Split and intentional structure. A better understanding of the concept of dissociation.

Split and intentional structure

A better understanding of the concept of dissociation

Pierre Vermersch

(Publié en français dans Expliciter,2016, 110, p 34-42)

 

Summary
The main idea of this paper is to try to improve the understanding of the concept of “dissociated” and “dissociation”, concept that we have been using since recent years for all the technics of the explicitation interview, when we create and move new ego to seek changes of perspective and decenterings in order to acquire new information and to help in detailling further the explicitation of the lived action.

My goal is to show that every reflexive consciousness is based on the creation of new divisions, which are positively as new discriminations, new distinctions of a whole. The only divisions that destructively separate a whole are the material ones (when we cut a board, we have two boards), not the reflexive splits.

These splits can be understood by considering them as part of the fundamental structure of consciousness: the intentional structure, composed of three basic elements: 1 / an egoic pole which aims, 2 / an act implementing the target, 3 / the pole which is aimed. The rest of this presentation of the intentional structure is to show that it is not ready-made for adults, but has been built by steps in childhood. This aspect was studied by the brilliant work of Piaget, not as part of a psychology of the child, but as a genetic epistemology, which, I believe, has pursued a transcendental program aimed towards the conditions of the possibilities of knowledge. Once settled these points, it is possible to act the intentional structure, and in particular to show that not only we can constantly change of act and of specified object, which seems natural, but even so, we can vary upon the ego who aims. One of the challenges is to clarify the distinction between personal identity and multiplicity of egoic poles. The dissociation techniques vary the ego by splits which do not touch the personal identity. From there, I will illustrate the practical possibilities of these ideas with examples of technics which call for or create different ego.

 

1 / Reflexive split or split of the ego?
The idea of a split ego is frequently found among philosophers[1], associated for example with  memory. I remember me yesterday, and when I remember me, it seems legitimate to say that there are two “me”. Kant, however, points that this split does not imply that there are two distinct persons. But the confusion remains by using the word « me » that seems to raise immediately a unique and consistent identity, and consequentely, it seems very sensible to ask: how can I cut myself in two? How can there be two “me”? In fact,the answer is simple. Remembering is a double act, one right now is the act of remembering (me, now I remember) and one past, which is no more than a representation, that certainly concerns me since what I remember is precisely a moment I experienced yesterday. This representation of me is not me (but its theme is attached to me), the “me” represented in my evocation can not change what has been lived, he has no longer agentivity. It is nothing more than the image of me. There is no split of me! On the other hand, there is a fundamental split between the one who aims (me now) and what is aimed (my past experience), through a special act (evocation). Saying that there is a split means that each of these aspects should not be confused with the other, they can vary independently from one another. The split means above all a series of fundamental separations which affect the very possibility of reflexivity and thus of reflexive consciousness. Only that. Nothing more …

 

2 / The intentional structure of consciousness.
One of the major contributions of Brentano, taken up by Husserl, is to have clearly stated that the fundamental property of consciousness is to be intentional, that is to say that « all consciousness is consciousness of something. » Many philosophical refinements were made to this basic idea. It is not my purpose here to develop them. I would like to use intentionality as the basic framework for understanding the splitting phenomena produced by reflexivity, by becoming conscious.

In the basic expression about intentionality, what is highlighted is the target of a « something. » Husserl has added the distinction between act and content, or in his words: between noesis and noema. But for the scheme to function, we must add a third term, a « subject » or less precisely, an egoic pole (an ego, for short), that is to say an origin that is the start point of the aim, of the act.

So we have a three terms base pattern:

 

Ego / act, aim / aimed object, aimed content.

 

The word “ego” is usefull to set a blur in regard to the false precision of the word “me”, it is one of the two poles of the intentional structure, one side an origin: ego, source of initiative; at the other end, the pole which is the subject of interest. We can call it egoic pole in many ways, according to the interest that we have. For example, « subject », but it causes all sorts of ethical considerations attached to this word; a relatively neutral generic term is that of « ego » and in this text I’ll use it a lot for convenience; or, if we want to emphasize the dynamic dimension, it can be called « agent », which highlights the fundamental property of agency (as the cause); we can still call it « co-identity » or « sub-personality » or « parts of me, » if one wishes to emphasize the identity dimension of this division; sometimes it can be called « entity » to indicate that contrary to what one might think, this division is not necessarily personal, but can be experienced as an object, an animal, an element that nevertheless has a value and an agent role: it can be called « instance », to emphasize that this is a case among others. Here,  I consider that all these names are synonymous, and that they differ in what they want to focus and in the theoretical framework or the psychotherapeutic or spiritual practice that is historically attached to them.

We could supplement this scheme in three words by adding that any action is modulated by the attention (type of focus, breadth of attentional field, intensity), or that any target is supported by a motivation, beliefs, and of course that all this is part of a history, a culture, a context, a future …

But for this text, I limit myself to the database schema to three terms: ego / act / object.
It seems obvious that I can distinguish between the act and the content it covers[2]. For the same action (see, imagine, reason) the purposed aim may change. Conversely for the same target object (an apple, the apple concept, the memory of an apple, the image of an apple etc.) the act which aims at is different, vision, palpation, thinking, memory, vision of a picture etc. Pay attention to the fact that the term object is used in a generic sense  » what is the aimed object”, and not necessarely in the sense of a tangible object, I can aim this object using different acts. Simple.

What I add with the third term is the possibility of thinking that the egoic pole is itself also mobile, mutable, that the ego are multiple. For the same act, for the same object, the origin of the target can be very different depending on the characteristics of the ego that aims, according to his interests, to what he believes as his obligations, to the exercises he practiced and which built his schemas directory, and we shall see later, depending on his position, distance, posture in relation to what he aims. So within a unique personal identity there is a multiplicity of ego possible. I will return to it..

But to show the link between the theme of the split and the scheme of intentional structure, I first need to digress. Indeed, this pattern is that of an adult functioning, and functional divisions in it will be more apparent if one sees how they were formed gradually in childhood. And to do this, I will mobilize my favorite author: Piaget.

 

3 / From child to adult: genetic epistemology of Piaget seen as a transcendental program for the conditions of possibility of knowledge.
We always tend to consider Piaget as a psychologist of the child whereas he studied the child all his life in order to give the opportunity to show how the ability to know (epistemology) is built in stages by exercise of the child with his world (constructivist perspective).

In summary, if we take the two complementary books about baby, « The Origins of Intelligence in Children, » and  » The Child’s Construction of Reality”, we have first the setting evidence of the progressive distinction between the child and the world, that is to say the output of the egocentrism based on a lack of distinction between subject and object. It is a first fundamental split which allows the distinction ego / object. And in a complementary way, what is aimed is stabilized by the progressive construction of the schema of the object permanence. The permanence is the fact that -for example- when hiding an object in front of the child, at first he searches only to where it disappeared, then by step he gets to the point where he continues to seek it everywhere. This conduct shows that the object continues to exist for the child, even when it is hidden. There is no shortage of child psychologists who established equivalent facts of observation but the genius of Piaget is to make an interpretation which I would call transcendental, even if he does not use that vocabulary. I mean that he fits these into a theoretical posture that is not contained in the observed facts, but that makes them take on a new meaning, revealing how they are the conditions of possibility of knowledge. Without the split between the subject and the world, without the permanence of this world, there is no knowledge of the world. These findings come under a transcendental point of view.

