Psychoanalysis

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Empty Desire
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Empty Desire » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:30 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
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 therapy than any particular ideas or methods do.
Not necessarily what people say, it's how they make us feel!
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:37 am

It's also worth mentioning that Freud himself has had huge cultural impact on the West, aside from any value that his actual therapy might have had. His essays like Civilization and its Discontents, Totem and Taboo, and many others, are some of the foundational documents of scientific-secular philosophy; Darwin, Marx and Freud are often mentioned in association. He was definitely one of the main influences behind the sexual revolution, and the idea that free expression of libido is a sign of psychological well-being.

Regardless, I still believe that there really are unconscious and sub-conscious processes, and that both transference and projection happen, as per the long post above.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:38 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:30 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
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 therapy than any particular ideas or methods do.
Not necessarily what people say, it's how they make us feel!
More than that I think, it's also approaches that are less directive, that don't treat people as if they are their problems, etc.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:40 am

Worth watching on Wayfarer's point:



I agree on Freud's influence on Western culture, you can't not agree after seeing this film...I just don't think it's a particularly positive one, and I hope we are digging our way out from those ideas.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by smcj » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:55 am

You’ve got to have your head screwed on somewhat straight in order to practice Dharma. If you’re too screwed up you’ll only make things worse.

Having said that, my understanding is that your psyche is your unawareness and your limitations—your samsara. It is what you become liberated from. If so then psychotherapy is an attempt to make samsara comfortable and is therefore doomed to failure.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:59 am

smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:55 am
You’ve got to have your head screwed on somewhat straight in order to practice Dharma. If you’re too screwed up you’ll only make things worse.

Having said that, my understanding is that your psyche is your unawareness and your limitations—your samsara. It is what you become liberated from. If so then psychotherapy is an attempt to make samsara comfortable and is therefore doomed to failure.
"Psychotherapy" is a really broad range of stuff, what are you actually talking about? Are you even critiquing something specific?

Following that absolutist logic, things like the 12 steps are also just attempts to fix our samsara, and would fit under the broad category of stuff you are criticizing, but I know you think highly of those.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by smcj » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:46 am

Following that absolutist logic, things like the 12 steps are also just attempts to fix our samsara, and would fit under the broad category of stuff you are criticizing, but I know you think highly of those.
I see the 12 Steps as an incomplete path. There’s no final liberation from “self” per se. But it is path that takes people in the right direction. It is very common for me to see people in the rooms that show some rudimentary spiritual development. I’d like to see more people use Step 11 to investigate Buddhism in general and Vajrayana in particular.

The (non-instantaneous) practice of Dharma is also a step by step process from the psyche to the spiritual. The Buddha Nature is already fully present, which means the non-instantaneous spiritual path is a process of distilling out the “adventitious defilement”, which I understand to mean actions, emotions, and understandings that are corrupted into psyche. But that does not mean that the there will be a stage where resting on one’s laurels won’t result in dukkha.

It’s the instantaneous practice of Dharma that really is absolutist.

There’s an odd aspect to people’s experience in recovery that they call “better than before”. They (I) don’t return to normal. Living life better than normal. (In fact the pejorative they use for non-addicts is “normie”) I believe the difference is that to a very small degree what they experience as different is a tiny glimmer of their Buddha Nature showing throughg what remains of the psyche. Might be a good time to transition to actual Dharma.

I’d better stop there before I get in trouble with the mods.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:02 am

smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:46 am
Following that absolutist logic, things like the 12 steps are also just attempts to fix our samsara, and would fit under the broad category of stuff you are criticizing, but I know you think highly of those.
I see the 12 Steps as an incomplete path. There’s no final liberation from “self” per se. But it is path that takes people in the right direction. It is very common for me to see people in the rooms that show some rudimentary spiritual development. I’d like to see more people use Step 11 to investigate Buddhism in general and Vajrayana in particular.

The (non-instantaneous) practice of Dharma is also a step by step process from the psyche to the spiritual. The Buddha Nature is already fully present, which means the non-instantaneous spiritual path is a process of distilling out the “adventitious defilement”, which I understand to mean actions, emotions, and understandings that are corrupted into psyche. But that does not mean that the there will be a stage where resting on one’s laurels won’t result in dukkha.

It’s the instantaneous practice of Dharma that really is absolutist.

There’s an odd aspect to people’s experience in recovery that they call “better than before”. They (I) don’t return to normal. Living life better than normal. (In fact the pejorative they use for non-addicts is “normie”) I believe the difference is that to a very small degree what they experience as different is a tiny glimmer of their Buddha Nature showing throughg what remains of the psyche. Might be a good time to transition to actual Dharma.

