Husserl, Natural Attitude, P. Method, Psychology, and GT

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Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 9:52:55 AM7/25/10
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Friends:

I’ve read an excellent article by Sebastian Luft, “Husserl’s Theory of the Phenomenological Reduction: Between Life-World and Cartesianism.” I think it is relevant to our understanding of Stein criticism of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology.
The following quote is also relevant to a recent exchange and supports the notion that there is inevitable thematizing of the subject within the p. method. 

"From its inception in the Logical Investigations, phenomenology endeavors
to analyze consciousness. The “positive” discipline for this is, naturally,
psychology. However, phenomenology as rigorous science aims
at moving from facts regarding the human consciousness to essences;
it is an eidetic science of consciousness, as essentially characterized by
the structure of intentionality. Yet, this intentionality is itself not a
homogenous and “uniform” framework but is structured by the structure
of cogito—cogitatum. Accounting for this “rich” structure calls for a
whole “psychology” on the basis of the phenomenological principles
(intentionality). Phenomenological psychology is this designated discipline
performed on the basis of an eidetic description of conscious
phenomena. Structuring this discipline has its own problems and
difficulties, which shall not be discussed here. Yet it is clear how it
would be necessary to systematically carry this out as a “universal”
analysis. Husserl reflected intensely on how to perform this task in a
systematic fashion.41 In short, he proceeds from a positive science within
the whole of the human sciences. In this framework, psychology, as
science of consciousness conceived as a single ego would be followed
by the science of communal spirit42 in the framework of a phenomenology
of intersubjectivity. However, these considerations, according to Husserl,
thematize subjectivity as part of the world and hence remain bound
to the natural attitude.”




Since  subjectivity is 
unavoidably 
thematized in the p.method, in order to maintain an “ethical” stance, or in my terms, to enable the emerge of an ethos within which dialogical contacting is possible (with its implicit ethical relational ground), the therapist must know he/she is thematizing and know that the patient is doing the same. But this is not enough.
As we know, thematizing is not simply “projecting” that can easily since we cannot simply step out of the very framework that makes thematizing inevitable.  
How do we do this?
Can Stein’s empathy be a way?
Does this relate to  Same  - the Other?  How about alterity?

Should this go on the other list, too?

Dan




Dan

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 12:02:25 PM7/25/10
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Yes to the other list (I am making it a copyholder).

I have been wondering if Frank Staemmler included Edith's work (The Problem of Empathy) in the research for his book.  Anybody know?

Dan, I don't know if the client is also thematizing. The client might well remain naive, in the natural attitude, merely responding to what is going on.  As you know, I'm not sure that what gestalt therapists actually do could rightly be called a phenomenological reduction, anyway.  I think it is in the form of such a thing, but actually remains so tied to the lifeworld, to the givenness of the contact between therapist and client, that it is an incompetent bracketing that takes place.  Further, as you have also remarked, do we not make USE of our countertransference rather than simply chuck it by the wayside.  So, I think this is all more complex, not a simple matter, but one that we should be re-thinking.  

We are a phenomenological approach, because we follow the phenomenality of both therapist and client and because we are informed by the work of phenomenological philosophers.  However, I don't even think we, as therapists, were what Husserl and others were thinking about when they would use the term "psychology" in their philosophizing.  Rather, I think they were purposefully contrasting themselves with scientific psychology, what we might today call "experimental psychology."  Back then psychology wanted the respectability of science, and the first "labs" were set up.  That is not what psychotherapy is.  So, I really believe we need to examine with a critical eye everything we've taken for granted with reference to a "phenomenological method" in gestalt therapy.

Phil

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 11:05:29 AM7/25/10
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I re-read this in the light of some later passages and it is not so clear to me.
 Psychology as a science of subjectivity thematizes. 
What does Husserl mean by “in a framework of a phenomenology of intersubjectivity”?