Taking the next step, synthesized by the book « Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood » we see that a tremendous thing will allow all semiotisation developments: the establishment of the representation. The child is no longer dependent on the present reality he sees, but he can evoke it in its absence. It gradually becomes evident by deferred imitation (I reproduce a model in its absence, so I have a representation) or symbolic play. New split, the distinction becomes  possible, at last, between an object, a referent and its representative (image, miming, word), which opens the possibility of an ego which develops actions that underpin upon representation, such as language, imagination, abstract reasoning.

I will not develop the whole genesis of intelligence, but reading Piaget’s proposal emphasizes that the intentional structure of consciousness is based on a set of distinctions, which are all necessary internal divisions, built in stages.

4 / Effects reciprocity: any split has two poles!
What we need to see now is the effects reciprocity of the splitting upon both poles. Every consciousness is a consciousness of something, so we have an obvious separation which is the condition for getting the « something ». Ego can only grasp what it distinguishes, and because it is seceded from it.

But conversely, for a something to be grasped, you have an ego that has a skill, interest, knowledge to target it and to distinguish it. If we confuse the generic personal identity and the multiplicity of ego in charge, the question cannot arise, since we assume that it is always the same egoic pole, that there is only one , and thus is confused with personal identity. If, on the other hand, we assume that every time the question arises: what is the current ego? Then new opportunities are opening up: so every new distinction that happens is the product of a change, even a change of ego. In other words, yet, to distinguish new points of view, a new ego must happen (this is the sense of accessing to the « transcendental ego » mentioned by Husserl, it is necessary to open a transcendental aim, to become an ego who has transcendental interests, who performs acts aimed towards the field of the transcendental).

We tend to focus on the effect of the split in respect with the appearance, the emergence, the discrimination of a new content; but the opposite is true: by the fact that new content appears, the egoic pole changes, opens to a new becoming where even the transformation of the egoic pole is the condition of new seizures / discrimination.

This also opens up new possibilities, each ego who takes the initiative changes the interest in the subject and opens to new points that need to be taken into account. Each ego that can be activated, aroused, will allow, for the same object, to show new properties, otherwise indistinguishable. This is a point that I will take again later, starting from the techniques of egoic split.

All becoming of consciousness is a double-sided processing, based on the new split that occurs. For example, the act of reading a transcript of an explicitation interview where I was A, my past experiences of interviewed appears to me again by reading, as such it is a new object. But if I want to discriminate the new elements, for example to make a comment, I must at the same time become someone else, with new categories, new interests. This was illustrated by Sylvie Bonnelles in the previous issue of the review Expliciter. I propose here a new reading of the effects of the returns included in the model of semiosis that I developed (Vermersch 2012).

 

5 / Aim the ego: identity split, multiplication of the ego, double attention ?
Let’s take a step further. This idea of the split shows that among all targets I can take into account to get them in my consciousness, there is certainly the content, and of course I can also distinguish the act, but I can also relate to the egoic pole itself as currently it is manifesting, or as it is expressed in the past, or as I can imagine. So far, do I fall again on the split of the ego, the split of personal identity? On the psychopathology of multiple personalities? On a benign form of schizophrenia?

We have already seen that relating to the remembrance of me do not split the personality in two. But when, in the present, I have such an observer of myself who follows what is happening? Are we dealing with two personal identities, two-ego, a double attention?

The concept of personal identity is complex and no view currently rallies unanimity. Taking as a conceptual basis of identity the one in which I recognize myself from my autobiographical memory, this is a generally accepted definition (Klein, S. B. and S. Nichols, 2012)). Many authors add the idea that there is a sense of deeper identity which bases an intimate sense of « mineness » and is pre-reflective (see on this topic D. Zahavi and his entire bibliography). In the perspective I take, the awareness of different ego over time, creating new ego in real time, do not touch the personal identity, unless precisely when the subject does not recognize an ego as part of his personal identity, and there, actually we get into the pathology.

In present time, if I want to turn my attention to me going through this present time, I have to create / it must be created a new ego2 that can target this ego1 experiencing, and if not,  I’m just absorbed in my lived experience, that is to say mostly absorbed by the object of my attention, and my actions that take place and I do not mind upon « who in me »  lives it and how.

But this new ego 2 targeting ego 1 experiencing, behaving, has in fact become the ego experiencing and aiming ego 1. So there are several active ego, there is one that contains by its target the first that continues to pursue its interests. For ego2 operates its aim, it is necessary firstly that it knows to recognize its new object: the ego1 (again, this is progressive along childhood, see the mirror stage ), that it differs from it and that it takes it into account, that is to say, he has an interest in it. Be careful, when ego 2 is aiming the experience of ego 1, the whole intentional structure (S1) is there: ego / act / object, to aim ego1 specifically. It must be discriminated from the acts in which it is manifested, and from the objects it is interested in. We then have two egos and two concerns, one coming from ego2 which aims ego1 taking action, the other coming from ego1 bringing attention to the current action.

For example, I am observing how I react to what my patient tells. I pay attention to him (ego1), I listen, I observe him, and at the same time I (ego2) pay attention to how I (ego1) react to what he says.This is the basis of the recognition ot the counter-transference in the psychotherapeutic practice. In the psychotherapeutic listening, there is a training of a dual focus, so as not to lose sight of how the practioner is affected by what the other is saying, and to learn not to mix their affects with the telling of the other.

So we have two distinct sets of actions: first the acts of listening, observation mobilized by ego1 and secondly a simultaneous act of introspection operated by ego2.
This division is not based on a split of personal identity, but on the opportunity to pay attention to « ego1″ as an agent during the activity. I have, in fact, a split ; by the fact of aiming the ego being, I create a discrimination, therefore a separation, a distinction, but while it occurs, the ego2 is a new agent that contains two attentional targets. There are not two selves, there is an agent conducting and coordinating two attentional objects, one of them is an ego.

This idea of dual attention is very familiar when you consider the usual objects of attention: e.g. it is common to call while driving, or while viewing the computer screen, there are two simultaneous attentional targets. This is not very different when there is self-observation simultaneously in the conduct of an activity. In practice, it is only a question of compatibility between the two simultaneous acts. For example, it is relatively easy to listen while looking to something else which moves (phone while driving), it is not too difficult to introspect while paying attention to the outside world, but it is almost impossible to follow two visual targets simultaneously (typing a sms while driving!), at best we quickly alternate between the two.

We see that there is a whole conceptual space to explore with the special division that creates a new ego2 aiming to the one already in action (ego1). We can go much further on this theme, and some notorious practitioners, have paved the way before us and have trained us indirectly with trainers who themselves were nurtured from their learning; from then, we have developed considerably this training in recent years in the GREX.