I’d better stop there before I get in trouble with the mods.
That's all great, and actually I think you probably onto something. People who earnestly work the steps do often go through a real transformation. Then again, I could raise the same objections about the steps you are about therapy, in fact I could get even more detailed with my complaints as I have some exposure myself, and my personal experiences with NA/AA are less rosy than yours. My point though is that there are forms of what you are calling "Psychotherapy" that are every bit as "spiritual" as what people experience in working the steps. It never ceases to amaze me how people on here will rail against "talk therapy" or some other vague category, without specifying what they're objecting to, and seemingly knowing little to nothing about the wide range of things that constitute "therapy". If people working the 12 steps can lead people to these "ready for something more" type moments, then certainly so can something like DBT groups, as one example of what you are dismissively calling "psychotherapy". In fact, DBT involves actual meditation, with a spiritual focus when people are amenable.
(In fact the pejorative they use for non-addicts is “normie”)
Yeah, I've spent a teeny bit of time in the rooms, and I work in the addiction world... as I said my impression is far less positive than yours (that includes the addict/normie divide, which is a relic), but even I will admit that there is something very real spiritually to the program in it's intended state. I would argue however that often times so many groups and individual attitudes run so contrary to whats in the Big Book or the 12 and 12, that it's not in it's intended state plenty of the time.
people use Step 11 to investigate Buddhism in general and Vajrayana in particular.
If someone has really, truly taken refuge and understand it's significance (not just the ceremony, I mean really done it, and doing so), the 11th step would be completely superfluous for them, from my point of view.

So part of my counterpoint would be that 12 steps show their protestant Christian bias in the extreme dualism that manifests during rough patches (you can see this in many people on the steps getting pissed at their higher power, expecting life to work out even they are trying to live "life on lifes terms" etc.), and generally experience the same swing back and forth between Sin and Salvation that you might see with Christians in spiritual crisis.. So this idea that the 12 steps can uniquely lead people to Dharma above "therapy" isn't convincing to me, especially because some forms of "therapy" already teach a rudimentary Buddhist psychology, meditation, and even ethics.. and the 12 steps have a fundamentally dualistic, Christian-based worldview of mind and conduct - though that's not without it's positives.

I mean honestly neither one is Dharma, however the purpose of both is give people enough hope to pursue virtuous values in life, and help them turn away from severe afflictions, and in that sense either could lead in a number of good directions - including Dharma practice. They are both worldy paths, but positive worldly paths should be probably be encouraged.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by amanitamusc » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:07 am

smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:46 am
Following that absolutist logic, things like the 12 steps are also just attempts to fix our samsara, and would fit under the broad category of stuff you are criticizing, but I know you think highly of those.
I see the 12 Steps as an incomplete path. There’s no final liberation from “self” per se. But it is path that takes people in the right direction. It is very common for me to see people in the rooms that show some rudimentary spiritual development. I’d like to see more people use Step 11 to investigate Buddhism in general and Vajrayana in particular.

The (non-instantaneous) practice of Dharma is also a step by step process from the psyche to the spiritual. The Buddha Nature is already fully present, which means the non-instantaneous spiritual path is a process of distilling out the “adventitious defilement”, which I understand to mean actions, emotions, and understandings that are corrupted into psyche. But that does not mean that the there will be a stage where resting on one’s laurels won’t result in dukkha.

It’s the instantaneous practice of Dharma that really is absolutist.

There’s an odd aspect to people’s experience in recovery that they call “better than before”. They (I) don’t return to normal. Living life better than normal. (In fact the pejorative they use for non-addicts is “normie”) I believe the difference is that to a very small degree what they experience as different is a tiny glimmer of their Buddha Nature showing throughg what remains of the psyche. Might be a good time to transition to actual Dharma.

I’d better stop there before I get in trouble with the mods.
I new this guy who was a student of HHDL Paul tiny Stacy who taught the 11th step.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by fckw » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:46 am

What are the 12 steps? Never heard of them.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:00 am

It's the Alcoholic Anonymous program terminology. It's rooted in a kind of ecumenical Christian belief i.e. not church-based but belief in a higher power. They 've been adapted for other treatment programs.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by smcj » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:33 pm

During his life the founder of AA, Bill W., proudly wrote about the 12 Steps being incorporated into some form of Buddhism in Japan. He did not say which kind of Buddhism however. In any case apparently he did not see the 12 Steps as being Christian specific.
Last edited by smcj on Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Kunzang Tobgyal » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
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.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:41 pm

smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:33 pm
During his life the founder of AA, Bill W., proudly wrote about the 12 Steps being incorporated into some form of Buddhism in Japan. He did not say which kind of Buddhism however. In any case apparently he did not see the 12 Steps as being Christian specific.
Yes, there's a lot of wisdom in the Big Book, it's worth reading just as spiritual literature, let alone for people who struggle with addiction. However, the program comes from the Oxford Group, which was most certainly Christian. AA retains a Christian view in the form of an external Higher Power that can only grant salvation from sin (addiction) via surrender and powerlessness. For sure you can make this work for you as a Buddhist, plenty of devotion in Dharma, and there lots of different ways to interpret the steps, including the First Step...to a degree taking refuge is connected, in a basic way.. but the Steps are undeniably theistic in a mode that Dharma typically is not, and they are framed in a form of theism that is fairly specific to Abrahamic religions in my opinion. On top of this, plenty of meetings are overtly Christian, end with the Lord's Prayer etc. So i'm not saying it can't work for Buddhists, I know plenty of practitioners who have worked the program like you, and for some it saved their lives. In my opinion it sure won't work as a recovery program for -all- Buddhists though, let alone a spiritual path.

