Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.
Loula Koteas's insight:
If we want a thinking society we have to be willing to engage in conflict...
"...The task of therapy is, in part, one of empathy and its byproduct, encouragement. As courage expands, openness to change merges into willingness. Willingness is an expression of courage. Transformative change occurs in the lives of those who are open to it, turn their will toward it, and surrender self-protective artificialities and fears to a grander scheme. Faith, hope, or even relationship may catalyze therapeutic transformation. This sort of change demands great preparation, care, and patience. It is surprising to many that when transformative changes do occur, they often come in subtle ways and bring with them simple joys, almost unexpectedly. The novelist John Steinbeck (1954) wrote, “Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” Viktor Frankl (1988) insisted, “One has long ago come to realize that what matters in therapy is not techniques but rather the human relations between doctor and patient, or the personal and existential encounter” (p. 6). Carl Rogers (1961) conjectured that optimal therapy requires a therapist entering into an intensely personal and subjective relationship with a client, “relating not as a scientist to an object of study, not as a physician expecting to diagnose and cure, but as a person to a person” (pp. 184-185). Yet we are easily wooed by gimmicks and novelty, aren’t we? In his 1784 essay, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?,” the philosopher Immanuel Kant asserted, “Dogmas and formulas, these mechanical tools designed for reasonable use—or rather abuse—of his natural gifts, are the fetters of an everlasting nonage [or, immaturity].” If a psychotherapist is lifeless or his technique too technical, his efforts to help may be worthless. Therapy, in this case, is not relationship but a poor excuse for scientific experimentation. The mechanisms of some psychotherapies undermine their therapeutic value. If a therapist is not fully present as a warm, accepting, genuine, caring person, then the power center of therapy remains turned off and, for all practical purposes, ineffective. Ultimately, the person-centered process in psychotherapy is the soul of therapeutic change." [click on the title for the full article]
"...We are wired to need secure attachment, not just for our survival but also for optimal brain development.
Here is what it looks like when secure attachment doesn’t happen: Baby is upset, turns to caregiver for comfort and connection; instead, baby gets ignored, is left alone, or worse, is abused for having needs. These types of reactions from caregiver will have an enormous dysregulating effect on baby. Most likely baby will protest (i.e., cry) or give some kind of distress signal. If this is ineffective, eventually baby will stop seeking care and comfort from their caregiver; instead, baby withdraws and starts finding other ways to self-regulate and self-soothe.
This is where I believe fertile grounds for addiction start to develop. This baby is wired to not turn to humans for care and comfort; instead, they will seek alternatives to help them self-regulate. Addictions to drugs, food, rituals around food, over- or under-eating, can all become compensatory mechanisms for replacing the regulating effect a secure attachment would have provided. I have yet to meet someone who struggles with addiction who doesn’t also have some kind of attachment trauma.
Viewing clinical issues through the lens of attachment theory has helped me enormously in my work with clients. Problems and dysfunction make perfect sense when viewed through this lens. Take my client Becky, for instance. (I’ve changed her name for confidentiality purposes.) Becky had a problem with drinking. She turned to drink whenever she felt anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. In her words: “It helps me numb out, and suddenly those things that seemed so big and overwhelming are gone.” Becky turns to alcohol to help herself regulate. She didn’t have caregivers who were really there for her or very responsive to her needs growing up. In fact, her father was an alcoholic and her mother suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder. This background provided fertile grounds for an addiction to develop. I believe that because Becky had not experienced the regulatory effect that secure attachment would have provided, she had to get creative. She had to find a substitute to help her regulate; alcohol became that substitute..."
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