Tuesday, March 29, 2011

R. Michael Fisher - Healing in Ken Wilber's Integral Therapia (3 Parts)


Last month posted a three-part series calling Healing in Ken Wilber's Integral Therapia at his World's Fearlessness Teachings site. The series takes a look at how Wilber frames "healing" work as integral work, or more precisely, Wilber frames integral practice as healing work.

Fisher is riffing on the idea that Wilber's integral model - if practiced and not just used as an orienting model - requires that we do some form of healing work, and for Wilber that is often shadow work in some form or another.

I am posting the beginning of each installment to see what others might think of Fisher's ideas.

Healing in Ken Wilber's Integral Therapia (1)

[this is part 1 of a series of blogposts on this topic]

Healing the Kosmos a la Wilber

I thought it was time to articulate my take on Ken Wilber's integral philosophy, theory and psychology in terms of his integral therapia idea as "healing." You'll notice I have written extensively on this blogsite in the last few months about "therapia" (and holonic therapy) etc. What has been a shortfall of those explorations is a more sensitive writing about how Wilber frames "healing" work as integral work. In other words, if we are to be integral practitioners, however we may shape that--we are out to do healing work, at least that's one way to see Wilber's integral theory into practice. Of course, a lot of what you will read here, and in Wilber's tome is philosophical, to categorize it generally, although one could just as easily say Wilber's work is spiritual when it comes to defining a frame for "healing" of the Kosmos. However, just when you want to put Wilber's work into a 'box' and 'label'--it defies it, and leaks out again and again. That's my experience studying it for nearly 30 years now.

Visser (2003), a significant Wilber interpreter (1), suggested that Wilber's earliest phase of thinking and writing (late-70s and early 80s) was focused on his "spectrum model" of consciousness. In that phase, with his first two books (Spectrum of Consciousness and No Boundary) he emphasized the "practical and therapeutic," while his later works focused on the "more theoretical and metaphysical" (p. 76). True as this is in general, the later writing (and more co-writing) of Wilber at times after 2003 was quite practical, and his latest work post-metaphysical. Nonetheless, it ought to be clear that Wilber is not a clinician and/or practicing therapist or healer. However, as I've mentioned before, he is a "Kosmic Therapist" of sorts. Why? Because he takes on, in philosophical rigor, the woundness of the Kosmos (which includes cosmos as exterior realities and the cosmos as interior realities, within a holoarchy of domains of Being--the total sum of that embrace is what Wilber prefers to call Kosmos).
Read the rest.

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Healing in Ken Wilber's Integral Therapia (2)

[note: this is the 2nd part of an ongoing series, so readers are advised to read part 1, the previous blogpost first]

Introduction: Healing Work as Integral Work

Healing work as integral work (and visa versa) is not a common expression in the Integral Movement. It is not common in Wilber's discourses either, however, it is there and it underlies all of what integral philosophy, theory, and psychology is about. As I mentioned in the previous blog, therapy and education blur together for me, and this is more particularly so in the framework of an integral approach, which is an approach to a Kosmic, cultural, spiritual, political, and historical integral therapia (1).

To be clear, this series is part of a thinking-in-process of what it is to do healing work as integral work that includes, but transcends normal definitions of therapy with individuals. To be blunt, all of my explorations are pushing on a change in our entire notion of therapy--that's what an integral perspective ought to do. It also pushes us to revision what "healing" is and thus what "hurting" is. I recommend for the serious reader of such musings, to check out my prior blogposts on how I have begun framing what I call ontopsychocultural therapy (therapia) (2) and general notions of hurting and healing and my background in these areas (3). I have framed all of this within a basic set of premises about "mental health" using Wilber's definition (4). I have framed the hurting, woundedness and psychopathology as "all quadrant" (AQAL) as well. And lastly, I have framed my work with integral therapy as directly part of fearanalysis (5) in reference to my work in my new book. And all along I have suggested this work, as I read Wilber, is core to nonviolence work and my ongoing critique of NVC (6) and non-integral theories and practices of peace. Bottomline, I am looking for the best theory and practices for healthy (integral) development, and that includes "inside" and "outside" (inner arc, and outer arc) development, from selves, to nations, to ecosystems and you can stretch it to embrace whatever dimensions of realities you wish.
Read the rest.

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Healing in Ken Wilber's Integral Therapia (3)

[note: this is the 3rd and last part of this series; readers are recommended to check out the prior two blogposts of this series before reading this one]

Obscurity About Healing

I have done a lot of writing, researching and thinking for nearly 6 months on this topic and especially on identifying what healing might be from the view of integral consciousness and a notion of an integral therapia. My quick conclusion is that I've not found a lot of clarity or detail on what healing is and how it happens. That's paradoxical, as I have found out lots about healing from a transpersonal and integral perspective at the same time. Yet, there's still a sense of theory and philosophy dominating what I have gathered together. My most recent study again of Frances Vaughan's book The Inward Arc, has been the best source to get me to think out an Integral Healing Approach (IHA), that I will attempt to ferret out and write a manual on, teach practices with, and advance (perhaps) what an integral therapia is about.

In this blogpost, I'm not going to try to summarize all of what I have been learning or writing about in the past 6 months on this topic, even though I wish I could. It seems it will take a short book to do that at some point. I have a lot of puzzle pieces but that's about it. What I do know is that IHA is very exciting as one outcome of all this work, and I'll share a skeleton outline of that here later in the blogpost. You may recall in early blogposts of this series I said I wanted to focus on "Cultural" dimensions of hurting and healing, of a cultural integral therapia. True as that was, not much came from it. It seems a very difficult thing to get my head around. How would cultural healing, and holonic healing look? I don't really know. I can make guesses, and suggest cultural rituals and practices of various kinds are already in existence which are attempting to heal cultural trauma, for example. But I don't see any of those as "integral" per se. Now, that said, what I got from re-reading Vaughan's work, is that healing occurs across the spectrum of levels of consciousness and that would include the levels of groups or societies or cultures, I suppose. Maybe, I am just not seeing distinctions in cultural healing going on? What I do see is a lot of rhetoric about cultural healing, and healing the planet, etc. but damned if I see convincing evidence of a good methodology, a good integral critical theory, or systematic study of such healing on that macroscale. So, I'm left with the question: is healing going on, or is it just a lot of wishing that healing was going on? I hear and read a lot of big words. Rhetoric is cheap. It's a start. It's a diagnosis and call for a need. But as to whether real cultural or planetary healing is going on? Well... I'm doubtful.
Read the rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I most appreciate you reprinting and linking this work-in-progress, from my blogsite. In re-reading it, I wonder who is this dude blathering on? I don't know about you, but when I write something and no one takes it up with me to further the depth of learning, I end up forgetting much of what was so interesting in the moment of writing it out the first time. I move on, write more stuff. So, it's weird re-reading old stuff in the closet, that seems likes its from another time-space.

I'll definitely check back here now and then, to see if any discussion happens. Also feel free to comment directly on my blogsite. Cheers, RMF.