26 February 2007

what am i doing?

shhh. between you and me, (don't you dare breathe a word to the graduate program i'm applying to) what i'll be essentially buying there is not what i believe. my beloved psychology professor that introduced me to depth psychology told me a few weeks ago that psychology is about love and poetry, and if this program begins to beat it out of me, i should quit.

i can't get to my Dream School. it's in california, and while the program offers a combo of distance learning/on-campus study - i have to be able to be there for 3 days a month for the duration of the program - 5 years. the tuition alone is scary to see in print. factoring in travel and lodging and i'd be able to buy a couple of big houses with student loan debt when it's all said and done. it's the only program of it's kind, offering a master's and phd in my passion -depth psychology.

i've decided to opt for a program closer to home, to seek a counseling psychology degree. this program won't touch depth psychology - and if it does, it will be extremely superficial. i've found the psychoanalyst full time faculty member and he's agreed to be my adviser. i just don't know that it will be enough. i'm planning on some self study in depth/critical psych, but it isn't the same.

and now this.

i finally started reading
we've had a hundred years of psychotherapy and the world's getting worse - a conversation between james hillman (the renegade jungian and father of archetypal psychology that i heart heart heart) and michael ventura in book form.

did i mention that hillman will be at the next open house at Dream School in march? *sigh* his papers and collections are also housed there. i believe he even teaches the occasional course. *sigh* *sigh* part of me wants to "follow my bliss" joseph campbell style and apply to the school just to see what gets set in motion if i do so, if doors will indeed open for me that can only open for me... perhaps the money will fall from the heavens? i might just do that.

but i digress.

back to the book, wherein lies my eternal conflict of entering a field that i think is missing the point in a lot of respects. and there it all is, spelled out. while i'm all down for some introspection, i also know that there are other factors at play in one's psyche. i'd go as far to say that the world plays a far larger role than what psychotherapy offers to be explored.
here is hillman and here are a few excerpts from the book:

hillman: we've had a hundred years of analysis, and people are getting more and more sensitive, and the world is getting worse and worse. maybe it's time to look at that. we still locate the psyche inside the skin. you go inside to locate the psyche, you examine your feelings and your dreams, they belong to you. or it's interrelations, interpsyche, between your psyche and mine. that's been extended a little bit into family systems and office groups - but the psyche, the soul, is still only within and between people. we're working on our relationships constantly, and our feelings and reflections, but look what's left out of that. what's left is a deteriorating world. so why hasn't therapy noticed that? because psychotherapy is only working on the inside soul. by removing the soul from the world and not recognizing the soul is also in the world , psychotherapy can't do it's job anymore. the buildings are sick, the institutions are sick, the banking system's sick, the schools, the streets - the sickness is out there. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ hillman: there is a decline in political sense. no sensitivity to the real issues. why are the intelligent people - at least among the white middle class - so passive now? why? because the sensitive, intelligent people are in therapy! they've been in therapy in the united states for thirty, forty years, and during that time there's been a tremendous political decline in this country.

how do you think that works?

: every time we try to deal with our outrage over the freeway, our misery over the office, and the lighting and the crappy furniture (earlier he describes furniture that contains poisons, microwaves giving off dangerous rays, etc. k.), the crime on the streets, whatever - every time we try to deal with that by going to therapy with our rage and fear, we're depriving the political world of something. and therapy, in it's own crazy way, by emphasizing the inner soul and ignoring the outer soul, supports the decline of the actual world. yet, therapy goes on blindly believing that it's curing the outer world by making better people. we've had that for years and years and years: "if everybody went into therapy we'd have better buildings, we'd have better people, we'd have more consciousness." it's not the case.
(insert my concerns with the numbing of the culture through various medications here...)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ hillman: and becoming more and more oneself - the actual experience of of it is a shrinking, in that very often it's a dehydration, a loss of inflations, a loss of illusions.

