|Couples Clinical Mastery Brain Science The Future of Psychotherapy Anxiety Narcissistic Clients Challenging Cases Wendy Behary Couples Therapy CE Comments Mary Jo Barrett Great Attachment Debate Future of Psychotherapy Community of Excellence Attachment Alan Sroufe Linda Bacon Mindfulness Mind/Body Symposium 2012 Attachment Theory Etienne Wenger Trauma Gender Issues Clinical Excellence Diets William Doherty Ethics Men in Therapy David Schnarch|
|The Untold Story - Page 13|
PN: Over the past 20 years, lots of thinkers and practitioners have been trying to bring a feminist perspective to bear on therapy. What are you saying in The Birth of Pleasure that hasn't been said before?
CG: What I can add to this very important conversation about therapy are findings from developmental research. What I think is especially relevant is the discovery that voices that can be clearly heard among young boys and preadolescent girls then become covered by other voices, so it's difficult to remember accurately without actually hearing the voice that's become dissociated from oneself or that's being held in silence. The remembered voice is very different from the actual voice of times before dissociation sets in. A second contribution has to do with realizing the extent to which psychologists have read culture as nature, so that adaptations to patriarchal structures are taken as inevitable facts of human existence. Here my research is instructive because it highlights a resistance that isn't ideologically driven but is like the immune system, a force for psychological health.
PN: You end The Birth of Pleasure by saying: "We have a map. We know the way." What does that way look like?
CG: It's a way of staying in relationship with the different parts of oneself, with others, and with the world. It means not giving up relationship, which is part of our birthright, for the sake of having "relationships."And the key here is pleasure. It's hard to fake pleasure, although perhaps for this reason, pleasure has gotten something of a bad name, becoming associated with license or irresponsibility rather than with joy and with freedom. Pursuit of happiness. It's part of the Declaration of Independence. The loss of a voice grounded in experience, including experiences of pleasure, compromises love, but it also compromises democracy.
PN: I know that The Birth of Pleasure isn't a clinical book, but is there any advice you'd offer therapists that might be helpful to their work with clients?
CG: I'd encourage them to listen for the untold story, which is often a story about pleasure. When I joined Terry Real as a cotherapist working with couples, I was struck by how often a story about pleasure lies underneath a story about loss. Anger at mothers--which is crucial to hear and respond to--is often closer to the surface; what often goes unnoticed are memories of pleasure. A man I call Dan was coruscating in his descriptions of his mother's intrusive behavior, and it would have been easy to overlook his saying, almost in passing, "My mother and I were buddies, we were pals."
I'd tell therapists to pay attention to resonance, because voice depends on resonance. We're surrounded by cultural resonances that affect what can and can't be said and heard. If a therapist wants to hear a voice that's been ignored or discredited, he or she will have to create a resonance that signals the possibility of this voice being heard. We know this now with respect to trauma. The Birth of Pleasure does this for love.