Amplexus

A little light reading before bed. Abstracts with citations as the rest lies scattered on my desk. To thine own self be true, right? Empaths need more than just experiential learning to improve on themselves.

—–

Fredrickson, B.L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 300-319.

This article opens by noting that positive emotions do not fit existing models of emotions. Consequently, a new model is advanced to describe the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment, and love. This new model posits that these positive emotions serve to broaden an individual’s momentary thought-action repertoire, which in turn has the effect of building that individual’s physical, intellectual, and social resources. Empirical evidence to support this broaden-and-build model of positive emotions is reviewed, and implications for emotional regulation and health promotion are discussed.

Bruininks, B. & Malle, B. (2005). Distinguishing hope from optimism and related affective states. Motivation and Emotion, 29(4), 327-355.

Three studies examined the conceptual and psychological differences between hope and related mental states. In Study 1, participants provided definitions of hope as well as optimism, want, desire, wish, and the non anticipatory state of joy; in Study 2, participants wrote about a time when they had experienced each of these states. These definitions and stories were coded for a number of psychological features that were then used to distinguish the different states. Study 3 mapped the differences among the six mental states into a multidimensional conceptual space. Overall, hope is most closely related to wishing but distinct from it.
Most important, hope is distinct from optimism by being an emotion, representing more important but less likely outcomes, and by affording less personal control. The importance of combining a folk-conceptual perspective with a more traditional analysis of appraisal for understanding differences among psychological constructs is discussed.

Flaskas, C. (2007). Holding hope and hopelessness: Therapeutic engagements with the balance of hope. Journal of Family Therapy, 29, 186-202.

Hope and hopelessness are coexisting and powerful experiences in the human condition. The dynamics of hope and hopelessness within intimate relationships are complex, and individual and family experiences of hope and hopelessness are embedded within historical contexts and wider social processes. This article rests on a relational set of understandings about hope and hopelessness, and offers a dual exploration. It focuses first on the complexities of the patterns of hope and hopelessness within families, and then on the complexities of the therapist’s relationship to hope and hopelessness and the family’s experience. Orienting to the balance of hope in constellations of hope and hopelessness provides one compass point of therapeutic practice. Reflective practice enables the use of the therapist’s involvement in the therapeutic relationship, and helps the therapist to witness the coexistence of hope and hopelessness in a way that nurtures hope and emotionally holds both hope and hopelessness.

Strauss, K., Griffin, M.A., & Parker, S.K. (2012). Future work selves: How salient hoped-for identities motivate proactive career behaviours. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(3), 580-598.

The term future work self refers to an individual’s representation of himself or herself in the future that reflects his or her hopes and aspirations in relation to work. The clearer and more accessible this representation, the more salient the future work self. An initial study with 2 samples (N = 397; N = 103) showed that future work self salience was distinct from established career concepts and positively related to individuals’ proactive career behavior. A follow-up longitudinal analysis, Study 2 (N = 53), demonstrated that future work self salience had a lagged effect on proactive career behavior. In Study 3 (N = 233), we considered the role of elaboration, a further attribute of a future work self, and showed that elaboration motivated proactive career behavior only when future work self salience was also high. Together the studies suggest the power of future work selves as a motivational resource for proactive career behavior.

Swift J.K., & Derthick, A.O. (2013). Increasing hope by addressing clients’ outcome expectations, Psychotherapy, 50, 284-287.

Addressing clients’ outcome expectations is an important clinical process that can lead to a strong therapeutic alliance, more positive treatment outcomes, and decreased rates of premature termination from psychotherapy. Five interventions designed to foster appropriate outcome expectations are discussed, including presenting a convincing treatment rationale, increasing clients’ faith in their therapists, expressing faith in clients, providing outcome education, and comparing progress with expectations. Clinical examples and research support are provided for each.

Ealdwic Morning

I’ve been wanting to wake up early for some time to do a photography venture, while the streets are still empty and quiet with little interruptions.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 11.37.18

The sun slowly rises over the Hall. I took a seat by the edge of the fountain, and waited.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 11.40.10

I love the way the top spire cuts a shadow as the sun rises. It also pleasantly surprised me (though perhaps I should not be) that the Hall was built facing the sun in such a complimentary fashion.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 11.40.48

Finally, a full circular glow. Teeny tiny subtle cross in the sun. Uncompromising.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 12.27.31

Watching the shadows, cast by the trees in the Park about a block away.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 11.34.45

I switched over to a different lens to grab some more detail of the street I just came from. Early morning…the sun emerges but street lights haven’t yet turned off. It’s kind of cute, actually.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 11.33.20

The curve is almost too drastic–oops! Just comparing the two Moca Loco images from the previous one to this one.  Whatever the Fallen King entertains on his box, it must be some sort of popular hit. I never see him alone. He puts me to sleep, though.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 12.35.44

Wander and I still do paper correspondence a lot. In some cases we just have to–confidentiality of paper is a timeless thing, I guess. I wasn’t thinking of going to Darkside, but a particular address caught my eye.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 12.36.09

Who is P. Milligan, part time horrorist, and why haven’t I heard of him yet? His doorknocker looked real tempting to use. But it’s still way too early to be bothering the civvies.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 12.37.09

Somebody looks pretty comfortable in Darkside. I couldn’t sense any emotional presence in the area, and sure enough, the dweller of this space was already gone. So many books…makes me wonder who really lives here. There was a trace of -something- layered over the typical gnarly scent in the air…old wards, I guessed. I didn’t step inside.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 12.41.13

….they do have an interesting view, though.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 18.42.42

Finally, I thought I’d catch a certain birthday girl much, much later in the day after processing that last batch of photos, among other errands.

