Tapio Malinen, tapio.malinentathata.fi, Sundintie 26, FI 06650 Hamari, Finland


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Brief Therapy Network. Vol. 2, No. 1, Fall, 2003.

After Meeting Tom Andersen

Tapio Malinen


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.



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