Sunday, April 2, 2023

What are common problems of couples in their 40s and 50s?

The usual things that couples in their 40s and 50s are facing are:

Midlife crisis:  Many people experience a midlife crisis in their 40s, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression. This can put a strain on relationships.

Empty nest syndrome: When children leave home, couples may experience a sense of loss and emptiness. This can lead to conflict and resentment.

Career changes: Many people make career changes in their 40s, which can add stress to relationships.

Health problems:  Health problems are more common in middle age, which can impact relationships.

People have a tendency to blame their partner or their relationship for their unhappiness rather than take responsibility for themselves. This stage of the marriage is what is sometimes called "the do your own thing stage of the marriage" because the individual needs to take responsibility for their own unhappiness and not expect other people to make them happy. They need to realize that they are not a victim but an agent in creating a life of satisfaction and fulfillment. 

Finding a way to do one's own thing and yet still stay connected takes patience, persistence, negotiation, assertiveness, and compassion which are qualities not always easy to develop without coaching and support.

Being able to give one's partner the space to do their own thing without jealousy and withdrawal takes a high degree of security, curiosity, and self sufficiency. It is what the people who apply Bowen theory call the "differentiation of self", DOS.

Finding an experienced mature therapist who can help the couple navigate this transformation in their relationship can be a challenge. The best way to find such a person is to ask friends who have seen counselors themselves.

Integral model of stages of psychosocial development video.



 Feel free to distribute and republish.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Integral stages of psychosocial growth.

Integral Philosophy, developed by Ken Wilber, outlines a model of human development that includes multiple stages of psychosocial growth. These stages are often referred to as "Integral Stages" and include:

  1. The Archaic Stage: This is the stage of early childhood, where the child's focus is primarily on survival and basic needs such as food, warmth, and safety.

  2. The Magic Stage: This stage is characterized by a child's growing imagination and the development of magical thinking. Children at this stage may believe in imaginary creatures and may have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

  3. The Mythic Stage: This stage is marked by the development of a sense of identity and an awareness of social norms and values. People at this stage may be strongly influenced by traditional cultural and religious beliefs.

  4. The Rational Stage: This stage is characterized by the development of critical thinking skills and a focus on logic and reason. People at this stage may value scientific inquiry and evidence-based decision making.

  5. The Pluralistic Stage: At this stage, individuals become more open to multiple perspectives and worldviews. They may be more tolerant of diversity and may place a greater emphasis on personal growth and self-expression.

  6. The Integral Stage: This stage represents the integration of all previous stages and the ability to see the world from multiple perspectives. People at this stage may be more empathetic and compassionate, and may seek to make a positive impact on the world.

It is important to note that these stages are not necessarily linear and that individuals may move back and forth between stages throughout their lives. Additionally, not everyone may reach the Integral Stage, as it represents a high level of psychosocial development that requires significant personal growth and introspection.

Most MAGA voters are at the Magic and Mythic stages of development.

Good enough

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

What is Narrative Therapy?

Narrative therapy is a form of therapy that assumes that people are separate from their problems and that they have the ability to change their stories. It is a non-blaming, non-pathological approach that aims to empower people to become the experts in their own lives.

The main ideas of narrative therapy are:

Problems are separate from people.

People have the ability to change their stories.

Narrative therapy is a non-blaming, non-pathological approach.

Narrative therapy aims to empower people to become the experts in their own lives. Narrative therapy is based on the idea that people's lives are made up of stories. These stories can be positive or negative, and they can shape how people see themselves and the world around them. Narrative therapy helps people to identify the stories that they are telling themselves and to explore whether they are helpful or unhelpful. It also helps people to develop new stories that are more positive and empowering.

Narrative therapy is a collaborative approach, and the therapist works with the client to co-create a new story. The therapist does not offer advice or solutions, but rather helps the client to explore their own resources and to find their own solutions.

Narrative therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It has also been shown to be helpful in improving relationships and increasing self-esteem.

The Narrative Therapy model as pioneered by Michael White and David Epston has been one of the maps I find helpful in serving people in psychotherapy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Lack of proximity is a barrier and obstacle to maintaining friendship.

Were friendships always so fragile? I suspect not. But we now live in an era of radical individual freedoms. All of us may begin at the same starting line as young adults, but as soon as the gun goes off, we’re all running in different directions; there’s little synchrony to our lives.

  “It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart,” by Jennifer Senior, Atlantic, March, 2022

The factor influencing friendships that has changed dramatically over the last 100 years has been geographical mobility. Carole King’s song, “So Far Away” plaintively expresses the problem when she sings, “People don’t stay in one place any more.”

People are no longer constrained by physical proximity and so they can go off from their geographical orbit and explore other places and relationships. Even in the same room people are exploring virtual spaces and relationships. These opportunities and capabilities require that people be much more intentional in their engagement and maintenance of friendships.

To what extent do people invest intentional effort into being a friend and maintaining the relationship especially when there are barriers and obstacles to its maintenance? Is the effort worth it? The research seems to indicate that it is for the improvement of mental health and spiritual growth.

Monday, March 27, 2023

We lose half our social network in 7 years.

In 2009, the Dutch sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst published an attention-grabber of a study that basically showed we replace half of our social network over the course of seven years, a reality we both do and don’t intuit.

  “It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart,” by Jennifer Senior, Atlantic, March, 2022

Studies repeatedly demonstrate that social connections are a key factor in mental health, and yet studies also show that loneliness is a major problem especially as people get older. Therefore, this is the first in a thread of articles on friendship that are tagged friendship.

In Jennifer Senior’s article in the Atlantic in March of 2022 just as the quarantine and social distancing required to mitigate the spread of the Covid virus were starting to diminish, she points to Gerald Mollenhorst’s study which showed that half of our social network is replaced over a seven year period. There are many factors that influence this dynamic such as geographical relocation, divorce, and death.

Another factor which is huge is changes in the family life cycle. Children are born, raised, and separate from their families of origin. The “empty nest” is not only about the loss of the child but the parents of their childrens’ friends. The time and energy spent in facilitating children's involvement in social activities is no longer required or desired and so the social fabric of the parent diminishes and loneliness and ennui set in.

In their 50s and 60s an intentional effort is often necessary to cultivate and maintain a new social network that has some purpose and meaning. The old social institutions such as church, and community organizations no longer serve this purpose in the digital age where more time and energy is spent in digital and virtual reality than in personal connection.

How has this dynamic manifested in your life or the lives of people you have observed?