Hope and Secrets

What is this thing called hope? We ridicule those with too much of it and we hospitalize those with too little.

It is dependent on so many things, yet indisputably necessary to most. Those with it live longer, achieve more. Words can destroy it. Science has neglected it. A day without it is horrible. A day with an abundance of it guarantees little.

When I wake up in the morning, and begin another day in this confusing world, how can I bring it, and intentionally continue to bring it, into my life’s ongoings?

The 60s were big on caring
we all know Carl Rogers
even if you are under 25
and in the human services
you know Carl Rogers
father of core conditions
mentor of positive regard.
researchers with good intent
broke it down into little pieces
put numbers on it
developed scales for caring
and called it empathy
and Truax and Carkhuff
fought about who should get credit.
Today no one questions
caring builds hope.
I am a counselor
and I care.
I have seen the power of hope
multiplied by a gentle touch
a kind word
an unexpected smile.
Yet I know how hard it is to care
when the evidence is slim
or non-existent
that I make a difference.
The 70s were big on ‘esteem’
especially for kids
and groups.
You weren’t a real counselor
until you did groups
and gave up weekends
to learn groups
sitting in stiff chairs hearing about groups
from lecturers whose pedagogy
had not changed in 20 years
or sitting cross legged
chanting in circles
of a May morning
feeling karma with classmates
and getting aching hips
and eating brown rice as if it were
a new sacrament.
important work.
Today no one questions
hope and self esteem are intertwined.
the 80s were big on coping
big money for those who wrote ‘how to’ books
big on strategies
big on workbooks for everything from depression
to the joy of sex
big on surviving abuse
big on giving voice to woundedness
even if it meant
being big on naming self
as victim.
Important work
Today no one questions
More coping, more hoping.
I am a helper
And I teach coping.
I know the skills you need
To get on base in life
I sometimes fall prey
to solving problems
offering advice
developing programs
tracking progress
before I have noticed
if my clients have any hope
before they believe they have a future
before they have a vision life could be better
if they took their medication
if they lost their temper less often
if they managed their money more responsibly
if they attended class more regularly.
It is the 90s before Karl Menninger’s 1950
plea is heard
Sister Dufault as done
the seminal study
has planted the seeds
has coaxed the word hope into health care
Herth and Miller and Benzein awaken the world of nursing,
Snyder turns our attention to children,
Jevne gives hope a voice,
Lamar and David, retired but passionate
give hope a conference.
The goal and soul of hope creep into the literature.

Fotonica

I try to keep music at a simple cadence if I must be on the job.

Dreamfall

Therapy

I am having bad dreams. I am having bad dreams where I kill myself, over and over. I am having bad dreams where I throw myself off of the same tall buildings, lie into the same black pools, dig my nails and knives into the same arteries and organs. I am having bad dreams that I never belonged here, that every friendly extension is a well-trained facade or act of pity, that I can’t be around anyone or else I’ll feel them hurt me and I don’t want anyone to hurt me but me. I am having bad dreams that I can only curtail by staying alone, thoughts over thoughts bouncing and exposed like an endless hall of mirrors, I want to break the reflection and push their shards deep into my skin, I want to stay curled against the dark cold tile floor and flickering light, scent of a gasoline rainbow in the gutter, the black grows warmer, and warmer.

I’m scared but I don’t know who or how to tell, what it means to be scared, when I know my battles are hardly anything compared to yours, I am embarassed and ashamed, I repeat the same stanza, bar measure sotto voce ABAB until my eyes are numb, and the saline burns and flows into and with the black more and more. I think I remember what it was like to not be born yet. I saw black and white linoleum the likes of which match the cheap shit I used to live on, look down on my works, and despair for it is all in every entirety a waste of space and matter and absolutely no thermodynamic miracle. I see myself shadowboxing without an end letting all of my skin peel and sheathe itself off of me. I may be having bad dreams because my brain is tired of dreaming about itself, can’t fathom its identity, wants to fast-track its way back to simplicity by visualing this constant head banging on the wall, inflammation is a rewarding response.

I’m scared, really really scared, the dreams are so real and the idea of it makes more sense every moment. I don’t want to be alone, or maybe I do, maybe I deserve it, the thoughts grow hot and heavy and painful and to write it out causes not progress, perhaps validation, and I don’t know which path I’m walking on anymore.

MESSAGE METADATA: It remains uncertain that 6 months was enough time for Arbiter Halls to recover from her trauma. We have recommendations to continue her rehabilitation period in its previous steps or continue the therapy as is and introduce more stimuli for her to respond to. Return to previous capacities of agency are unlikely and a new set point of competency must be measured.

Constantine Cavafy

When you set sail for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
an angry Poseidon — do not fear.
You will never find such on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, and your spirit
and body are touched by a fine emotion.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
a savage Poseidon you will not encounter,
if you do not carry them within your spirit,
if your spirit does not place them before you.
Wish for the road to be long.
Many the summer mornings to be when
with what pleasure, what joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time.
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase the fine goods,
nacre and coral, amber and ebony,
and exquisite perfumes of all sorts,
the most delicate fragrances you can find.
To many Egyptian cities you must go,
to learn and learn from the cultivated.
Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your final destination.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better for it to last many years,
and when old to rest in the island,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to offer you wealth.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey.
Without her you would not have set out on the road.
Nothing more does she have to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Dali and Disney

In 1946, Salvador Dalí collaborated with Walt Disney animators on Destino, a surrealist animation that was storyboarded but scrapped due to budgetary concerns. Destino wouldn’t be finished until 2003, when Roy Disney resurrected the project.

Be here now, with me