I couldn't stand AA years ago when I could have actually used it, I found the meetings and the tone of the literature to be sanctimonious, exclusive, and devoid of any real meat that would have helped me at the time. Since then (granted over 20 years) I've come around to an appreciation of the program and what it can do for people, however I simply don't agree that it can easily be extended outside the Christian mode of thinking for everyone, and I would argue that that thinking is pretty much baked into the program, for some people that's not a problem at all, and it's quite a natural fit.. for others, it's not the right thing.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Quay » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:57 pm
...
Talk therapy is useless.

...just another way to separate fools from their money.
Then it is not entirely useless is it? :)

I would disagree it is entirely useless if a person doesn't have anyone else to talk to. They can get some benefit from talking with someone (hopefully) more knowledgeable than they are.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Quay » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:16 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:41 pm
smcj wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:33 pm
During his life the founder of AA, Bill W., proudly wrote about the 12 Steps being incorporated into some form of Buddhism in Japan. He did not say which kind of Buddhism however. In any case apparently he did not see the 12 Steps as being Christian specific.
Yes, there's a lot of wisdom in the Big Book, it's worth reading just as spiritual literature, let alone for people who struggle with addiction. However, the program comes from the Oxford Group, which was most certainly Christian. AA retains a Christian view in the form of an external Higher Power that can only grant salvation from sin (addiction) via surrender and powerlessness. For sure you can make this work for you as a Buddhist, plenty of devotion in Dharma, and there lots of different ways to interpret the steps, including the First Step...to a degree taking refuge is connected, in a basic way.. but the Steps are undeniably theistic in a mode that Dharma typically is not, and they are framed in a form of theism that is fairly specific to Abrahamic religions in my opinion. On top of this, plenty of meetings are overtly Christian, end with the Lord's Prayer etc. So i'm not saying it can't work for Buddhists, I know plenty of practitioners who have worked the program like you, and for some it saved their lives. In my opinion it sure won't work as a recovery program for -all- Buddhists though, let alone a spiritual path.

I couldn't stand AA years ago when I could have actually used it, I found the meetings and the tone of the literature to be sanctimonious, exclusive, and devoid of any real meat that would have helped me at the time. Since then (granted over 20 years) I've come around to an appreciation of the program and what it can do for people, however I simply don't agree that it can easily be extended outside the Christian mode of thinking for everyone, and I would argue that that thinking is pretty much baked into the program, for some people that's not a problem at all, and it's quite a natural fit.. for others, it's not the right thing.
I'd definitely agree most 12-step programs, at least in the U.S., are almost all overtly Christian in their presentation and outlook. However there are non-theist and even Buddhist 12-step lists, programs, and groups that seem to do pretty well.

There are also entirely different ways to look at the problem, such as the one articulated by Stanton Peale. No gods needed. :-)
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by TharpaChodron » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:41 am

Why exactly is talk therapy useless?

It's not helpful for everyone, but there are many people who benefit from it. Such as people who experience a trauma which they didn't recover from, where their experiences were denied and negated by others, especially family members. It happens all the time.

I see where unresolved trauma was never addressed appropriately and then people recreate (unconsciously perhaps) the same patterns in their adult lives and it goes on.

I think if one merely thinks of talk therapy as something only privileged people who have not experienced serious trauma engage in, then it might seem frivolous, but it can be helpful for abuse victims.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:54 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:41 am
Why exactly is talk therapy useless?

It's not helpful for everyone, but there are many people who benefit from it. Such as people who experience a trauma which they didn't recover from, where their experiences were denied and negated by others, especially family members. It happens all the time.

I see where unresolved trauma was never addressed appropriately and then people recreate (unconsciously perhaps) the same patterns in their adult lives and it goes on.

I think if one merely thinks of talk therapy as something only privileged people who have not experienced serious trauma engage in, then it might seem frivolous, but it can be helpful for abuse victims.
People retain this antiquated idea that "therapy" means sitting with someone for long, painful talks about your mother, when in fact things have been moving away from that direction for many years, as i'm sure you know.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Anders » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:24 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:57 pm

Nope.

Nope. But it is nice to blame our parents.

Talk therapy is useless.

Mere proliferation. And, it is not as free as you might think.

Probably not.

It's all bollocks, just another way to separate fools from their money.
Cool story bro
"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 Anders » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:37 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:05 pm
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.



I can readily agree with most of that (although I'd curious to know what which psychodynamic ideas have been disproven).

My overall point about Freud was more along the lines that he pioneered a lot of the stuff that is simply "psychotherapy" today and while his faulty assertions were many, no one seems to discredit a guy like Isaac Newton (or physics altogether) for failing to anticipate general relativity or for being an alchemist and occultist. He is mostly just remembered for the things he did get right and the advances he made that others could build on.
"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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