We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows
The structure of life can drive to distraction, one thing after another, one experience driving another. The action of Psyche Integration reverses the flow. It gives another time in which to regain contact with our ‘secret’ or at least own center of gravity, or common sense. An intentional construct of seven types of practice, it starts experience moving in another direction to the mechanical drive of daily life, to give a means of self-remembering.
The cycle is typically run for just over three days, though it can vary from a few hours to a whole week. It joins individual with group practice because it is essential to learn how to co-operate without conformity and see oneself more objectively in relation to others. It includes many standard types of practice known as meditation, movement, art and dialogue. There is very little theory or formal explanation and individuals chose to what extent they research the method.
Psyche Integration is run by Anthony Blake and Karen Stefano who have studied with pioneers in self-organized learning including group psychotherapy, fourth way, systems thinking and creativity. It is recommended that the learning is repeated at least twice a year, in order to establish an inner rhythm of the ‘counter-flow’.
People can enjoy or dislike different parts of the process but what matters is whether they can make the move into making any of it their own and learning how to transform it from within themselves. The test is in how the process may enter into life as a ‘ferment’. It is in the blending between the artifice of the intentional experiences and the spontaneous process of the person that understanding comes. Gurdjieff spoke of understanding as a combination of ‘experiences intentionally experienced’ and ‘true knowledge of past events’ and this has been our guide. One of the features of people (including ourselves) taking part in workshops we have observed over many years is that what actually happens is quickly forgotten. They have a vague memory of what they liked or disliked but little remembrance of what it meant. For this reason, we now ask people to write a report on their experience. This is a crude but essential task in opening to the making of meaning from experience. Making meaning is akin to digestion and requires corresponding ‘enzymes’ and ‘transport’.
We are just beginning to transform the PI method into a vehicle of understanding. People in the group came to some very deep realizations but they are liable to be fleeting and thence to disperse.
To refer to Gurdjieff again, we have to have a ‘burning question’ if we are to truly learn and no other person can give this to us. If we do not ask, we cannot receive. There is, therefore, a task before us that concerns bringing the whole of us into focus as a lens on reality. This ‘whole of ourselves’ is intimately connected with how an individual’s search for meaning can be amplified by a group.
Another key idea is that the individual comes into his own in the intervals between the sessions, or in the ‘disjunctions’ between the different modalities. The whole process is rather like the ‘Movements’ in which different parts of ourselves learn to move independently in a greater whole.
Some comments from UK event 2005
“We talked to re-discover that communication is possible. We put ourselves in a “laboratory” and experienced the experiments we did on ourselves. In other words we experiented.
“We underwent a practical course in de-constructing movements. We tore coloured tissue paper to shreds and glued it on cardboard (great fun with surprising and beautiful results). We became miners for meaning molecules and found them during an inspired walk (and what wonderful molecules they were, little jewels of pure being).
“We listened to music, which can be a challenging experience. Ghosts, dragons and a bottle of rum plus other colourful items emerged from our shared dreams, kept us spell bound for an hour.
“All these were experiences encountered on our way, much more passed unnoticed by the non concerned found only on his or her way. More was just there, possibly available to one or the other truly alerted and awake.”
PSYCHE INTEGRATION ARTICLE
The personality develops through education and social interaction. It thinks to itself and imagines that it is in control of life, but is intrinsically fragmented. In contrast, both spiritual and psychological investigators have said that there is a deeper self, hidden in the psyche, which can be a source of wholeness and hence of healing. A meaningful life is one in which the personality is 'saved' or redeemed by what lies within. This is what we mean by 'psyche integration'.
PSYCHE EDUCATION ARTICLE
Psyche Inetgration was originally called Psyche Education. This was how it was described.
term 'working group' is used to designate a group that performs an educational
task that is not strictly psychotherapeutic nor functional. It is not psychotherapeutic
in the sense that it is not to be considered in terms of therapist and clients.
It is not functional in the sense that the group does not aim at a defined result
or 'product'. A good overall description is that it provides several media of
experience through which people can learn to investigate and learn from their
own actions. This we call 'psyche education'.
of Studies: Anthony Blake
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