: that doesn't sound like a good time. why would anybody want to do it?

hillman: because shedding is a beautiful thing. it's of course not what consumerism tells you, but shedding feels good. it's like lightening up.

: shedding what?

: shedding pseudoskins, crusted stuff that you've accumulated. sheddig dead wood. that's one of the big sheddings. things that don't work anymore, things that don't keep you - keep you alive. sets of ideas that you''ve had too long. people that you don't really like to be with, habits of thoughts, habits of sexuality. that's a very big one, 'cause if you keep making love at forty the way you did at 18 you're missing something. all the changes, the imagination changes. or put another way, growth is loss. anytime you're going to grow, you're going to lose something. you're losing what you're hanging onto to keep safe. you're losing habits that you're comfortable with, you're losing familiarity. that's a big one, when you begin to move into the unfamiliar. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ hillman: there's another thing that therapy does that i think is vicious. it internalizes emotions. hillman looks down at the pacific coast highway packed with cars going as fast as they can bumper to bumper.
i'm outraged after having driven to my analyst on the freeway. the fucking trucks almost ran me off the road. i'm terrified, i'm in my little car, and i get to the therapist's and i'm shaking. my therapist says, "we've got to talk about this." so we begin to talk about it. and we discover that my father was a brute and this whole truck thing reminds me of him. or we discover that i've always felt frail and vulnerable and there've always been bigger guys with bigger dicks, so this car i'm in is a typical example of my thin skin and my frailty and my vulnerability. or we talk about my power drive, that i really wish to be a truck driver. we convert my fear into anxiety - an inner state. we convert present into past, into discussion of my childhood. and we convert my outrage - at the pollution or the chaos or whatever my outrage is about - into rage and hostility. again, an internal condition, where it starts in outrage an emotion. emotions are mainly social. the word comes from the latin ex movere, to move out. emotions connect to the world. therapy introverts emotions, calls fear "anxiety." you tak it back, and you work on it inside yourself. you don't work psychologically on what that outrage is telling you about potholes, about trucks, about florida strawberries in vermont in march, about burning up oil, about energy policies, nuclear waste, that homeless woman over there with the sores on her feet - the whole thing. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

insightful, eh? amen. and now you see my dilemma... let's just throw a little critical psychology into the mix - what hillman is saying and what critical psychology focuses on are very similar in nature. from dennis fox's website:

Critical psychology is an effort to challenge forces within mainstream psychology that help sustain unjust political, economic, and other societal structures. At least that's the way I look at it; critical psychologists don't all agree about goals and methods.

One of the most difficult things to confront is the belief of most psychologists that their work is entirely apolitical -- they're just trying to help people. In fact, although they are trying to help people, their work often embraces assumptions they haven't fully considered.

Especially in the United States, critical psychology hasn't made much of a dent in mainstream psychology. That's not surprising -- the US is the heart of psychology, influencing psychology in the rest of the world the same way other aspects of American culture affect other institutions. So most psychologists never come across critical psychology in their training. Although a fair amount of critical material is published in mainstream journals (even in APA's American Psychologist), most appears in journals most psychologists don't read, using language that most psychologists find difficult to understand. And the truth is, most psychologists don't do much more than skim the table of contents of the journals they do receive (there are too many journals to actually be able to read them).

Some psychologists who do come across critical psychology are sympathetic to its goals but don't see it as a smart career move when trying to get academic jobs or to fit into a traditional clinical practice.

Others consider critical psychology less "scientific" by traditional standards, or think it's too "political," or openly endorse psychology's support for the status quo.

in my visions of grandiosity, i think that i will somehow singlehandedly change the way we "do" therapy in the united states - that i will somehow tie all of this together into practice and work towards my phd at Dream School. and help women and children that may not otherwise have access to the help they need. and make a difference. i'm also fearing that, knowing me - i'll open my big pie hole at school and they'll be onto me in seconds flat. kara = ousted in a bloody coup.

why oh why do i have to be so difficult?

what am i

been playing in my mind all day:

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