His reference to “as single ego” immediately preceding that is developed subsequently by Lutz. After a transcendental reduction, the ego is split into a transcendental ego that observes the ego that remains in the natural attitude. 

I hold to my comment, below.

On Jul 25, 2010, at 9:52 AM, Dan Bloom wrote:

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 11:15:32 AM7/25/10
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On Jul 25, 2010, at 12:02 PM, Philip Brownell wrote:

Yes to the other list (I am making it a copyholder).

I have been wondering if Frank Staemmler included Edith's work (The Problem of Empathy) in the research for his book.  Anybody know?

Yes, he did. 


Dan, I don't know if the client is also thematizing. The client might well remain naive, in the natural attitude, merely responding to what is going on.  As you know, I'm not sure that what gestalt therapists actually do could rightly be called a phenomenological reduction, anyway.  I think it is in the form of such a thing, but actually remains so tied to the lifeworld, to the givenness of the contact between therapist and client, that it is an incompetent bracketing that takes place.  Further, as you have also remarked, do we not make USE of our countertransference rather than simply chuck it by the wayside.  So, I think this is all more complex, not a simple matter, but one that we should be re-thinking.  


I think thematizing is invisible and routine. The world is my world until something makes me  know its broader deeper structure. 

Did I say be don’t make use of our countertransference?

I address the p. method of GTs in my paper. 


We are a phenomenological approach, because we follow the phenomenality of both therapist and client and because we are informed by the work of phenomenological philosophers.  However, I don't even think we, as therapists, were what Husserl and others were thinking about when they would use the term "psychology" in their philosophizing.  

Heidegger gave seminars to psychiatrists in Zollikon, Switzerland from 1959 to 1969. What do you think they were about? Not just academic philosophy!


Rather, I think they were purposefully contrasting themselves with scientific psychology, what we might today call "experimental psychology."  Back then psychology wanted the respectability of science, and the first "labs" were set up.  That is not what psychotherapy is.  So, I really believe we need to examine with a critical eye everything we've taken for granted with reference to a "phenomenological method" in gestalt therapy.

Hey, we must not take Husserl and his immediate circke as the beginning and end of the phenomenological movement. I know you don’t. 

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Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 12:24:14 PM7/25/10
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Dear Dan,

On Jul 25, 2010, at 11:15 AM, Dan Bloom wrote:

>> We are a phenomenological approach, because we follow the phenomenality of both therapist and client and because we are informed by the work of phenomenological philosophers. However, I don't even think we, as therapists, were what Husserl and others were thinking about when they would use the term "psychology" in their philosophizing.
>
> Heidegger gave seminars to psychiatrists in Zollikon, Switzerland from 1959 to 1969. What do you think they were about? Not just academic philosophy!

I am thinking historically and developmentally. What you have here for dates, is past the period in which Husserl and Stein were writing. Correct? The line had moved, and psychotherapy (most likely called psychoanalysis at that point) was more prominent of course. But think back to when Stein and Husserl were writing. My bet is they are not thinking of a psychologist as someone meeting in an intersubjective encounter; my bet is they were thinking of the psychology lab. I might be wrong. Freud was also a student of Husserl's.

Phil

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 11:33:25 AM7/25/10
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I thought you were talking about phenom. phil. for all time.

I am confident Husserl wasn’t writing for psychotherapists.

What was one of the major contributions of Heidegger — in the 1920’s? He brought affect into the world of philosophy. Sure, there was Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. But Heidegger made it central and part of his well-developed fundamental ontology.
Check the dates for Karl Jaspers. He and Heidegger were close.

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 12:26:17 PM7/25/10
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If Lutz’s interpretation of Husserl is right, then there is no thematizing in the natural attitude. Thematizing is a function of the transcendental ego (post reduction). In fact, we don’t know there is a “natural attitude” until the reduction.


On Jul 25, 2010, at 11:15 AM, Dan Bloom wrote:

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:17:55 PM7/25/10
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That's the way I see it. I also think we need to coordinate our phenomenological commitments with the other tenets of our theory (dialogical relationship, field methodology, and experiment). These will impact our version of the phen. reduction, for instance.