 

6 / The proliferation of egoic poles.
Once we are at ease about the fact that the split applied on the seizure of the egoic pole is outside of pathology … then we can understand all the techniques based on the dissociation of the ego, this split be established or created. I will take up in turn: a) the recognition and identification of what is called generically « multiplicity of selves » in the psychotherapeutic techniques or spiritual vocation (this term is found everywhere, but then it would be more accurate to say the multiplicity of ego); b) secondly, not the observation, but the updating of ego not currently present, either by being already part of my ego, or by being created for the need of a particular purpose. But before I make a short historical summary.

 

a) The recognition of the multiplicity of ego.
Publications on the theme of « multiplicities of selves » are abundant and relatively trivial in literature and philosophy. Specifically, in the psychotherapeutic field, many authors have developed their own names and techniques. The main idea they follow is to identify, in problematic moments of life, which is the ego that expresses, wether called « sub-personality » (Stone) or parts or subparts, or me (parts of me, piece of me).

For example, in the psychotherapeutic technique coming fromVedanta (A. Desjardins, Vedanta and Unconscious), one aspect of the work out sessions is to identify moments when the answer to a banal situation is inadequate, disproportionate, as a sign of a manifestation of « another self » and to identify « who in me » at that time responds to the situation, that is to say who, other than me, with my age and my current experience, answers in such an inappropriate way (usually one or several ego from childhood). The goal is to become familiar with these other ego, learn to recognize them immediately whenever a response from me is not congruent with the situation, so as to recognize who, in me, is answering and doing so, to defuse the inappropriate response and return to the ego unaffected.
I could take many other examples with other techniques, but one way or another, they all aim regulation by taking into account other parts of me (other ego) that meet the present situation, in order to defuse their pathogenic influence. But remember that I am not seeking here to return to the logic of care strategies or personal development. I continue to go towards the practices of the explicitation.

All authors who have worked and developed this consideration of the multiplicity of selves keep simultaneously a theory on the existence of a central authority, more permanent, such as the « self » or the « conscious ego » and whose rehabilitation or free running are a therapeutic and / or a spiritual quest.

My interested in the prospect of using the explicitation is basically to attest that the idea of the multiplicity of selves (the ego) is a common idea, old, used by multiple sources, and when we are referring to it, we are not original. Our uniqueness is in how we implement this idea to serve our individual goals.

Technically, the important point is that recognition in one’s experience of this multiplicity is not so easy. Our main difficulty is that throughout our day, we move from one ego to another, without realizing it, absorbed as we are by focusing on the tasks at hand, or by the shows that captivate us. All the techniques that deal with the consideration of this multiplicity of ego, will create a condition of suspension, through the mediation of an outsider, thus by a social transmission. The condition is to suspend the course of the normal social engagement, that is to say, take a time dedicated to this new activity, so that conditions are being created to let coexist in the same time, different ego, who finally take notice of one another. In other words, for the current ego be able to aim, recognize, so become aware of other ego which, them, occur at other times. We must create the conditions of a subjective mirror, in which the subject discovers his several ego. Not that this possibility does not exist at all in real life, but it is rare, and often linked to problematic circumstances (why I reacted like that? But what possessed me to …?, and so on) that make me return to « who in me » has acted. All the techniques I am going to review are based on the realization of this condition, create a mirror, more or less complex, which will allow to recognize, manipulate or create other ego. All I will touch therefore is based on a strategy of intervention by a third party.

The historical thread would give the scoop to the technique of « the hot chair  » or the empty chair, developed by Perls with his Gestalt technique. That is to say, just ask someone to get up from his chair to sit on another, in order to have a different view of the person who has a problem and who was sitting on the first chair . This is an example of creating a new ego2 who can take for object of attention the first ego1 (the one on the first chair) and all the problems that go with it. He is the first therapist (to my knowledge) to introduce the real spatial movement as split technique that we will find routinely in the American NLP trainer R. Dilts under the concept of « psycho-geography », but it is also found in a less themed way by the Stones.

Then we have many other approaches which established identification procedures to the multiplicity of egos, their complex interrelationships and often conflicting. Implicit in these approaches is that they always aim supposedly preexisting egos, with a biographical root, as in the Schwartz’s internal family system, or the internal dialogue of the Stones. Some of these basic biographical approaches are immemorial because coming from spiritual traditions (see the Vedanta and the Unconscious presented by A. Desjardins for example, or the multiplicity of self by Uspensky).

Other recent approaches such as Transactional Analysis by Berne, or some NLP techniques, do not go for pre-existing ego, but set as a principle that some ego-types are universal and therefore exist in all the world and can be mobilized. This is the case of the famous triad « Parent, Child, Adult » in Transactional Analysis, or in NLP with projects management exercise appointed by Dilts, the model of Walt Disney, in which he proposes to carefully distinguish a dreamer, a critical, a realistic and give them a distinct place, being careful not to confuse them.

In the explicitation interview, trained as we were to all these techniques, we have chosen to use them not for solving personal problems nor for personal development, but as always, to improve the aid to the explicitation of past lived experience.

But you have not lost sight that each of these techniques rely on the creation of an egoïc split which leads either to the recognition of pre-existing separate ego in me, or to the creation of new ego to obtain new perspectives . All this is possible only by the reflective dissociation, that is to say by the splitting which allows to a ego2 to aim another one and to produce, in doing so, new information. These techniques can be used for very different purposes; for us, we seek to create the conditions for an aid in the explicitation of one’s experience. Taking time out of the cage of the apprenticeship which formed each of us (including me too), if we leave the concern of personal development, or that of the aid to the resolution of psychological problems, then we can reconstruct, re-engage the various resources which have often historically been created and driven by a psychotherapeutic setting[3] for simply use them to explicit the experience of a finalized action!

What resources do we have to create a split in the egoic pole? The efficiency of the spatial displacement, the creation of ego with special missions, creating ego with unusual skills, creating « surprise » ego just responding to an arousing intention. I’ll give some examples to illustrate these techniques which, for the GREX, have become familiar, and which are the topic of the training that I host in July, in level 2, in order to transpose these to the expliciation interview.

 

- Calling for existing skills: cross-fertilization, or the Bateson of Dilts
Typically we start from a defined spatial geography, firstly a site where the person is to talk about a problem she has (ego1), then the first split is by finding a second site (ego2) distinct, chosen by the person herself and that will be remembered (each site belongs to a different ego, to avoid amalgam or contamination, which would be against productive). This is a basic framework that we will often use and is really inspired by Dilts. On this second place, we propose to the person to take the time to contact within herself one area of her life where she is really skillful, whatsoever.

That is to say, a skill that has no relation to the problem raised. I have a relationship problem in my marriage. Ok. On what field are you particularly competent? The eel fishing. OK. (true story).
So the split is based: 1 / on a spatial dissociation, 2 / on updating an already existing ego in the subject but was not present and whose main characteristic is to be competent. Once installed this context, we ask the ego2 to consider the problem of ego1with its own filters, and to imagine a solution (and if it was a problem of eels fishing?). The procedure can be repeated, with the creation of a ego3, assigned to a new site, and having another undoubted competence. Finally it is possible to create a new exoposition for ego4, who steps back and assesses what ego2 and ego3 proposed to ego1, and perhaps also how ego1 can receive and use these proposals.

