Psychoanalysis

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fckw
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Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:11 pm

Every practitioner should learn the basics about psychoanalysis. Projection and counter-projection between therapist and client happens equally between teacher and student. This stuff should be common knowledge.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by kirtu » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:50 pm

fckw wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:11 pm
Every practitioner should learn the basics about psychoanalysis. Projection and counter-projection between therapist and client happens equally between teacher and student. This stuff should be common knowledge.
Since I'm rather adverse to what I see as psycho-babble, would you mind outlining what you are thinking about here?

Kirt
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 pm

Psychoanalysis is not taken very seriously any more, and I've never seen the terms projection or counter projection used either.

As far as transference and counter transference (the terms I've seen used), they are pretty simple, people in power postiions (usually therapist/counselor, but in this case teacher I suppose) react to to their patients/students based on experiences with people from their past who are perceived to be similar, emotional baggage etc., and vice versa. In Psychoanalytic theories transference from the patient side was considered a good thing, even necessary to the process, the Therapist was a "blank slate" onto which the patient projected their neuroses. Jung even considered counter transference to have positive qualities, though I think it was usually regarded as a negative. Most modern theories view it more neutrally, as simply something to be aware of, and not acted on.

IMO individuals of high spiritual development who really have juice and teach Dharma probably should not suffer from counter transference the way that (as an example) a therapist does...if they do, and particularly if they are not dealing with it... then I am not sure they are actually an individual of high spiritual development. So, a Guru with a reaction of extreme counter transference to a student is probably a Guru to examine really closely, and likely keep one's distance from. No knowledge of Western Psychology needed for that either, it's common sense, a Guru who wears their baggage in their relationships with students is possibly not much of a Guru in the first place, by my reckoning.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:23 am

kirtu wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:50 pm
fckw wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:11 pm
Every practitioner should learn the basics about psychoanalysis. Projection and counter-projection between therapist and client happens equally between teacher and student. This stuff should be common knowledge.
Since I'm rather adverse to what I see as psycho-babble, would you mind outlining what you are thinking about here?

Kirt
It's very simple, really: The student projects his/her beliefs and needs onto the teacher. Rather than seeing the teacher as s/he is, the student mainly perceives his own imaginary fantasies. Typically, after some time (might be years for some particularly immune students) the student realizes that the teacher is really a different person than fantasized. The student becomes disillusioned at this point. In a positive outcome the student corrects the mistake and comes up with a different set of fantasies that are more healthy and grounded in reality. (There is no situation where the student has absolutely no fantasies, because that's how our mind constructs an impression of reality.)
In a negative outcome the student cannot bear the disillusion and leaves the teacher. Often these students then look for another teacher with whom they repeat more or less the same cycle. They do this so often until they finally manage to work through them. In other cases they start with negative talk about the teacher blaming him/her for all sorts of things - both real and imagined.

It all is really comparable to how intimate relationship with a spouse or husband work.

Now, what few people seem to notice: The teacher does more or less the same with a student. Even very mature persons do so. I cannot say if a "fully enlightened teacher" would still do the same, because I don't believe there is such a thing as "full enlightenment". (If there was, it would imply a person does no longer change at all. Or we would have to come up with all sorts of clever reasoning why the person is fully enlightened yet still doex X, Y and Z and seems to have A, B, and C. You see this type of reasoning all the time in this forum.)

So, the teacher goes through similar cycles of building up fantasies and disillusionment. As I said, for very mature persons the cycles are typically not very spectacular, and often they have developed a good sense for their own projections. Nevertheless, as long as there are any blind spots left (i.e. as long as one is alive in this form body) there will be situations where a projection goes unnoticed.

So far all of this is just too common. But there is an additional problem here: unresolved narcissism. Fundamentally, everyone is narcissistic to a certain degree. It's part of growing up, whether we like it or not. Life usually beats us until we resolved the more acute parts of it. First, let's look at "relatively normal levels" of narcissism, not the really unhealthy ones.