Phil

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:07:36 PM7/25/10
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A tangent maybe...though it may have a bearing: Lewin's focus on the "contemporaneity" of any behaviour is, for me, an aspect of his phenomenolgical approach. No current event can be explained in any terms other than those pertaining in the moment of its happening. Nothing explains a behaviour other than the field conditions at the time of that behaviour. Past events may help us to understand better, no more than that.

Seán

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 3:13:02 PM7/25/10
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And in saying that, you point out why it is a field METHODOLOGY (as opposed to a theory), because it is a way of understanding and working with causality.
Phil

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 2:49:05 PM7/25/10
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Phil,

As I never tire of pointing out, Lewin's field thinking is BOTH a meta-theory and a specific theory as a methodology for exploring experience...in both cases, I believe (think, trust) that is phenomenological in its source. I know for a fact that Lewin references both Brentano and Husserl in one his German papers during the 1920s.

So, I guess we're in agreement?

Seán

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 3:31:48 PM7/25/10
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IF, that is IF, we are remain within a model that accepts a the reduction and the natural attitude.

I am following the story line of Husserl and Stein here for the sake of my studies. Their method uses the reduction.

There is a lot to be said in favor of the Husserl’s detailed and rational approach to phenomenology. I can see how Heidegger was criticized for not being able to withstand the kind of critical thinking that could be brought to Husserl.

Two roads diverged in the early 20th Century. The one, Cartesian, neo-Kantian, and scientific. The other, perhaps Hegelian, perhaps Idealist, certainly Kierkegaardian, Nietzschean. We know who followed which road.
Interestingly, gestalt theory took both roads.
Phenomenology took both roads.
Gestalt therapy is on both roads.

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 4:49:34 PM7/25/10
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Hm.  Well, what do you do with Lewin's own assertions that his "field theory" was not really a theory at all but a method.  He said this.  Now, there were many field theorists and field theories around at the time; he was not alone.  I find it more helpful to see what we do as gestalt therapists to be largely a manifestation of a field methodology–a way of doing therapy that has more to do with working with the field than anything.  Everything we do affects the field and is an outgrowth of it, and that includes the phenomenal experience of both therapist and client.  I think we can and do make theoretical statements about the field and what happens in it (as I have just done), but I start with Lewin's own words, and then I extrapolate from there.

Phil

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 3:56:14 PM7/25/10
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Is there a “the” field?

I’ve read different usages of the word “field,” from Sylvia’s catch-all “domain of influence” to Lewin’s topologically mapped field.

This isn’t the place for this. I know. 

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 3:59:16 PM7/25/10
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Dan,

It may just be that Lewin as a scientist used the reduction and increasingly as a social psychologist used the natural attitude...

And Kierkrgaard utter rejected Hegel...for the record...

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 4:00:53 PM7/25/10
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Thanks for the info on K.

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 4:07:10 PM7/25/10
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Phil,

You are being mischievous...you know full well that I am referencing Martin Gold's paper in Advances in Field Theory (Wheelan, Pepitone, Abt, 1990).

You write as if you or anyone else always know what they mean when they say something, or always say what they mean...I can already hear you telling me that you are being phenomenological...as if what is said (well, actually what is heard) is all there is. 

Seán

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 4:11:34 PM7/25/10
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Dan,

Of course there is "the" field when I identify it: right now, the field of me, my imagined readers and my actual readers...though the latter are doubtful because of the time delay...

I am caught in a dilemma: my curiosity is drawn towards to what extent Edith's empathy can be seen as a field phenomenon; and I need to bracket that if I am to get close to what Edith is saying.

Ah well.