 

- Firmly Separate the points of views about a project: the Walt Disney of Dilts.
We’re back to the same layout, a site is chosen for ego1 so he connects this time with a project he wishes to undertake. But instead of making come these preexisting ego, we propose to assign a different place and to invest successively three different ego: the first place is that the dreamer (ego2) that can allow everything on imagination without limits; the second is the critical (ego3) who judges the interest, the possibility, the meaning of the dreamer’s proposals on the project; the third is that of realistic (ego4) that assesses the practical conditions, the means to gather for the project. The person is moved and questioned several times in the three positions, being careful to precisely observe the correspondence between the ego and these positions (no blurring, no contamination), and observing carefully the nonverbal, so as to identify that there is no contamination of one ego by another. The whole logic of the approach is to separate the ego from any confusion with ego1, but above all, to prevent (this is the most usual) the critic from intervening in the posture of the dreamer and thus does not kill the project before even it has been imagined. Again, it is possible at the end to add a new position, an ego5, which oversees the contributions of other ego and the reception that ego1 has caught of them.

Once again, we carefully mobilized spatial dissociation, a different place for each ego, and ego with specific functions, well differentiated. This way of working is based on the idea that everyone has in one’self some ego which can be mobilized around the features of the dreamer, the critical, the realistic. Even if these ego had never been clearly mobilized as such, separately, in the subject’s life. Writing it that way, in a summary form, it seems childishly simple, and it is. From the moment you realize the possibility of creating new egoic pole, it will be easy to mobilize in an appropriate way outside the scope of NLP. The point is, each time, to install new egoic splits adapted to different purposes. Let us still widen the possible.

 

- Split the egoic pole to call new skills: the Feldenkrais of Dilts.

From the same starting canvas: a spatial position to ego1 that talks about a problem, and a second position for ego2 who will diagnose the problem. What we add, that has a generic value which can be transposed, is that we suggests new skills for ego2, that is to say that here we will exclude any verbal apprehension of the problem of ego1, so that he can consider the problem just as shapes, colors, movement. This idea is strong, it is possible to suggest the setting of ego with special skills, unusual, and even unknown by the subject. The door is open to transfer to other skills and in the GREX we did not go without.

The difficulty with this skill perceiving only in terms of shapes, colors and movement, is that once the problem is diagnosed as well, we need still a verbal translation to provide meaning. In our language, once produced the N3, that is to say, the intellectual feeling that is the direct expression of the Potential in a more or less encrypted way, it needs to be developed in a language that delivers the meaning ( what does it mean if my problem looks like a red ball growing from the base? what does that teach me about my problem?). Naturally, here too, it will be possible to add one ego3 second position, giving another perspective, and at the end an ego4 exoposition who draws the lesson of what has been brought by ego2 and ego3.

 

- Split to let come other ego: other oneself, other people, other entities, jokers. The « hopscotch » of Dilts.

We can also work more widely with different egos. In the exercise of « hopscotch, » so named because spatially it uses the idea of ​​a grid to 9 boxes, we place ego1, who has to make a decision, at the center ( sit 5 if we take as reference the keyboard space of a digital computer with the 1 at the bottom). So place 8 signs the positive decision, which will mean by the end of work that ego1 will (solemnly) step to the front to reach the box 8, if that is his decision. If not, he decides not to decide and remain in 1. On the right you can -for example- involve ego to be as many parts of me, differentiated by age. Thus, at 3, there will be a younger ego2 (ego1 chooses the age), at 6 an ego3, my age, who will stand by ego1 to a position outside him and /or other skills, other bodily postures, and at 9 an ego4 of the future (to be determined by the subject : what age he chooses to see his decision from a more or less distant future). On the left, we will turn up in 1, 4, 7 some persons of references, from his family, for example, or people who were important in other living situations (teacher, mentor, real or learned from reading). And each time we take the time to see, to feel and express what they can say about the decision. Finally, at 2, there is the proposal to be surprised by a joker « ego8″ unexpected. The format of the grid may suggest that this is a good orthogonal square grid, but it is only a memory aid, it is possible for each box to choose its location (location, distance, height , body posture …) from the central immutable box. In the end, ego1chooses to take the plunge into 8 or not. Each time you can add a meta position, which evaluates the relationship between ego n, and ego1 or another. This exploration is very strong psychologically. But the point I want to emphasize with this example is the indefinite opening of ego that can be mobilized to give a new perspective, new information on the subject of main interest, would it simply be the thorough description of a past lived experience.

 

- In the explicitation interview
In fact, in practicing the explicitation interview, whenever there is a limitation, a blockage in the ability to expand a moment, it is possible without too much difficulty, to propose the setting of a new ego, what we call a « dissociated » at a new, real or imagined site.

This new ego, this « dissociated », will be assigned (we give him a particular purpose) in respect to the description of the experience. It can target either the past lived referenceV1 to describe new details, or take interest in the explicitation of what is currently lived (V2) to diagnose, advise ego1 trying to explicit. But we must see that this new ego can be chosen, determined with endless possibilities of variations: will I choose an universal ego (parent, teacher, child, critic, botcher, dreamer etc.) that will be invested to a particular role? Am I choosing a pre existing ego in my life who knows himself as particularly competent and who will watch this life experience from a new perspective? Will I choose to mobilize a person of real or imaginary reference? Do I choose a different myself but of a different age? Am I asking myself to let come any joker ego who will be particularly relevant and useful to describe the lived experience?

Once we have understood the mechanism of the splitting of the ego, the most difficult is to find the right words to guide the person in choosing a place, a posture, and access to another ego that will be a resource. The very fact of setting up a new ego is generally not a problem.
* * *

This reflection on the split as enrichment of the whole by increased discrimination, tries to clarify the coherence of our new practices in the explicitation interview. At the same time, basically, as part of the development of a psycho phenomenology, it aims to renew our conception of consciousness, to see it as organized by an infinitely cleavable intentional structure without loss in all its parts that make it up .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Times are changing, I’m going to give very few specific references, but they can be easily found on the net with keywords. For example if you type « Kant », « split of the ego, » you will find the passage, quotation, reference, and so on for everything you find interesting to deepen …

[2] At the same time, remember that this distinction act / content was not so easy to take in when it was introduced in the GREX, with phenomenology! Make the split between the two applications to separate precisely what is given (the aimed object) from the aimed act,  while two are always amalgamated.

 

[3]  Yet, I have often explained my position : many discoveries on subjectivity come from practitioners, especially practitioners of psychotherapy that had most freedom to create new techniques. No risk to find such advances in research! But once these techniques settled and taught, it is not obliged to restrict the framework for the care to the person, in a psychotherapeutic or spiritual sense. We can also read all these innovations as many means to discover and describe better subjectivity in action, and nurture the development of psychophenomenology !!

