them to consciousness  The idea of psychoanalyric therapy is that our relationships are so fundamental to every aspect of life, including our mental health, that if they are based on figures from the past rather than on real people in the present, there will at best be misunderstanding, and at worst intractable problems  Emotional schemas that are problematic are often based on intense wishes bound tightly to beliefs that people hold about what is wrong with them, or how they can never be satisfied Cognitive-behavioural therapy: changing emotions by thought  The idea that we can change our emotions by thinking about them in the right way can be raced back to the Epicureans and Stoics, two schools of ethical philosophy in which, following Aristotle, emotions were understood as evaluations of events in relation to desires of goals  The Epicureans developed ideas of natural human sociality that influenced both the American and French revelations  The idea that human beings have a right to the pursuit of happiness is distinctively Epicurean, as is the idea of living naturally, in harmony with an environment of which we are stewards  Ideas of the Stoics are thought to have influenced the acceptance of Christianity by the Romans following the conversion of the Emperor Constantine Chapter 14 - Page 3 of 7  Epicureans were the first in the West to discover the unconscious o Pointed out that people fear death, even though it’s irrational o Argued that if we are dead we would have no more consciousness than we had before we were born o Taught that one should live in a simple way, and enjoy simple pleasures instead of chasing after things that can make us anxious  To allow ourselves to have such goals can only lead to anger, greed, and envy o Recommended shifts in attention from irrational desires to more worthwhile ones  Stoics were more radical than the Epicureans o Thought that because emotions derive from desires, to free oneself from crippling and destructive emotions, one should extirpate almost all desires o The only values that are outside the vagaries of chance or the will of others, and are under one’s control, are one’s own rationality and good character o Stoic understanding was that most emotions are damaging to the self and to society o Epicureans and Stoics thought of philosophy as a cure for the soul, and focused on emotions as the chief sources of the soul’s diseases o As Christianity took over the heritage of the Stoics, the bad desires/thoughts became the seven deadly sins  modern form of psychotherapy that works on thoughts in a similar way is called CBT o based on teaching people how to recognize and avoid errors of evaluation about the incidents that lead to emotions  Beck argued that the patterns of appraisal that cause anxiety and depression tend to involve contextual evaluations that are arbitrary, absolute, and personalizing: if clients make evaluations of other kinds – attributions that are external rather than internal, local rather than gloval, impermanent rather than stably permanent – about events then different emotions can occur that will break vicious cycles  Cognitive therapy allows revision of core beliefs and of plans changing the answer to “what can I do about it?”  Stanovich argues that much of what we do is driven by our genes, which set preferences for the benefits of their replication, which are not necessarily purposes of ours  Many of the automatic primary appraisals of emotions are due simply to the promptings of genes  What we’re searching for is rationality and meaning according to a complex range of worldwide human purposes, rather than allowing ourselves to be beckoned only by purposes of selfish genes which tend to focus on the immediate Emotion-focused therapy: changing emotions by emotions  Making emotions explicit confers on the schemas, on which they’re based, a sense of clarity and possibility of control  The only way to change an emotion is by means of another emotion, and this may be taken as the goal of emotion-focused therapy Chapter 14 - Page 4 of 7  Part of the task of therapy, and life, is to recognize emotions that we haven’t allowed ourselves to experience fully enough  Therapy encourages a fuller experience of such emotions (primary emotions)  However, clients tend to experience some emotions too much (secondary emotions/defenses)  Secondary emotions derive from, or have been changed from, or have emerged to cover up, certain primary emotions that were unacceptable  Often when primary emotions aren’t known, or accepted, they can metamorphose into secondary emotions rather easily  Third category is of instrumental emotions: the emotions that people have learned will help them get their way the tears that elicit sympathy, the easy irritation that makes others hesitate to challenge or to be close Outcomes of therapy - Antidepressant and tranquilizer medications are aimed respectively at decreasing the intensity of de
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