A person who is narcissistic and for the first time encounters the idea that "enlightenment" is possible, has a high chance of falling for it. Most people are not narcissistic enough to dream of getting enlightened themselves (in their fantasy it's some kind of super-state where there exists no more pain and when unicorns fart there are rainbows all around), but they are narcissistic enough to believe that just exactly the teacher and organisation they have chosen is so much better than any other teacher or organisation. As with all things, quality of teachers and organisations probably follows a normal (Gaussian) distribution: few really bad ones, plenty of okay-ish ones, few really good ones. Same as with football clubs. (Or basketball clubs, for all ya US folks out there. Or cricket clubs for all ya Indian folks out there.) Given this distribution, most people who follow any teacher and join any organisation have a, let's say, 95% chance of following an okay-ish teacher and organisation, not a really good one. But in their personal view of course they see it differently. They find plenty of justifications to believe that just exactly their teacher and organisation are the best ones, which is really a pretty ridiculous belief if you think about it. Really same as with football clubs and their fan base. Also teachers tend to believe they are better than others, whereas in reality 95% of them are really just okay-ish, and only few are either really bad or really good.

If practitioners and teachers alike would be more conscious of this whole game they play with themselves and with others, then together we could at least stop climate change, if not bring back mammoths and get rid of poverty once and for all. You get my point.

But for some people narcissism constitutes a real problem. These are the ones that are truly and severely narcissistic. One has encountered them already: They are the ones claiming to be tulkus when nobody recognizes them. They are the ones with golden toilet seats financed by their followers. They are the ones claiming to be super avatars and what not. Some of them (not all) are truly and genuinely abusive. The problem with truly narcissistic teachers are: As pompous as they may seem to outsiders, for those few people who share nearly an identical fantasy of grandiosity, i.e. narcissism, although to less degrees, these people are the ones in danger of falling exactly for this sort of narcissistic gurus. The problem is that some of these gurus are actually not only highly intelligent, but they have - for whatever reason we don't need to discuss here - developed highly charismatic personalities. It's not that they are just stupid charlatans, they are actually extremely successful in what they do. Imagine what these personalities are able to achieve when they systematically develop their skills further with the help of, let's say, tantric protector practice. Typically, these people create a core team of inner-circle members who protect their dark side from leaking out to the wider sangha. Why do these inner-circle members participate? Shared narcissism usually, status through proximity to central teacher figure, co-profiting from money and power inflows etc.
These situations are actually really dangerous, because that's where practitioners can get really harmed psychologically and/or financially. Or even physically, as we have seen enough times.

So, what I am saying is: This cannot be prevented fully in the future. It will happen again, and to many people. But if in our practice we would start more openly talking about these or similar mechanics of projection, fantasies, narcissism etc., then this could help prevent a few things. Note that all these terms - projection, fantasies, narcissism - are terms that have been very well researched in Western psychology and especially psychoanalysis. We don't have to fall back to Freud and Jung, but Western psychology was much more precise than for example Buddhism in recognizing and describing these patterns. It is no coincidence that quite a few Western meditation teachers are also therapists trained in Western psychology. There are many good books now out in the market who in intelligent ways enable practitioners to enrich their Buddhist practice with insights from modern psychology and by doing so getting even more out of it.

That was my point.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:30 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 pm
Psychoanalysis is not taken very seriously any more
That's like saying the bible is not taken very seriously any more, because all it contains are fairy tales. Well, quite the opposite, many people take the bible very, very seriously. Any many, many Western therapists are so familiar with so many fundamentals laid out by psychoanalysis a hundred years ago that they don't even recognize them as psychoanalysis per se. Really, we don't have to think and talk in terms of Freud and Jung anymore and their claims that were made a century ago. In fact, psychoanalysis has become so embedded in our pop-culture that there is no need to even discuss whether one has to take it seriously or not. It is already deeply embedded in our everyday thinking.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:53 am

There is a really good book called "Prophetic Charisma - The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities" by Len Oakes. From the book's cover:
Often characterized by isolation, autonomy, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, Oakes maintains that the cult leader has a narcissistic personality. This individual possesses a heightened empathy, confidence, and memory, as well as autonomy and detachment - while appearing disquietingly normal most of the time.
What I am saying is that practitioners should educate themselves about and get familiar with their own narcissistic needs and projections. And, sorry to say, Buddhism does not help a lot here. It lacks the theoretical foundation.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Lingpupa » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:02 am

fckw wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:23 am
kirtu wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:50 pm
Since I'm rather adverse to what I see as psycho-babble, would you mind outlining what you are thinking about here?

