Brief Therapy Network. Vol. 2, No. 1, Fall, 2003.
GREETINGS FROM EUROPE!
After Meeting Tom Andersen
In the beginning there was a word and in the end …a
phrase or a canonical picture.
The transformation of original into copy, inspiration
into ambition, unconditioned joy into needs, power into arrogance,
touch into manipulation ... these are the diseases of our time.
In the standardized world we live in one often forgets that
words don’t transmit reality to us, they only
point to it.
When we develop our practice as therapists, we have to look
out for the illusion of certainty. We often create meanings
in ways that legitimize our own world pictures/views. By doing
so, we often make the original, authentic, and changeable aspects
of our interactions with others into something that is constant
and orthodox. In the same way that a fish isn’t aware
of its own wetness, we are not aware of our own world picture.
However, it unknowingly directs our perception, thinking and
actions at all times.
A dialogue is an open space of mind, where the artificial separateness
between an individual and the world diminishes. A living
dialogue is never a copy or a reproduction. It creates
a reality of its own and is born every time an individual is
willing to meet the unknown and to settle into the interactions
between him/herself and another human being. The aim in dialogue
is not to knock one down or to show the superiority of one’s
own thoughts. The intention is not to change another human being,
but to increase mutual understanding.
Striving, evasion, stereotyping, manipulation, rhetoric, and
power only stir the surface of the pond during those times when
your trying to look into its bottom.
In the practice of using words, we are constantly on the border
of releasing and enslaving. Creative dialogue is not characterized
by interpretation, assessment, ratio, or knowledge but rather
an open mind that "makes us alert and curious like smoke
wandering around and through the phenomena, love and horrors".
In the best-case scenario, the brief therapy practitioner lives
through in his professional development a deep personal transformation
relating to knowing, feeling, action and interaction. The practice
does not just produce change in the client, but also gradually
changes the therapist. And some day the expert is the expert
because of what he is, not because he knows more than the beginner.
The practitioner’s ability to choose and his/her resistance
of the stereotyped use of method are the main signs of advanced
competence. It’s also common that, along with experience,
the professional practitioner moves gradually away from rationality
into a larger intuition.
Our practice remains a creative process when we are willing
to experience the constant process of the dissolution of our
identities and leave our self-importance for the good of openness.
It is within this kind of empty space of mind that the encounter
of another human being and our work unite.
Sometimes wisdom appears accompanied with words, but mostly
into the empty space around them. When you read this text you
can perceive how these words effects all the time. You can explore
what kind of new meanings your mind is creating at the meeting
of written words.
Of course, it’s also good to remember that silence created
these words. If you really want to know their meanings, you
can also listen to their silence.