Thursday, January 06, 2011
Michael P. Sipiora explains Medard Boss's understanding of being in therapy.
In one of his last publications, "Recent Considerations in Daseinsanalysis," Boss discussed the significance of Heidegger's conception of Ereignis for psychology and an understanding of psychotherapy. Ereignis, the Event of Appropriation, is the coming together, the belonging together of being's presencing and human revealing. It is the ongoing happening of Dasein as the realm of the presencing of being. In Ereignis, being and human beings are mutually appropriated in that the "there" of Dasein's disclosive engagement is granted by the presencing of being, just as Dasein's disclosive engagement preserves the "there" of being among beings. In Medard Boss' words: "Ereignis is the invisible unity of the appeal of being and of Dasein's response to this appeal".

Lest we misconstrue Ereignis as a factual occurrence set in linear time, we need appreciate the character of Heidegger's formulation. Ereignis is a relational and dynamic understanding as opposed to a reified and static concept. It is an imaging of the origin of Dasein as continuously occurring, concurring with the advent of the world. It is not a primal origin, set once upon a time, but the perpetual happening of Dasein's being called into its existing, its being called upon to be. Being, as understood in Ereignis, is no-thing--not a thing whose presence Dasein is set upon revealing. Instead it is the dynamic coming-into-presence which sets forth any and all things as present before us, the coming-into-presence which prevails upon us to preserve what has been presented. Joseph Kockelmans observes that "[i]n each concrete case, the appropriating event binds together Being and beings; it weaves Being, man, things, and world together into an articulated and textured whole". The Event gives us not a metaphysics of presence, but a mystery whose unfolding is the heart of our worldly existing.

"Heidegger," writes Boss,
considered Ereignis his deepest insight and, when you think about it, you begin to see this relationship between Being and Da-sein not only makes psychotherapy possible in the first place, but also gives its most fundamental purpose, that is, for the therapist to respond to the appeal of the patient to be.
What calls for the analyst's response is the patient's own being called forth to be, her or his own being as called on by being. "The healing response," as Boss explains elsewhere, "of the analyst to the appealing address of the patient is to enable him to appropriate as his own the innate potentials which up until treatment had been hidden, disturbed, or distorted". The concern of the therapy is the patient's potentiality-for-being, which whether taken up explicitly or tacitly always remains at issue for them.
"...appropriate as his own the innate potentials..."

I heard that song before in humanistic psychology. As one who has participated in a lot of it, I do not object to its theory as much as I object to its practice; that is to say, one on one. In the absence of participating peers, the therapist is a god.

I got only so far as the reconsideration of therapy as "re-parenting." Whatever mythology (including Dasein analysis) allows a reasonably mature human being to engage with someone who has asked for help is OK with me. Learning that it is OK to talk about things your parents never permitted can be helpful.

I have yet to see any indication from Daseinanalysis explaining itself that it knows what it is doing.
The Psychological Turn has a certain appeal, if not....urgency but which flavor of Psych.? Behaviorism of all types has pretty much expired...hasn't it. Maybe we, that is humans tired of being surrounded by psychopaths, should try to dig up some of those old RD Laing things (rather superior IMHE to the parisian postmod. school. With Lacanians in charge ...might as well have Beria in charge.). And Civilization and its Discontents was not the worst social psych. primer in the world. The Being of trench warfare...or nuclear war.
Written while trying to decide what to do with my gas dryer that has just given up the ghost...

So far as I am aware, and I am a half dozen years away from my last talk-therapy, if it is a problem of communication, as in families, talk-therapy has something to offer. For common character disorders, the most likely approach will be medication.

My daughter has her masters in behavioral psychology and works now primarily with autistic kids. She had worked with high functioning retarded who had behavioral problems. It makes a real difference for autistic kids and is more just maintenance for retarded.

I am not aware of what claims Daseinanalysis makes. My only hearsay and fragmentary feedback is not very encouraging.
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For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

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