Kirt
It's very simple, really: ...
:good:
Thanks for taking the trouble to write that. Very clear, imho.
All the best
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Anders » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am

fckw wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:30 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 pm
Psychoanalysis is not taken very seriously any more
That's like saying the bible is not taken very seriously any more, because all it contains are fairy tales. Well, quite the opposite, many people take the bible very, very seriously. Any many, many Western therapists are so familiar with so many fundamentals laid out by psychoanalysis a hundred years ago that they don't even recognize them as psychoanalysis per se. Really, we don't have to think and talk in terms of Freud and Jung anymore and their claims that were made a century ago. In fact, psychoanalysis has become so embedded in our pop-culture that there is no need to even discuss whether one has to take it seriously or not. It is already deeply embedded in our everyday thinking.
Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever. By this I mean tenets like

There is an active complex mental life happening in all humans that most people are largely unaware of
Most of our deep-seated neuroses are rooted in childhood events,
Talking therapy is a viable method for unlocking and working with these neuroses by exploring their origins and for making conscious much of the mental life we are typically unaware of.
Free association works well in such sessions
Dreams are, though encoded, an unfiltered information system about the actual state of affairs of our psyche.

Sure things like the oedipus complex, anal/oral phases etc have mostly fallen into disuse, but the gist of it, though not universal, is still highly prevalent. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is in many ways the modern descendant of Freudian psychoanalysis and is based on many of Freuds original tenets concerning the psyche and how to work with it.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Malcolm
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am

Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever.
Psychoanalysis is bollocks. It is not scientific, it is based on the fantasies of one Austrian guy with a penchant for Greek mythology, cocaine, and cigars.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm
Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am

Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever.
Psychoanalysis is bollocks. It is not scientific, it is based on the fantasies of one Austrian guy with a penchant for Greek mythology, cocaine, and cigars.
I love the spirit. I pointed out already above why it's quite irrelevant whether psychoanalysis is bullocks or not. It has been hugely influential on Western psychology for the better or worse. So, we have to deal with the heritage whether we like it or not.

Furthermore, it might not be so much bollocks as you are inclined to think. Or rather: the siddhas seem to have had certain types of insights more than 1000 years ago before psychoanalysis arose in Western culture. See here.

But we're deviating from the thread topic a bit.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:50 pm

This topic has been split from the conversation about Sogyal Rinpoche. Have a good day!
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OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
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Re: Independent investigation confirms “physical, sexual, emotional abuse” by Sogyal Rinpoche

Post by Malcolm » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:01 pm

fckw wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm
Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am

Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever.
Psychoanalysis is bollocks. It is not scientific, it is based on the fantasies of one Austrian guy with a penchant for Greek mythology, cocaine, and cigars.
I love the spirit. I pointed out already above why it's quite irrelevant whether psychoanalysis is bullocks or not. It has been hugely influential on Western psychology for the better or worse. So, we have to deal with the heritage whether we like it or not.

Furthermore, it might not be so much bollocks as you are inclined to think. Or rather: the siddhas seem to have had certain types of insights more than 1000 years ago before psychoanalysis arose in Western culture. See here.
It's an interesting imagery, but it has nothing to do with the story of Oedipus— as you recall, Oedipus is unaware of his own identity.

M
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Independent investigation confirms “physical, sexual, emotional abuse” by Sogyal Rinpoche

Post by fckw » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:01 pm
fckw wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm


Psychoanalysis is bollocks. It is not scientific, it is based on the fantasies of one Austrian guy with a penchant for Greek mythology, cocaine, and cigars.
I love the spirit. I pointed out already above why it's quite irrelevant whether psychoanalysis is bullocks or not. It has been hugely influential on Western psychology for the better or worse. So, we have to deal with the heritage whether we like it or not.

Furthermore, it might not be so much bollocks as you are inclined to think. Or rather: the siddhas seem to have had certain types of insights more than 1000 years ago before psychoanalysis arose in Western culture. See here.
It's an interesting imagery, but it has nothing to do with the story of Oedipus— as you recall, Oedipus is unaware of his own identity.

M
Now, that's a really, really interesting point you are raising. There indeed is a big difference here between the Greek myth and the tantric visualization. The latter presumes that you already have generated bodhicitta mind, plus that you visualize yourself as a fully enlightened being just as well as your father and mother. Obviously, this is not the case for the Greek Oedipus, he is everything else than enlightened.

I have long been wondering to what degree tantric deities are or are not comparable with Jungian archetypes. Saying that they are "same" is obviously not correct. Saying they are completely different somehow does not seem right neither to me.

So, what's the difference?

