We are all interconnected. Every living organism is involved with each other. We are impoverished by every inconvenience. Every happy, creative act enriches us. The interconnection and dialogue between the sciences and the composition of the different fields of human activity is a central demand. Human beings, according to Bateson, will be able to survive if they develop an integrated understanding of the whole, which will express in themselves understanding as part of the whole, and act in this interconnected whole.
Efrosini Moureli, in her article “Steps For a Mind Ecology: Gregory Bateson’s double bond to schizophrenia and “normal” life”, presents key points from Gregory Bateson’s memorable book “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”, which is the culmination of the path of a thinker following epistemological principles arising from system theory and cybernetics. Bateson’s work is pervaded by the idea that humankind is part of a living world. This living world is the world of communication, organization and meaning. “The mind is inherent in the wider system: man and environment.” Bateson’s most famous work, double bind theory, describes a relationship condition in which the environment poses contradicting demands on a person. The recipient of the double message is in a state of weakness, because if he reacts in a certain way, he is lost and if he reacts in another, he is again lost. Bateson’s thought today concerns all those who have begun to perceive the present impasse as an after effect of modern scientific way of thinking.
Bateson points to language barriers. Language as a linear system cannot describe the complexity of life. The following articles by Alexandra Zavou and Marco Bianciardi analyze the complicated issues and limitations concerning language.
Alexandra Zavou, in her article “(Im)possible Translations: Challenging Therapeutic Authority Through Textual Practices,” approaches language as a means of producing meaning. She examines the power relations mediated through language both in translation from one language to another, and as translation at different levels of dialogue, such as social and human sciences, psychotherapy, and literature. The author highlights some of the challenges that both psychotherapists and researchers face, each from his own position, as mediators of the meanings and actions of other subjects.
Marco Bianciardi’s article “About Teaching Clinical Practice“, deals with something that seems impossible to convey in the teaching of clinical practice. Analyzing his point of view he refers to the second order concepts ““knowing to know” and “knowing not to know”. Concepts that, according to classical logic are opposites, in life can be considered successive, that is, as a matrix and source for each other. The “knowing to know” is precisely the reflection on the subjective ways that each one uses to assimilate a concept. Reflection on the cognitive process itself is inevitable within the therapeutic relationship.
The following articles by Vlassis Tomaras: “An Incurable Crisis in Greece: a Systemic Perspective” and Katia Charalabaki: ” Therapy and Crisis in Greece: A Different Approach”, are a dialogue between both holding different points of view on politics and psychotherapy, which confirms Bateson’s view that “information is the difference”.
Vlassis Tomaras sets the reflections of a systemic therapist for the wider social and national context. He points out the issue of the mourning that the country is experiencing and asks, “How much have we as a country mourned?” To answer, “We are experiencing an unresolved mourning.” The context of the crisis intrudes into psychotherapeutic sessions and the crisis affects the therapist. The values of the family are challenged, but the family is renegotiating separations, transitional stages, and the autonomy of the new generation. The crisis has resulted in loss of work, economic catastrophe, poverty, etc., which can be considered either to prejudge a subject’s future distress, or to mobilize his strengths and promote his resilience. The family psychotherapist will work well if he has in mind the crisis as a source of opportunities.
Katia Charalabaki, in her article, highlights the risk of incriminating the family by pointing out maladaptive motives of mourning as the core of family dysfunction and stresses that in the current crisis the role of the therapist is to help the family distinguish external adversities, so that they can bravely face the mourning for all that has been lost, get out of the trap of envy, distinguish the real enemy, recover self-respect and respect for each other, self-esteem and militancy.
Georgia Dimitraki Panagiotis Simos and Evangelos Karademas in their article “Adaptation to Type 2 Diabetes: Patients’ illness representation and the role of spouse” present their scientific study on the effects of diabetes mellitus and psychological factors on the outcome of the disease in two public hospitals in Heraklion. The article explores the effects of diabetes on mental health (depression, anxiety) and how beliefs about the disease affect the outcome. A strong belief in the existence of personal responsibility in the etiology of diabetes contributes to better control and course of the disease. Also, chronicity affects the well-being and functioning of the patient’s partner and affects the interaction of the couple. Thus, the involvement of the patient’s partners in the various psychosocial interventions has been proved very effective.
In the presentation of Nikos Marketos’s book “The Psychology of Fascism” by Katia Charalabaki, the question arises: How was it possible for ordinary people to be led to absolute evil? Can it happen again today? Attempting to answer this question, the author explores this in depth, taking as a starting point psychological thinking, but also looking ahead at the economy, politics, history and ethics. The present conditions lead man to self-centeredness, to withdrawal of genuine interest for the other, and to the loss of reflection. Katia Charalabaki says: “The current situation, unprecedented for us in Greece, has brought unprecedented images about social life and human relationships. We are all “someone else”, unknown to each other and to ourselves. And a huge body, as if coming out from the depths of an ocean, emerges and dives, screams and trembles, collapses and roars. It is a sea monster, which the decomposition of the social and institutional framework has blown up.”
The photographs of this issue are by Pericles Antoniou, from the missions of the Greek Caravan of Solidarity to the countries of former Yugoslavia during the war in the 1990s.
Have a good reading!
For the Editing Committee