Seán

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 5:52:30 PM7/25/10
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Dear Seán,
I am now whipping myself and dawning a coarse hair coat (in the midst of a hot Bermuda day).  I'm glad you said, "...write as if..."  As if is key.  I write my current stream of thought as directly as I can, owning it as mine. This has always been a problem.  In my experience of participating in a text-based environment, that often seems to people "as if" I am judging, controlling, condescending, demanding, or bullying.  I have been accused of all these and more.  So, please forgive me.  I did not mean to diminish others with what I know/believe.

With regard to Martin Gold's paper... you torture me.  My copy of Advances in Field Theory is in a storage locker in Wilmington, NC.  Ugh!  Thus, it's been at least six years since I've been able to refer to that book.  Double ugh plus gnashing of teeth.

And who is being mischievous?  I am sure I told you this before, and so you have to remind me of it?  Oy!  ; - )

Phil

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 5:55:41 PM7/25/10
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Yes.  

On Jul 25, 2010, at 4:11 PM, Sean Gaffney wrote:

I am caught in a dilemma: my curiosity is drawn towards to what extent Edith's empathy can be seen as a field phenomenon; and I need to bracket that if I am to get close to what Edith is saying.

Staying with Edith, then, and referring back to the intuition, I believe Edith says that empathy is primordial and given in the here and now.  This is what I was trying to say in responding to Sylvia previously.  Empathy is given, while the perception of another's pain is perceived.  

Phil

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 5:08:26 PM7/25/10
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Phil,

Well...yes and no: I am aware that you have not responded to the quote you have reproduced, and that your final sentence is imprecise for me - and I know you to be a precise user of language...so"perception" is what here?

Seán

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 6:08:29 PM7/25/10
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Dan, Seán and others,
While reading more of Luft's article on the phen. reduction, I see he says something important to gestalt therapists.  He says that the horizon constitutes a situation and that interest delimits the horizon.  The way he speaks is very similar to what gestalt therapists have long held: that interest organizes the field. What I find important with regard to the natural attitude is in this section by Luft:

In the natural
attitude, however, we can never see this object in its purity, for this
would involve stripping the world of its interest. Yet, due to its intentional
character, life always implements a certain interest. There is no
unintentional life, and intentionality always strives toward fulfillment.11
The world has thus a “face of interest” that it always shows us in
one way or another. Since it is essentially a world of interests, one
can give another notion to characterize the world: If the execution of
life occurs in a multitude of situations, then life becomes the situation
of all situations, or the horizon of all horizons.12 How is one to understand
a “horizon of all horizons”? Husserl conceives of the life-world
as the totality of life in its multitudinous facets. The life-world is the
field in which life in general carries itself out in its everydayness.
Whether Husserl calls this phenomenon life-world or “natural worldlife,”
he alternately emphasizes either the noematic (the world) or the
noetic (the subjective, living) aspect. The noetic-noematic structure designates
the correlational a priori in its universal form.13 It signifies the
essential relatedness of world and conscious life. The correlate to the
life-world is that mode of living in which this life-world is the horizon
for any kind of action: the “natural attitude.”14

In gestalt therapy we do not strip interest.  We follow the interest of the client guided by our own interest IN the client.  This is a contactful, relational dynamic.  Do you see what I mean?  This raw interest is one thing that keeps us anchored in the natural attitude.

Phil

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 25, 2010, 5:19:54 PM7/25/10
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Phil,

Allow me to take a risk in the context of our very conflictual relationship with each other - admittedly as I see it, though the fact that you don't is part of our conflict...

Anyway, Lewin actually said "The need organises the field". Now, "need" and "interest" are rather different concepts...

I would suggest that "need" is as relevant to organisation as "interest". Even if "need" is more me and "interest" is more you - that's who we are just now...

Seán

Dan Bloom

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Jul 25, 2010, 5:36:58 PM7/25/10
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I see what you mean.  
Lutz says a good deal more, though, and I think builds from this in different directions that are different from our approach.

I am intrigued by Husserl’s life-world, horizon, and notion of interests. 
There are different ways this can go. 