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Split and intentional structure

A better understanding of the concept of dissociation

Pierre Vermersch

(Publié en français dans Expliciter,2016, 110, p 34-42)

 

Summary
The main idea of this paper is to try to improve the understanding of the concept of “dissociated” and “dissociation”, concept that we have been using since recent years for all the technics of the explicitation interview, when we create and move new ego to seek changes of perspective and decenterings in order to acquire new information and to help in detailling further the explicitation of the lived action.

My goal is to show that every reflexive consciousness is based on the creation of new divisions, which are positively as new discriminations, new distinctions of a whole. The only divisions that destructively separate a whole are the material ones (when we cut a board, we have two boards), not the reflexive splits.

These splits can be understood by considering them as part of the fundamental structure of consciousness: the intentional structure, composed of three basic elements: 1 / an egoic pole which aims, 2 / an act implementing the target, 3 / the pole which is aimed. The rest of this presentation of the intentional structure is to show that it is not ready-made for adults, but has been built by steps in childhood. This aspect was studied by the brilliant work of Piaget, not as part of a psychology of the child, but as a genetic epistemology, which, I believe, has pursued a transcendental program aimed towards the conditions of the possibilities of knowledge. Once settled these points, it is possible to act the intentional structure, and in particular to show that not only we can constantly change of act and of specified object, which seems natural, but even so, we can vary upon the ego who aims. One of the challenges is to clarify the distinction between personal identity and multiplicity of egoic poles. The dissociation techniques vary the ego by splits which do not touch the personal identity. From there, I will illustrate the practical possibilities of these ideas with examples of technics which call for or create different ego.

 

1 / Reflexive split or split of the ego?
The idea of a split ego is frequently found among philosophers[1], associated for example with  memory. I remember me yesterday, and when I remember me, it seems legitimate to say that there are two “me”. Kant, however, points that this split does not imply that there are two distinct persons. But the confusion remains by using the word « me » that seems to raise immediately a unique and consistent identity, and consequentely, it seems very sensible to ask: how can I cut myself in two? How can there be two “me”? In fact,the answer is simple. Remembering is a double act, one right now is the act of remembering (me, now I remember) and one past, which is no more than a representation, that certainly concerns me since what I remember is precisely a moment I experienced yesterday. This representation of me is not me (but its theme is attached to me), the “me” represented in my evocation can not change what has been lived, he has no longer agentivity. It is nothing more than the image of me. There is no split of me! On the other hand, there is a fundamental split between the one who aims (me now) and what is aimed (my past experience), through a special act (evocation). Saying that there is a split means that each of these aspects should not be confused with the other, they can vary independently from one another. The split means above all a series of fundamental separations which affect the very possibility of reflexivity and thus of reflexive consciousness. Only that. Nothing more …

 

2 / The intentional structure of consciousness.
One of the major contributions of Brentano, taken up by Husserl, is to have clearly stated that the fundamental property of consciousness is to be intentional, that is to say that « all consciousness is consciousness of something. » Many philosophical refinements were made to this basic idea. It is not my purpose here to develop them. I would like to use intentionality as the basic framework for understanding the splitting phenomena produced by reflexivity, by becoming conscious.

In the basic expression about intentionality, what is highlighted is the target of a « something. » Husserl has added the distinction between act and content, or in his words: between noesis and noema. But for the scheme to function, we must add a third term, a « subject » or less precisely, an egoic pole (an ego, for short), that is to say an origin that is the start point of the aim, of the act.

So we have a three terms base pattern:

 

Ego / act, aim / aimed object, aimed content.

 

The word “ego” is usefull to set a blur in regard to the false precision of the word “me”, it is one of the two poles of the intentional structure, one side an origin: ego, source of initiative; at the other end, the pole which is the subject of interest. We can call it egoic pole in many ways, according to the interest that we have. For example, « subject », but it causes all sorts of ethical considerations attached to this word; a relatively neutral generic term is that of « ego » and in this text I’ll use it a lot for convenience; or, if we want to emphasize the dynamic dimension, it can be called « agent », which highlights the fundamental property of agency (as the cause); we can still call it « co-identity » or « sub-personality » or « parts of me, » if one wishes to emphasize the identity dimension of this division; sometimes it can be called « entity » to indicate that contrary to what one might think, this division is not necessarily personal, but can be experienced as an object, an animal, an element that nevertheless has a value and an agent role: it can be called « instance », to emphasize that this is a case among others. Here,  I consider that all these names are synonymous, and that they differ in what they want to focus and in the theoretical framework or the psychotherapeutic or spiritual practice that is historically attached to them.

We could supplement this scheme in three words by adding that any action is modulated by the attention (type of focus, breadth of attentional field, intensity), or that any target is supported by a motivation, beliefs, and of course that all this is part of a history, a culture, a context, a future …

But for this text, I limit myself to the database schema to three terms: ego / act / object.
It seems obvious that I can distinguish between the act and the content it covers[2]. For the same action (see, imagine, reason) the purposed aim may change. Conversely for the same target object (an apple, the apple concept, the memory of an apple, the image of an apple etc.) the act which aims at is different, vision, palpation, thinking, memory, vision of a picture etc. Pay attention to the fact that the term object is used in a generic sense  » what is the aimed object”, and not necessarely in the sense of a tangible object, I can aim this object using different acts. Simple.

What I add with the third term is the possibility of thinking that the egoic pole is itself also mobile, mutable, that the ego are multiple. For the same act, for the same object, the origin of the target can be very different depending on the characteristics of the ego that aims, according to his interests, to what he believes as his obligations, to the exercises he practiced and which built his schemas directory, and we shall see later, depending on his position, distance, posture in relation to what he aims. So within a unique personal identity there is a multiplicity of ego possible. I will return to it..

But to show the link between the theme of the split and the scheme of intentional structure, I first need to digress. Indeed, this pattern is that of an adult functioning, and functional divisions in it will be more apparent if one sees how they were formed gradually in childhood. And to do this, I will mobilize my favorite author: Piaget.

 

3 / From child to adult: genetic epistemology of Piaget seen as a transcendental program for the conditions of possibility of knowledge.
We always tend to consider Piaget as a psychologist of the child whereas he studied the child all his life in order to give the opportunity to show how the ability to know (epistemology) is built in stages by exercise of the child with his world (constructivist perspective).

In summary, if we take the two complementary books about baby, « The Origins of Intelligence in Children, » and  » The Child’s Construction of Reality”, we have first the setting evidence of the progressive distinction between the child and the world, that is to say the output of the egocentrism based on a lack of distinction between subject and object. It is a first fundamental split which allows the distinction ego / object. And in a complementary way, what is aimed is stabilized by the progressive construction of the schema of the object permanence. The permanence is the fact that -for example- when hiding an object in front of the child, at first he searches only to where it disappeared, then by step he gets to the point where he continues to seek it everywhere. This conduct shows that the object continues to exist for the child, even when it is hidden. There is no shortage of child psychologists who established equivalent facts of observation but the genius of Piaget is to make an interpretation which I would call transcendental, even if he does not use that vocabulary. I mean that he fits these into a theoretical posture that is not contained in the observed facts, but that makes them take on a new meaning, revealing how they are the conditions of possibility of knowledge. Without the split between the subject and the world, without the permanence of this world, there is no knowledge of the world. These findings come under a transcendental point of view.