Well, for one: Buddhist deities represent your potential insofar as they are "method". Archetypes don't exactly, or we are not using them this way. Buddhist deities don't "possess" you (maybe some worldly protectors can do that), whereas archetypes might actually possess you. Buddhist deities are generated and then dissolved, so they clearly arise out of space-like awareness. Archetypes, well, nobody tells us where they arose from.

I'm interested in your thoughts here.

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Re: Independent investigation confirms “physical, sexual, emotional abuse” by Sogyal Rinpoche

Post by Malcolm » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:31 pm

fckw wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:09 pm


I have long been wondering to what degree tantric deities are or are not comparable with Jungian archetypes. Saying that they are "same" is obviously not correct. Saying they are completely different somehow does not seem right neither to me.
Deity yogas are, fundamentally speaking, dramatized narratives of awakening.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Anders
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Anders » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:04 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm
Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am

Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever.
Psychoanalysis is bollocks. It is not scientific, it is based on the fantasies of one Austrian guy with a penchant for Greek mythology, cocaine, and cigars.
So you reject the tenets I outlined above as still being relevant today?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Empty Desire » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Better off just trying to develop an understanding of the Mind through Buddhist Practice as opposed to an imposed framework about the Mind based on studying behaviour, the true origins of which are questionable.
No Beginning, No End, Just Mind......

Attachment's True Face is Aversion....

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:05 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am
fckw wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:30 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 pm
Psychoanalysis is not taken very seriously any more
That's like saying the bible is not taken very seriously any more, because all it contains are fairy tales. Well, quite the opposite, many people take the bible very, very seriously. Any many, many Western therapists are so familiar with so many fundamentals laid out by psychoanalysis a hundred years ago that they don't even recognize them as psychoanalysis per se. Really, we don't have to think and talk in terms of Freud and Jung anymore and their claims that were made a century ago. In fact, psychoanalysis has become so embedded in our pop-culture that there is no need to even discuss whether one has to take it seriously or not. It is already deeply embedded in our everyday thinking.
Yeah. Sure there are not as many Freudian practitioners of psychoanalysis as there used to be (though they are not as extinct as one might think either) but the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are as current as ever. By this I mean tenets like

There is an active complex mental life happening in all humans that most people are largely unaware of
Most of our deep-seated neuroses are rooted in childhood events,
Talking therapy is a viable method for unlocking and working with these neuroses by exploring their origins and for making conscious much of the mental life we are typically unaware of.
Free association works well in such sessions
Dreams are, though encoded, an unfiltered information system about the actual state of affairs of our psyche.

Sure things like the oedipus complex, anal/oral phases etc have mostly fallen into disuse, but the gist of it, though not universal, is still highly prevalent. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is in many ways the modern descendant of Freudian psychoanalysis and is based on many of Freuds original tenets concerning the psyche and how to work with it.
There are very few exclusive practitioners of Psychoanalysis anymore,the trend has moved away from exclusive practices anyway, but last I looked Pyschoanalytic practitioners are the literally the smallest part of the pie. More than anything else, the mental health world has moved into a time where the inordinate value once given to "uncovering" and "processing" unconscious stuff is really in question, for good reason in my opinion. At any rate it simply is a less used model today, for a whole variety of reasons. in fact, most of the Buddhism-influenced therapies (DBT, ACT etc.), as well as the humanistic-leaning theories are a counterpoint to the assumptions of psychoanalytic theory, in that they see exploration of the past and the unconscious as less important, and see the person as having more autonomy and capability than Psychoanalytic theory and practices did.

Even the world of working with trauma and PTSD (arguably the most extreme manifestation of something like your Childhood Events) does not hold to the idea that trauma is some forever baggage that needs to be "processed" any more, the way Psychoanalysis implicitly did, because we have since discovered that this is not so at all, and that some people can certainly move past very traumatic events without needing anything like the kind of work that the Psychoanalysts claimed was neccessary.

in short, it's my understanding many of the implicit ideas and biases of Pyschodynamic theories have actually been empirically disproven over time, inasmuch as anything about the mind can said be empirically measurable. Evidence-based practices have really cast doubt on parts of Pyschodynamic theory, say nothing of practice.
fckw wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:30 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 pm
Psychoanalysis is not taken very seriously any more
That's like saying the bible is not taken very seriously any more, because all it contains are fairy tales. Well, quite the opposite, many people take the bible very, very seriously. Any many, many Western therapists are so familiar with so many fundamentals laid out by psychoanalysis a hundred years ago that they don't even recognize them as psychoanalysis per se. Really, we don't have to think and talk in terms of Freud and Jung anymore and their claims that were made a century ago. In fact, psychoanalysis has become so embedded in our pop-culture that there is no need to even discuss whether one has to take it seriously or not. It is already deeply embedded in our everyday thinking.