Dan

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 6:35:52 PM7/25/10
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Ah oh.  I fear we are losing one another.  I don't understand what you mean that I have not responded to the quote I have reproduced.  

Imprecise last sentence. I agree.  I'll try to do better.

I was working out of 2(a) Outer Perception and Empathy, with thought continuing in 2(b) Primordiality and Non-primordiality. "There is a close, yet very loose, parallel between empathic acts and the averted sides of what is seen, because in progressive perception I can always bring new sides of the thing to primordial givenness.  Each side can, in principle, assume this primordial givenness I select.  I can consider the expression of pain, more accurately, the change of face I empathically grasp as an expression of pain, from as many sides  as I desire.  Yet, in principle, I can never get an 'orientation' where the pain itself is primordially given." (p 6-7)

What I get from this is that empathy comes as a basic starting point that is not simply the perception of another's experience.  I can turn the face of my perception this way and that, but it does not add to the empathic givenness.  Rather, it seems to be that whatever facet of perception that I progressively expose to primordial experience/empathy, the perception takes on the primordial givenness rather than the other way around.  

Is that better?

Phil

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 6:47:36 PM7/25/10
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Dear Seán,
I am hurt and troubled that you lead with the history of our difficulties with one another.  Merely because I do not trot it out and give it a run every so often doesn't mean that I am not aware of it.  There have been times when I've wondered, "If I say this, will he go off on me?"  I don't want to live like that.  So, I move forward, Seán, living in the reality of the person I want to be relating to another person I want to know.  That's just it.  It's a minefield, but  I really love you, and you know that.  I wish you had lead with how longsuffering we have been with one another and the realization we reached one day that in spite of how aggravating we can experience one another that neither of us wants to exile the other from our lives.

In this case I was not trying to claim that Lewin said this or that.  I was referencing something I've heard many gestalt therapists say over the years.  Would you agree that interest is involved in the organization of the field?  If so, and in as much as, perhaps you might consider what Luft had to say?  Or not.  That's okay too.

Phil

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 6:55:12 PM7/25/10
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Hi,
I imagine. I'm only on page 6 of 37!!  There is so much to read an so little time.  

It's getting on toward time to make dinner.  I'm cooking for Linda and me tonight.  

We have embarked upon a study of the genre of mystery.  I have a desire to write one, and so I'm developing my main character, which is an interesting process.  We watch mysteries and then analyze them (so we'll watch one tonight).  I'm hoping to watch some over and over in order to really grasp HOW the author does it.  Yes.  And then I will write my mystery series and retire with my lovely wife to the Pacific Northwest, where we will have a cabin in the woods, wood burning stove, and I can cut and split wood, and we can walk on the beaches collecting agates and other things that wash up (hopefully not plastic garbage).  

Phil

Sean

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Jul 25, 2010, 6:38:18 PM7/25/10
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Phil,
I can go with our respectful truce - and I wanted our Steinian colleagues to know that you and I have a hisory. No more, no less.

I am also aski g you to 
 move forward. asking you here to consider that claiming that Lewin said something differs substantially from what "many gestalt therapists" have waid over many years.

Sent from my iPad

Philip Brownell

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Jul 25, 2010, 8:44:43 PM7/25/10
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Well sure it does. Gestalt therapists used to say,

"I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped."

Now we both cringe and laugh at that. So, moving on, I believe interest DOES help organize the field. You say need. I say interest.

"You say either and I say either, You say neither and I say neither
Either, either Neither, neither, Let's call the whole thing off.

You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto, Let's call the whole thing off

But oh, if we call the whole thing off Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart"

So, let's not call the whole thing off, okay?