Taking the next step, synthesized by the book « Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood » we see that a tremendous thing will allow all semiotisation developments: the establishment of the representation. The child is no longer dependent on the present reality he sees, but he can evoke it in its absence. It gradually becomes evident by deferred imitation (I reproduce a model in its absence, so I have a representation) or symbolic play. New split, the distinction becomes  possible, at last, between an object, a referent and its representative (image, miming, word), which opens the possibility of an ego which develops actions that underpin upon representation, such as language, imagination, abstract reasoning.

I will not develop the whole genesis of intelligence, but reading Piaget’s proposal emphasizes that the intentional structure of consciousness is based on a set of distinctions, which are all necessary internal divisions, built in stages.

4 / Effects reciprocity: any split has two poles!
What we need to see now is the effects reciprocity of the splitting upon both poles. Every consciousness is a consciousness of something, so we have an obvious separation which is the condition for getting the « something ». Ego can only grasp what it distinguishes, and because it is seceded from it.

But conversely, for a something to be grasped, you have an ego that has a skill, interest, knowledge to target it and to distinguish it. If we confuse the generic personal identity and the multiplicity of ego in charge, the question cannot arise, since we assume that it is always the same egoic pole, that there is only one , and thus is confused with personal identity. If, on the other hand, we assume that every time the question arises: what is the current ego? Then new opportunities are opening up: so every new distinction that happens is the product of a change, even a change of ego. In other words, yet, to distinguish new points of view, a new ego must happen (this is the sense of accessing to the « transcendental ego » mentioned by Husserl, it is necessary to open a transcendental aim, to become an ego who has transcendental interests, who performs acts aimed towards the field of the transcendental).

We tend to focus on the effect of the split in respect with the appearance, the emergence, the discrimination of a new content; but the opposite is true: by the fact that new content appears, the egoic pole changes, opens to a new becoming where even the transformation of the egoic pole is the condition of new seizures / discrimination.

This also opens up new possibilities, each ego who takes the initiative changes the interest in the subject and opens to new points that need to be taken into account. Each ego that can be activated, aroused, will allow, for the same object, to show new properties, otherwise indistinguishable. This is a point that I will take again later, starting from the techniques of egoic split.

All becoming of consciousness is a double-sided processing, based on the new split that occurs. For example, the act of reading a transcript of an explicitation interview where I was A, my past experiences of interviewed appears to me again by reading, as such it is a new object. But if I want to discriminate the new elements, for example to make a comment, I must at the same time become someone else, with new categories, new interests. This was illustrated by Sylvie Bonnelles in the previous issue of the review Expliciter. I propose here a new reading of the effects of the returns included in the model of semiosis that I developed (Vermersch 2012).

 

5 / Aim the ego: identity split, multiplication of the ego, double attention ?
Let’s take a step further. This idea of the split shows that among all targets I can take into account to get them in my consciousness, there is certainly the content, and of course I can also distinguish the act, but I can also relate to the egoic pole itself as currently it is manifesting, or as it is expressed in the past, or as I can imagine. So far, do I fall again on the split of the ego, the split of personal identity? On the psychopathology of multiple personalities? On a benign form of schizophrenia?

We have already seen that relating to the remembrance of me do not split the personality in two. But when, in the present, I have such an observer of myself who follows what is happening? Are we dealing with two personal identities, two-ego, a double attention?

The concept of personal identity is complex and no view currently rallies unanimity. Taking as a conceptual basis of identity the one in which I recognize myself from my autobiographical memory, this is a generally accepted definition (Klein, S. B. and S. Nichols, 2012)). Many authors add the idea that there is a sense of deeper identity which bases an intimate sense of « mineness » and is pre-reflective (see on this topic D. Zahavi and his entire bibliography). In the perspective I take, the awareness of different ego over time, creating new ego in real time, do not touch the personal identity, unless precisely when the subject does not recognize an ego as part of his personal identity, and there, actually we get into the pathology.

In present time, if I want to turn my attention to me going through this present time, I have to create / it must be created a new ego2 that can target this ego1 experiencing, and if not,  I’m just absorbed in my lived experience, that is to say mostly absorbed by the object of my attention, and my actions that take place and I do not mind upon « who in me »  lives it and how.

But this new ego 2 targeting ego 1 experiencing, behaving, has in fact become the ego experiencing and aiming ego 1. So there are several active ego, there is one that contains by its target the first that continues to pursue its interests. For ego2 operates its aim, it is necessary firstly that it knows to recognize its new object: the ego1 (again, this is progressive along childhood, see the mirror stage ), that it differs from it and that it takes it into account, that is to say, he has an interest in it. Be careful, when ego 2 is aiming the experience of ego 1, the whole intentional structure (S1) is there: ego / act / object, to aim ego1 specifically. It must be discriminated from the acts in which it is manifested, and from the objects it is interested in. We then have two egos and two concerns, one coming from ego2 which aims ego1 taking action, the other coming from ego1 bringing attention to the current action.

For example, I am observing how I react to what my patient tells. I pay attention to him (ego1), I listen, I observe him, and at the same time I (ego2) pay attention to how I (ego1) react to what he says.This is the basis of the recognition ot the counter-transference in the psychotherapeutic practice. In the psychotherapeutic listening, there is a training of a dual focus, so as not to lose sight of how the practioner is affected by what the other is saying, and to learn not to mix their affects with the telling of the other.

So we have two distinct sets of actions: first the acts of listening, observation mobilized by ego1 and secondly a simultaneous act of introspection operated by ego2.
This division is not based on a split of personal identity, but on the opportunity to pay attention to « ego1″ as an agent during the activity. I have, in fact, a split ; by the fact of aiming the ego being, I create a discrimination, therefore a separation, a distinction, but while it occurs, the ego2 is a new agent that contains two attentional targets. There are not two selves, there is an agent conducting and coordinating two attentional objects, one of them is an ego.

This idea of dual attention is very familiar when you consider the usual objects of attention: e.g. it is common to call while driving, or while viewing the computer screen, there are two simultaneous attentional targets. This is not very different when there is self-observation simultaneously in the conduct of an activity. In practice, it is only a question of compatibility between the two simultaneous acts. For example, it is relatively easy to listen while looking to something else which moves (phone while driving), it is not too difficult to introspect while paying attention to the outside world, but it is almost impossible to follow two visual targets simultaneously (typing a sms while driving!), at best we quickly alternate between the two.

We see that there is a whole conceptual space to explore with the special division that creates a new ego2 aiming to the one already in action (ego1). We can go much further on this theme, and some notorious practitioners, have paved the way before us and have trained us indirectly with trainers who themselves were nurtured from their learning; from then, we have developed considerably this training in recent years in the GREX.

