Karen Adkins (2017)’s sweeping, insightful, and readable survey of gossip has several lessons for therapists. To apply these lessons, it is helpful to conceptualize the patient’s psychological problems as one of power. This is identity supremacy that alienates the nonconforming aspects of the self that express themselves in symptoms. This is what Jung meant when he said symptoms were mental guerrilla warfare. Exploring gossip as a source of “underground knowledge” is more like underground reporting than guerrilla warfare, and like gossip, its symptoms (as well as dreams, delusional thoughts, and newsy distractions) Applies to therapy that can carry information that is not. Approved information outlet.
It is also helpful to conceptualize the intersubjective space of therapy as one in which special non-social, non-professional relationships are created. Note, but do not attach to what is imagined. In this context, patient chatter is a source of information about the therapeutic relationship itself. This is because chatter, like all behaviors, must have some functional relationship with the environment in which it occurs.
make the invisible visible
Adkins (p. 297) writes: This is one of the most powerful effects of therapy, as one once famously said of theater, is the creation of space that makes the invisible visible. (My goal in therapy is usually to create the invisible dangerousand it takes much longer than overnight.) Gossip feeds unfiltered information through the power grid. , when censorship is rigorous (like our personal psychology), gossip becomes a rare and valuable source of raw data.
Adkins calls gossip a “historical constant.” This is part of what makes us human. Merely gossiping puts the patient in a less reputable, too human role, one in which he is one of intimacy and trust, a role the patient is unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with. When I call relational therapy a form of intimacy exposure, I mean gossiping and helping the unsuspecting patient learn that personal intimacy is not as dangerous as it was previously learned.
power of destruction
According to Adkins, gossip is also a destructive force. She does not cite the stigma theory per se, but discusses the undermining nature of gossip, which is the same thing. identity elements). Adkins emphasizes the dynamics of power and privilege in staying front-stage, but for therapeutic applications, gossip is like a camera in your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom.
As a somewhat benign example, according to gossip, according to Google, 87% of people eat food off the floor. Other areas that meet sanitary standards. You can fill in your own understated examples of the harm that can be done if the gossip originates in the bedroom or bathroom.
The role of the treating patient has evolved, according to stigma theory, to one that cannot be stigmatized and face-saving is never required. It is perhaps for this reason that providing absolute privacy, which Adkins discussed in all its complexities, and avoiding hints of the social dimension in the therapeutic relationship are the most fundamental requirements of effective relationship work. am. Patients have to gossip. Don’t be a therapist. The therapist should not even summon the specter of gossip. Otherwise, the patient will be masked like a politician gossiping with his columnist.
Adkins (p. 301) says: Speaking or writing does not guarantee an audience. ” In therapy, there is a lesson that listening to the patient is more important than what the patient believes. This is similar to the rhetoric of Phos and Griffin’s invitation. Speech is treated as a shared point of view, not as an attempt to persuade. The marginalized side of the individual psyche benefits from being welcomed to hear, not from being believed as accurate testimony. Therapy is about stories, not facts. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable, especially if the reported event occurred decades ago when the witness was a child.
Gossip is “built on intimacy, informality, and trust,” and fosters these traits in relationships as well. Even gossip and intimate relationships lower the bar for judging truth. Adkins (p. 94) writes: Conversations of trust and intimacy may not be particularly critical conversations. ”
In other words, it would be a mistake to treat a patient’s statement as journalism and know what really happened, whether it was a childhood or an argument at work, but treat it as literature and focus on its meaning. is fruitful. Humans are bad reporters and good poets. The conditions of treatment encourage gossip, and not particularly the understanding of the facts. Much like I recommend, the patient’s utterances should be interpreted through the lens of their function. Bad therapists believe (or don’t believe) what they hear. A good therapist explores and understands its meaning and purpose.