Phil

CROC...@aol.com

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:36:08 AM7/26/10
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Dan,
 
What is missing throughout this discussion is the distinction between what Husserl was pursuing and what we as Gestalt therapists are pursuing.  Husserl was attempting to develop a method that would discover the intelligibles (pure essences) that inform the world of every person's experience.  Therefore, like Plato, Husserl was interested in discovering the structure of ideal forms that make knowledge of the world possible, i.e knowledge of being=intelligibility=knowledge of system of ideal essences that structure the world of experience.  Gestalt therapists, on the other hand, are interested in facilitating the unique individual client's revelation of how his living is organized and how, therefore, it influences his responses and behavior toward others.  Gestalt's endeavor is not only to understand but to aid the person in revealing who he uniquely is--not exactly like anyone else, sui generis--and in the process become open to changing how he lives.  Thematizing has to do with universals; Gestalt therapy has to do with unique individual persons.  It is a mistake to import into GT Husserl's goals, which do involve thematizing, since the goals of GT are exactly antithetical to Husserl's.  To put it another way, a given method of inquiry can be used in many different ways, and in pursuit of a great variety of goals.  Just because Husserl developed the method for the purposes that interested him does NOT imply that it must or can be used for only one goal, and that goal is Husserl's.  GT turns the method on its head, and it does not involve thematizing except as a way of generating tentative working hypotheses that must either be confirmed by further experience, or rejected or modified.  Thought is secondary to experience in GT; in Husserl experience is temporally first and the ultimate arbiter of truth, but truth for Husserl is rational and capable of being shared and discussed with others .  The truths that GT discovers cannot ultimately be talked about since they are unique to this-here-now person, and are not primarily shared with others.  All thematizing has to do with shared intelligibility.
 
Sylvia
 
In a message dated 7/25/2010 7:53:00 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, d...@djbloom.com writes:

Friends:

I’ve read an excellent article by Sebastian Luft, “Husserl’s Theory of the Phenomenological Reduction: Between Life-World and Cartesianism.” I think it is relevant to our understanding of Stein criticism of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology.
The following quote is also relevant to a recent exchange and supports the notion that there is inevitable thematizing of the subject within the p. method. 

"From its inception in the Logical Investigations, phenomenology endeavors
to analyze consciousness. The “positive” discipline for this is, naturally,
psychology. However, phenomenology as rigorous science aims
at moving from facts regarding the human consciousness to essences;
it is an eidetic science of consciousness, as essentially characterized by
the structure of intentionality. Yet, this intentionality is itself not a
homogenous and “uniform” framework but is structured by the structure
of cogito—cogitatum. Accounting for this “rich” structure calls for a
whole “psychology” on the basis of the phenomenological principles
(intentionality). Phenomenological psychology is this designated discipline
performed on the basis of an eidetic description of conscious
phenomena. Structuring this discipline has its own problems and
difficulties, which shall not be discussed here. Yet it is clear how it
would be necessary to systematically carry this out as a “universal”
analysis. Husserl reflected intensely on how to perform this task in a
systematic fashion.41 In short, he proceeds from a positive science within
the whole of the human sciences. In this framework, psychology, as
science of consciousness conceived as a single ego would be followed
by the science of communal spirit42 in the framework of a phenomenology
of intersubjectivity. However, these considerations, according to Husserl,
thematize subjectivity as part of the world and hence remain bound
to the natural attitude.”




Since  subjectivity is 
unavoidably 
thematized in the p.method, in order to maintain an “ethical” stance, or in my terms, to enable the emerge of an ethos within which dialogical contacting is possible (with its implicit ethical relational ground), the therapist must know he/she is thematizing and know that the patient is doing the same. But this is not enough.
As we know, thematizing is not simply “projecting” that can easily since we cannot simply step out of the very framework that makes thematizing inevitable.  
How do we do this?
Can Stein’s empathy be a way?
Does this relate to  Same  - the Other?  How about alterity?

Should this go on the other list, too?

Dan




Dan
=

CROC...@aol.com

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:55:33 AM7/26/10
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Our reduction has to do with the issue or truth or falsehood.  We want to know how a given belief operates in how the client lives.  We do not take a strong position as to whether or not the story is an representation of what really happens/happened.  This is our analogy to Husserl's reduction of all questions concerning the existence of a world beyond experience.  We do not make the same assumption about the existence of the external world, taking instead basically a modified realist position; so we do not go with this reduction of Husserl's.  But, more importantly, this kind of reduction or bracketing is irrelevant to the therapeutic process and its goals.
 