 

6 / The proliferation of egoic poles.
Once we are at ease about the fact that the split applied on the seizure of the egoic pole is outside of pathology … then we can understand all the techniques based on the dissociation of the ego, this split be established or created. I will take up in turn: a) the recognition and identification of what is called generically « multiplicity of selves » in the psychotherapeutic techniques or spiritual vocation (this term is found everywhere, but then it would be more accurate to say the multiplicity of ego); b) secondly, not the observation, but the updating of ego not currently present, either by being already part of my ego, or by being created for the need of a particular purpose. But before I make a short historical summary.

 

a) The recognition of the multiplicity of ego.
Publications on the theme of « multiplicities of selves » are abundant and relatively trivial in literature and philosophy. Specifically, in the psychotherapeutic field, many authors have developed their own names and techniques. The main idea they follow is to identify, in problematic moments of life, which is the ego that expresses, wether called « sub-personality » (Stone) or parts or subparts, or me (parts of me, piece of me).

For example, in the psychotherapeutic technique coming fromVedanta (A. Desjardins, Vedanta and Unconscious), one aspect of the work out sessions is to identify moments when the answer to a banal situation is inadequate, disproportionate, as a sign of a manifestation of « another self » and to identify « who in me » at that time responds to the situation, that is to say who, other than me, with my age and my current experience, answers in such an inappropriate way (usually one or several ego from childhood). The goal is to become familiar with these other ego, learn to recognize them immediately whenever a response from me is not congruent with the situation, so as to recognize who, in me, is answering and doing so, to defuse the inappropriate response and return to the ego unaffected.
I could take many other examples with other techniques, but one way or another, they all aim regulation by taking into account other parts of me (other ego) that meet the present situation, in order to defuse their pathogenic influence. But remember that I am not seeking here to return to the logic of care strategies or personal development. I continue to go towards the practices of the explicitation.

All authors who have worked and developed this consideration of the multiplicity of selves keep simultaneously a theory on the existence of a central authority, more permanent, such as the « self » or the « conscious ego » and whose rehabilitation or free running are a therapeutic and / or a spiritual quest.

My interested in the prospect of using the explicitation is basically to attest that the idea of the multiplicity of selves (the ego) is a common idea, old, used by multiple sources, and when we are referring to it, we are not original. Our uniqueness is in how we implement this idea to serve our individual goals.

Technically, the important point is that recognition in one’s experience of this multiplicity is not so easy. Our main difficulty is that throughout our day, we move from one ego to another, without realizing it, absorbed as we are by focusing on the tasks at hand, or by the shows that captivate us. All the techniques that deal with the consideration of this multiplicity of ego, will create a condition of suspension, through the mediation of an outsider, thus by a social transmission. The condition is to suspend the course of the normal social engagement, that is to say, take a time dedicated to this new activity, so that conditions are being created to let coexist in the same time, different ego, who finally take notice of one another. In other words, for the current ego be able to aim, recognize, so become aware of other ego which, them, occur at other times. We must create the conditions of a subjective mirror, in which the subject discovers his several ego. Not that this possibility does not exist at all in real life, but it is rare, and often linked to problematic circumstances (why I reacted like that? But what possessed me to …?, and so on) that make me return to « who in me » has acted. All the techniques I am going to review are based on the realization of this condition, create a mirror, more or less complex, which will allow to recognize, manipulate or create other ego. All I will touch therefore is based on a strategy of intervention by a third party.

The historical thread would give the scoop to the technique of « the hot chair  » or the empty chair, developed by Perls with his Gestalt technique. That is to say, just ask someone to get up from his chair to sit on another, in order to have a different view of the person who has a problem and who was sitting on the first chair . This is an example of creating a new ego2 who can take for object of attention the first ego1 (the one on the first chair) and all the problems that go with it. He is the first therapist (to my knowledge) to introduce the real spatial movement as split technique that we will find routinely in the American NLP trainer R. Dilts under the concept of « psycho-geography », but it is also found in a less themed way by the Stones.

Then we have many other approaches which established identification procedures to the multiplicity of egos, their complex interrelationships and often conflicting. Implicit in these approaches is that they always aim supposedly preexisting egos, with a biographical root, as in the Schwartz’s internal family system, or the internal dialogue of the Stones. Some of these basic biographical approaches are immemorial because coming from spiritual traditions (see the Vedanta and the Unconscious presented by A. Desjardins for example, or the multiplicity of self by Uspensky).

Other recent approaches such as Transactional Analysis by Berne, or some NLP techniques, do not go for pre-existing ego, but set as a principle that some ego-types are universal and therefore exist in all the world and can be mobilized. This is the case of the famous triad « Parent, Child, Adult » in Transactional Analysis, or in NLP with projects management exercise appointed by Dilts, the model of Walt Disney, in which he proposes to carefully distinguish a dreamer, a critical, a realistic and give them a distinct place, being careful not to confuse them.

In the explicitation interview, trained as we were to all these techniques, we have chosen to use them not for solving personal problems nor for personal development, but as always, to improve the aid to the explicitation of past lived experience.

But you have not lost sight that each of these techniques rely on the creation of an egoïc split which leads either to the recognition of pre-existing separate ego in me, or to the creation of new ego to obtain new perspectives . All this is possible only by the reflective dissociation, that is to say by the splitting which allows to a ego2 to aim another one and to produce, in doing so, new information. These techniques can be used for very different purposes; for us, we seek to create the conditions for an aid in the explicitation of one’s experience. Taking time out of the cage of the apprenticeship which formed each of us (including me too), if we leave the concern of personal development, or that of the aid to the resolution of psychological problems, then we can reconstruct, re-engage the various resources which have often historically been created and driven by a psychotherapeutic setting[3] for simply use them to explicit the experience of a finalized action!

What resources do we have to create a split in the egoic pole? The efficiency of the spatial displacement, the creation of ego with special missions, creating ego with unusual skills, creating « surprise » ego just responding to an arousing intention. I’ll give some examples to illustrate these techniques which, for the GREX, have become familiar, and which are the topic of the training that I host in July, in level 2, in order to transpose these to the expliciation interview.

 

- Calling for existing skills: cross-fertilization, or the Bateson of Dilts
Typically we start from a defined spatial geography, firstly a site where the person is to talk about a problem she has (ego1), then the first split is by finding a second site (ego2) distinct, chosen by the person herself and that will be remembered (each site belongs to a different ego, to avoid amalgam or contamination, which would be against productive). This is a basic framework that we will often use and is really inspired by Dilts. On this second place, we propose to the person to take the time to contact within herself one area of her life where she is really skillful, whatsoever.

That is to say, a skill that has no relation to the problem raised. I have a relationship problem in my marriage. Ok. On what field are you particularly competent? The eel fishing. OK. (true story).
So the split is based: 1 / on a spatial dissociation, 2 / on updating an already existing ego in the subject but was not present and whose main characteristic is to be competent. Once installed this context, we ask the ego2 to consider the problem of ego1with its own filters, and to imagine a solution (and if it was a problem of eels fishing?). The procedure can be repeated, with the creation of a ego3, assigned to a new site, and having another undoubted competence. Finally it is possible to create a new exoposition for ego4, who steps back and assesses what ego2 and ego3 proposed to ego1, and perhaps also how ego1 can receive and use these proposals.

