HE.S.T.A.F.T.A. - Scientific Society of Mental Health Professionals

Issue 4 of “Systemic Thinking & Psychotherapy” could come under the general heading of “Co-evolution”. Αs the reader can ascertain, it is about co-evolution in human (including therapeutic) relationships, in theoretical approaches, in value systems.

_Hugh Jenkins _ delves in an important dimension of life and treatment, time, from a psychological as well as from a philosophical and anthropological point of view. He approaches the relativity and arbitrariness in the definition of the concept of time and its experience. He examines special kinds of time in rituals, where therapy is included. Balinese concepts about circular time, where one can observe the co-ordination of events within the cycle, are a challenge for Western temporal models. One could say that this is much more evident nowadays that time seems unstable and suspended, moving between shallow linearity and stormy whirls.

Sophocles through “Philoctetes” is nominated by  Katerina Theodoraki  to have been the first systemic therapist in history, as he unfolds a process of co-therapy, where “therapist” and “patient” alternate in their roles. It is a difficult and painful procedure which can lead to change only when hatred and deception are relinquished to yield their place to sincerity and trust.

_Jacques Pluymaekers _ refers to a contemporary totalitarian, institutional, and perhaps broader social reality; the lack of a space-of-belonging which leads people to depersonalisation. Having one’s own place (a bed, for instance) as a “refuge”, which could even afford an emotional shelter, is a minimal requirement for establishing one’s dignity as a human being.

_Kia Thanopoulou _ speaks of loss and mourning, an important issue for psychotherapy, exceptionally relevant today when loss has become an everyday experience. As the relation of Western Man with death is particularly frightening, it is surrounded by silence and denial; “death is the affair of others, not mine”. The process of grief entails experiencing and managing the pain that follows a loss. As we process the meaning of loss in our life and the pain that follows, we eventually learn to adjust to a world that has definitively changed due to bereavement.

_Dimitris Magriplis _ highlights the substantial number of young immigrants who need help and the severity of symptoms that have been documented in this population. The article focuses on how the varied issues with regard to immigration stressors, integration processes, value clashes, a sense of belonging to the community, and discrimination can be more effectively addressed through a culturally informed treatment.

_Eva Evagelopoulou _ and  _Maria Karantoni, _ searching for resonances between the analytic and systemic field, propose to systemic therapists to experience and utilize psychoanalytic ideas so that the interpersonal and intrapersonal levels can be intertwined. With clinical vignettes they show how epistemology on intra-psychic experience and ‘being in a relationship’ accommodate interpersonal interventions, quite often providing the necessary pathway to bring about change.

It is interesting that the same suggestion, though from the opposite direction, is made by Mary-Joan Gerson in her book “The embedded Self” presented by  _Dimitris Kokkalis. _ In an experiential, auto-referential way the writer explains the reasons why a psychoanalyst suggests to her colleagues to get acquainted with systemic thinking.

“I grew up in ... the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a neighbourhood in which...it was impossible for me to ignore the different cultures. …However, as compelling as psychoanalytic theory was for me, I retained an interest in working with and within natural systems… No matter how subjectively focused I became or how interested I was in symbolic process and interiority, I think I always maintained the wide-angle perspective along with a zoom lens psychoanalytic focus.”

We believe that such considerations touch, for similar or different reasons, the Greek readers, or the readers of the Greek authors’ articles of our electronic magazine.

The Editing Committee

Read the next article:

ARTICLE 2/ ISSUE 4, April 2014

Time and timing in therapy with reference to some philosophical and anthropological ideas

Hugh Jenkins, PhD. Former Chair UK Association for Family Therapy, 1982-5; Director, Institute of Family Therapy, London, 1987-96; awarded medal of the Hungarian Family Therapy Association, 1996
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