Sylvia
 
In a message dated 7/25/2010 9:04:41 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, philbr...@logic.bm writes:
Yes to the other list (I am making it a copyholder).

I have been wondering if Frank Staemmler included Edith's work (The Problem of Empathy) in the research for his book.  Anybody know?

Dan, I don't know if the client is also thematizing. The client might well remain naive, in the natural attitude, merely responding to what is going on.  As you know, I'm not sure that what gestalt therapists actually do could rightly be called a phenomenological reduction, anyway.  I think it is in the form of such a thing, but actually remains so tied to the lifeworld, to the givenness of the contact between therapist and client, that it is an incompetent bracketing that takes place.  Further, as you have also remarked, do we not make USE of our countertransference rather than simply chuck it by the wayside.  So, I think this is all more complex, not a simple matter, but one that we should be re-thinking.  

We are a phenomenological approach, because we follow the phenomenality of both therapist and client and because we are informed by the work of phenomenological philosophers.  However, I don't even think we, as therapists, were what Husserl and others were thinking about when they would use the term "psychology" in their philosophizing.  Rather, I think they were purposefully contrasting themselves with scientific psychology, what we might today call "experimental psychology."  Back then psychology wanted the respectability of science, and the first "labs" were set up.  That is not what psychotherapy is.  So, I really believe we need to examine with a critical eye everything we've taken for granted with reference to a "phenomenological method" in gestalt therapy.

Phil

CROC...@aol.com

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:56:39 AM7/26/10
to edith-stein...@googlegroups.com, GSTA...@listserv.icors.org

CROC...@aol.com

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:58:45 AM7/26/10
to edith-stein...@googlegroups.com, GSTA...@listserv.icors.org
In a message dated 7/26/2010 12:55:33 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, CROC...@aol.com writes:
Our reduction has to do with the issue or truth or falsehood.  We want to know how a given belief operates in how the client lives.  We do not take a strong position as to whether or not the story is an representation of what really happens/happened.  This is our analogy to Husserl's reduction of all questions concerning the existence of a world beyond experience.  We do not make the same assumption about the existence of the external world, taking instead basically a modified realist position; so we do not go with this reduction of Husserl's.  But, more importantly, this kind of reduction or bracketing is irrelevant to the therapeutic process and its goals.
 
Sylvia
 

Philip Brownell

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Jul 26, 2010, 6:20:16 AM7/26/10
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Dear Sylvia,
This is the first time I have understood you to say (and mean) that we do not take Husserl's reduction. That is a simple and straightforward statement.  Thus, when you say we turn it on its head, and I say that we follow a "form" of his reduction, perhaps we are closer than you might think to being on the same page.

Phil

LGB

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Jul 26, 2010, 7:10:19 AM7/26/10
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Can u move this to rea...@juno.com......this amount of email will drive our digicel bill out of sight......TVs

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel


From: Philip Brownell <philbr...@logic.bm>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 06:20:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Husserl, Natural Attitude, P. Method, Psychology, and GT

Sean Gaffney

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Jul 26, 2010, 12:27:05 PM7/26/10
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Phil,

I agree - let's not. So maybe we could go back to reading Edith Stein, the original purpose of this Edith Stein Study Group.

I'm getting into Empathy. Very slowly, though also very surely. 

I will raise questions as I meet them - after all, we have Sarah and Haydn here to share their learning.

Back in my country house...peace, quiet and a sometimes unpredictable mobile connection...