 

- Firmly Separate the points of views about a project: the Walt Disney of Dilts.
We’re back to the same layout, a site is chosen for ego1 so he connects this time with a project he wishes to undertake. But instead of making come these preexisting ego, we propose to assign a different place and to invest successively three different ego: the first place is that the dreamer (ego2) that can allow everything on imagination without limits; the second is the critical (ego3) who judges the interest, the possibility, the meaning of the dreamer’s proposals on the project; the third is that of realistic (ego4) that assesses the practical conditions, the means to gather for the project. The person is moved and questioned several times in the three positions, being careful to precisely observe the correspondence between the ego and these positions (no blurring, no contamination), and observing carefully the nonverbal, so as to identify that there is no contamination of one ego by another. The whole logic of the approach is to separate the ego from any confusion with ego1, but above all, to prevent (this is the most usual) the critic from intervening in the posture of the dreamer and thus does not kill the project before even it has been imagined. Again, it is possible at the end to add a new position, an ego5, which oversees the contributions of other ego and the reception that ego1 has caught of them.

Once again, we carefully mobilized spatial dissociation, a different place for each ego, and ego with specific functions, well differentiated. This way of working is based on the idea that everyone has in one’self some ego which can be mobilized around the features of the dreamer, the critical, the realistic. Even if these ego had never been clearly mobilized as such, separately, in the subject’s life. Writing it that way, in a summary form, it seems childishly simple, and it is. From the moment you realize the possibility of creating new egoic pole, it will be easy to mobilize in an appropriate way outside the scope of NLP. The point is, each time, to install new egoic splits adapted to different purposes. Let us still widen the possible.

 

- Split the egoic pole to call new skills: the Feldenkrais of Dilts.

From the same starting canvas: a spatial position to ego1 that talks about a problem, and a second position for ego2 who will diagnose the problem. What we add, that has a generic value which can be transposed, is that we suggests new skills for ego2, that is to say that here we will exclude any verbal apprehension of the problem of ego1, so that he can consider the problem just as shapes, colors, movement. This idea is strong, it is possible to suggest the setting of ego with special skills, unusual, and even unknown by the subject. The door is open to transfer to other skills and in the GREX we did not go without.

The difficulty with this skill perceiving only in terms of shapes, colors and movement, is that once the problem is diagnosed as well, we need still a verbal translation to provide meaning. In our language, once produced the N3, that is to say, the intellectual feeling that is the direct expression of the Potential in a more or less encrypted way, it needs to be developed in a language that delivers the meaning ( what does it mean if my problem looks like a red ball growing from the base? what does that teach me about my problem?). Naturally, here too, it will be possible to add one ego3 second position, giving another perspective, and at the end an ego4 exoposition who draws the lesson of what has been brought by ego2 and ego3.

 

- Split to let come other ego: other oneself, other people, other entities, jokers. The « hopscotch » of Dilts.

We can also work more widely with different egos. In the exercise of « hopscotch, » so named because spatially it uses the idea of ​​a grid to 9 boxes, we place ego1, who has to make a decision, at the center ( sit 5 if we take as reference the keyboard space of a digital computer with the 1 at the bottom). So place 8 signs the positive decision, which will mean by the end of work that ego1 will (solemnly) step to the front to reach the box 8, if that is his decision. If not, he decides not to decide and remain in 1. On the right you can -for example- involve ego to be as many parts of me, differentiated by age. Thus, at 3, there will be a younger ego2 (ego1 chooses the age), at 6 an ego3, my age, who will stand by ego1 to a position outside him and /or other skills, other bodily postures, and at 9 an ego4 of the future (to be determined by the subject : what age he chooses to see his decision from a more or less distant future). On the left, we will turn up in 1, 4, 7 some persons of references, from his family, for example, or people who were important in other living situations (teacher, mentor, real or learned from reading). And each time we take the time to see, to feel and express what they can say about the decision. Finally, at 2, there is the proposal to be surprised by a joker « ego8″ unexpected. The format of the grid may suggest that this is a good orthogonal square grid, but it is only a memory aid, it is possible for each box to choose its location (location, distance, height , body posture …) from the central immutable box. In the end, ego1chooses to take the plunge into 8 or not. Each time you can add a meta position, which evaluates the relationship between ego n, and ego1 or another. This exploration is very strong psychologically. But the point I want to emphasize with this example is the indefinite opening of ego that can be mobilized to give a new perspective, new information on the subject of main interest, would it simply be the thorough description of a past lived experience.

 

- In the explicitation interview
In fact, in practicing the explicitation interview, whenever there is a limitation, a blockage in the ability to expand a moment, it is possible without too much difficulty, to propose the setting of a new ego, what we call a « dissociated » at a new, real or imagined site.

This new ego, this « dissociated », will be assigned (we give him a particular purpose) in respect to the description of the experience. It can target either the past lived referenceV1 to describe new details, or take interest in the explicitation of what is currently lived (V2) to diagnose, advise ego1 trying to explicit. But we must see that this new ego can be chosen, determined with endless possibilities of variations: will I choose an universal ego (parent, teacher, child, critic, botcher, dreamer etc.) that will be invested to a particular role? Am I choosing a pre existing ego in my life who knows himself as particularly competent and who will watch this life experience from a new perspective? Will I choose to mobilize a person of real or imaginary reference? Do I choose a different myself but of a different age? Am I asking myself to let come any joker ego who will be particularly relevant and useful to describe the lived experience?

Once we have understood the mechanism of the splitting of the ego, the most difficult is to find the right words to guide the person in choosing a place, a posture, and access to another ego that will be a resource. The very fact of setting up a new ego is generally not a problem.
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This reflection on the split as enrichment of the whole by increased discrimination, tries to clarify the coherence of our new practices in the explicitation interview. At the same time, basically, as part of the development of a psycho phenomenology, it aims to renew our conception of consciousness, to see it as organized by an infinitely cleavable intentional structure without loss in all its parts that make it up .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Times are changing, I’m going to give very few specific references, but they can be easily found on the net with keywords. For example if you type « Kant », « split of the ego, » you will find the passage, quotation, reference, and so on for everything you find interesting to deepen …

[2] At the same time, remember that this distinction act / content was not so easy to take in when it was introduced in the GREX, with phenomenology! Make the split between the two applications to separate precisely what is given (the aimed object) from the aimed act,  while two are always amalgamated.

 

[3]  Yet, I have often explained my position : many discoveries on subjectivity come from practitioners, especially practitioners of psychotherapy that had most freedom to create new techniques. No risk to find such advances in research! But once these techniques settled and taught, it is not obliged to restrict the framework for the care to the person, in a psychotherapeutic or spiritual sense. We can also read all these innovations as many means to discover and describe better subjectivity in action, and nurture the development of psychophenomenology !!

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