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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default Designs for a New Psychotherapeutic Model

    Some optional questions to guide your thinking...

    [Name]

    What is the goal of your therapy?

    How will this goal be achieved? How does your model see personality?

    What are the main influences of your model?

    Who will it appeal to?

    What role will the therapist play?

    What techniques will the therapist use?

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Evolutionary Psychotherapy

    What is the goal of your therapy?

    There are 2 goals of this therapy: (1) to merge the individual with his experience by developing courage/levity, awareness, understanding, and self-love or self-acceptance; (2) to encourage the development of wise-decision making.

    How will this goal be achieved? How does your model see personality?

    Merger is achieved through a few stages. The first stage is developing courage or levity. They both serve the same purpose, which is to prepare the individual to examine his current situation including all the things he hides from conscious awareness. In this sense, the therapy is a lot like traditional psychoanalysis which seeks to merge conscious and unconscious. Levity is developed through humor, absurdity, and appreciation for irony. Courage is developed through inspiration (by the therapist, by stories, by introverting).

    The second stage is awareness. Once the individual has established some basic level of comfort and courage, he can start to experience the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors he repeats in his daily life. The person is encouraged to label the activity he perceives with a word, such as "striving" or "nervousness" or "tension," depending on whatever's most prominent in his perception. Drawings that represent the activity are also encouraged. This is called "cataloging."

    The third stage is understanding. Understanding is informed by evolutionary psychology and animal behavior. The idea is the same with each: develop a context in which you can understand the behavior, cognitions (attitudes, beliefs about one's self, stories we tell ourselves) and affect (emotional responses) in order to be able to let them go. For example, when anger pops up while thinking about someone disrespecting you, the person recognizes the experience as anger and then considers how anger has served an important purpose in our evolution, allowing us to compete for resources and reproduce with better success. By doing this, the person can allow the experience to be there without trying to deny it or get rid of it because it's improper, unacceptable, or unadaptive. Studying animal behavior, or primate behavior, is a way to reinforce one's understanding of evolutionary psychology and help make the information more real as opposed to just theory.

    Understanding fosters acceptance or self-love. Why? In my model of personality, people's natural instinct is to be compassionate and kind to themselves (this is an assumption). In this state of mind, conflicts and struggles still exist, but they're easier to deal with and navigate. The rejection of current experience, both in the form of denying current experience or clinging to labels and stories about ourselves ("I'm successful," "I'm unique," "I'm better than they are,") prevents compassion from pouring out. Merger is used to resume the flow of compassion.

    Tools
    There really isn't too much delving into people's histories, except when it helps the individual let go of something important. If the individual can let go without this, that's fine.

    OTOH, people will be encouraged to meditate using insight meditation techniques (i.e., Vipassana: recognizing and labeling experience) enhanced and informed by evolutionary psychology (i.e., understanding the root of that experience).

    The second goal, wisdom, is modeled by the therapist (see below).

    What are the main influences of your model?

    Insight Meditation, Gestalt Psychotherapy, Evolutionary Psychology, Primate Ethology, Humanistic Psychotherapy

    Who will it appeal to?

    I think this will primarily appeal to scientific-minded folks, but anyone who can understand evolutionary theory could utilize these techniques.

    What role will the therapist play?

    The therapist serves as a model for wise decision making, self-esteem, and healthy, assertive communication. The therapist also models courage by reflecting personal anecdotes. The therapist acts like a friend, genuine and sincere (as in Humanistic Psychotherapy) and is free to share his or her own problems and challenges in life, past and ongoing.

    What techniques will the therapist use?[/QUOTE]

    The therapist will try to embody sincerity and levity and will have to have an appreciation for absurdity. The therapist tries to use humor to shape stories, when appropriate. The therapist will rehearse a few techniques to help breathe humor into situations, but is encouraged to be creative (and attentive, of course). An atmosphere of levity and sincerity is crucial to the therapeutic process and friendship.

    The therapist must be well rehearsed in the basic principles of evolutionary psychology and primate ethology. He or she will practice awareness, naming, and understanding with the patient during the session. As in Gestalt Psychotherapy, the therapist-patient relationship will sometimes be used to practice the method.

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