Seán

Philip Brownell

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:00:09 PM7/26/10
to edith-stein...@googlegroups.com
Hi,
Agreed. I am also into Empathy.  As you say, slowly.  So, I will leave the other stuff behind now.  Whew.  Relief.
Phil

CROC...@aol.com

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Jul 29, 2010, 7:01:55 PM7/29/10
to edith-stein...@googlegroups.com, GSTA...@listserv.icors.org
Hi Phil,
 
I've been so busy lately with one thing and another that I've gotten behind in all of these conversations, except with a couple of messages back and forth with Dan.  I'll try to devote some time to getting caught up this weekend.
 
In my article on phenomenology in Husserl and in GT I made the point, I thought, very clearly that we turn Husserl's approach on its head, and that instead of putting aside issues of whether or not we are dealing with a world beyond us, we are interested in bracketing the issue of truth and falsehood as we listen to our clients' stories and receive their self-revelations.  But I guess the point has to be made again and again that Gestalt is not an ontological phenomenology but a clinical one.  I wonder if there are any Gestalt therapists that line up within the epistemological and ontological limitations that Husserl lays down.  I doubt it.  I think we pretty much stick with a relatively natural attitude, with the awareness that our perceptions of the world we share with others is one that we have access to but there is much more to it that we do not perceive, certainly not directly (e.g. radio waves, radiation from various kinds of things and substances, etc.).  I admire what I see as the basic elements of his method, but the content to which the method is applied is not riveted to either his ontology or his epistemology about the world of experience as he understood it.
 
Anyway, I think we are basically on the same page.  I think it's important to understand clinical phenomenology as a kind of hermeneutical approach, discovering what the meanings of a person's self-revelations are only by meeting and working with him/her in the here and now.
 
Sylvia
 
In a message dated 7/26/2010 3:22:33 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, philbr...@logic.bm writes:
Dear Sylvia,
This is the first time I have understood you to say (and mean) that we do not take Husserl's reduction. That is a simple and straightforward statement.  Thus, when you say we turn it on its head, and I say that we follow a "form" of his reduction, perhaps we are closer than you might think to being on the same page.

Phil

On Jul 26, 2010, at 2:55 AM, CROC...@aol.com wrote:

Our reduction has to do with the issue or truth or falsehood.  We want to know how a given belief operates in how the client lives.  We do not take a strong position as to whether or not the story is an representation of what really happens/happened.  This is our analogy to Husserl's reduction of all questions concerning the existence of a world beyond experience.  We do not make the same assumption about the existence of the external world, taking instead basically a modified realist position; so we do not go with this reduction of Husserl's.  But, more importantly, this kind of reduction or bracketing is irrelevant to the therapeutic process and its goals.
 
Sylvia
 
In a message dated 7/25/2010 9:04:41 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, philbr...@logic.bm writes:
Yes to the other list (I am making it a copyholder).

I have been wondering if Frank Staemmler included Edith's work (The Problem of Empathy) in the research for his book.  Anybody know?

Dan, I don't know if the client is also thematizing. The client might well remain naive, in the natural attitude, merely responding to what is going on.  As you know, I'm not sure that what gestalt therapists actually do could rightly be called a phenomenological reduction, anyway.  I think it is in the form of such a thing, but actually remains so tied to the lifeworld, to the givenness of the contact between therapist and client, that it is an incompetent bracketing that takes place.  Further, as you have also remarked, do we not make USE of our countertransference rather than simply chuck it by the wayside.  So, I think this is all more complex, not a simple matter, but one that we should be re-thinking.  

We are a phenomenological approach, because we follow the phenomenality of both therapist and client and because we are informed by the work of phenomenological philosophers.  However, I don't even think we, as therapists, were what Husserl and others were thinking about when they would use the term "psychology" in their philosophizing.  Rather, I think they were purposefully contrasting themselves with scientific psychology, what we might today call "experimental psychology."  Back then psychology wanted the respectability of science, and the first "labs" were set up.  That is not what psychotherapy is.  So, I really believe we need to examine with a critical eye everything we've taken for granted with reference to a "phenomenological method" in gestalt therapy.

Phil

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