As much as Freud and Jung are revered for being pioneers, professionals who subscribe to psychoanalytic ideas about the human person, and treatment modalities are few and far between these days, in my experience. As an example, pretty much no one takes Freud's psycho sexual stages of development seriously, if something so non-falsifiable can even be "disproven"..then it has been. However, i'm sure most professionals would probably acknowledge that the general psychoanalytic idea of people being driven by unconscious desires is plenty reasonable. Additionally, Ericksons developmental stages are still everywhere, these are given weight, whereas Freud's stages are treated as a quaint notion..

I would not say Psychoanalysis is embedded in the pop culture psyche, I would say that some (often wrongly understood) ideas from Western Psychology in general have made their way into pop culture, some of which are often distant relatives of psychoanalytic theory.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:57 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:37 am
There is an active complex mental life happening in all humans that most people are largely unaware of
Nope.

Most of our deep-seated neuroses are rooted in childhood events,


Nope. But it is nice to blame our parents.

Talking therapy is a viable method for unlocking and working with these neuroses by exploring their origins and for making conscious much of the mental life we are typically unaware of.
Talk therapy is useless.

Free association works well in such sessions
Mere proliferation. And, it is not as free as you might think.

Dreams are, though encoded, an unfiltered information system about the actual state of affairs of our psyche.
Probably not.

Sure things like the oedipus complex, anal/oral phases etc have mostly fallen into disuse, but the gist of it, though not universal, is still highly prevalent. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is in many ways the modern descendant of Freudian psychoanalysis and is based on many of Freuds original tenets concerning the psyche and how to work with it.
It's all bollocks, just another way to separate fools from their money.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by anjali » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:49 pm

I don't have much to add to the conversation, but I do want to offer this quote by Traleg Rinpoche, which I think is helpful at distinguishing the different goals of Buddhist psychology and psychotherapy. In this case it is discussing insight meditation, but I think his comments are generally applicable.
Traleg Rinpoche, from Mind At Ease, pg 170 wrote:
The insight technique involves a kind of epistemological enquiry. It is not meant to deal with our specific thoughts and emotions or their significance to our individual history or psychic life. For example, we have harmful thoughts, lustful thoughts, or confused thoughts, we do not try to work out where these thoughts have come from. We are not trying to construct an etiology of our psychic life, because the causes are endemic to our human condition and consequently are present in the very strategies we might employ to make sense of that condition. The insight technique is designed to dismantle our fixation on these thoughts and emotions, because it is our fixation that reinforces our biases and prejudices and dulls the lenses through which we "see through a glass, darkly"

The teachings of Buddhism do not suggest that greater psychological insight into our lives is unhelpful, nor that insight meditation will not yield some useful snippets of understanding about our personal problems. But this is not the aim of insight meditation, because this agenda is only temporal and partial in relation to our human condition. In fact, trying to see the whys and wherefores of our thoughts and emotions during insight meditation is the very thing we are trying to undermine, because it is these discursive thoughts that reinforce confusion about our true condition. The insight gained through this form of meditation is not concerned with understanding why we have certain thoughts; it is about recognizing that those thoughts have no enduring essence whatsoever. Thoughts are dynamic and expressive rather than inert, substantial, or material. The point of insight meditation practice is to recognize this, not to find out what mental causes gave rise to what mental states. We have to understand the nature of these discursive thoughts themselves.
As someone who did therapy with a Jungian analyst, who had Buddhist sympathies, a number of years ago when I was going through a really rough patch, I can say it definitely helped. Looking back, I believe it helped because the therapist was someone I could confide in--I didn't have anyone else--, and who had practical wisdom regarding my situation. It wasn't because of any particular modality (Jungian, psychoanalytic, cognitive, humanist, etc). I never did resonate with the application of archetypes in day to day life--I never felt the need to anthropomorphize inner energies/patterns.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:28 am

Along those lines, there's considerable evidence (well, granted, according to a particular school of thought and way of viewing evidence) that the particular qualities exhibited by the therapist are a bigger deal than the modality practiced. None of it would be a surprise to Dharma people... "accurate empathy", "congruence", etc. in other words being an honest and empathetic listener/counselor/therapist might actually have much more to do with effective outcomes than any particular ideas or methods do.
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