Embracing the personal 

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CHAPTER3 NEW BEARINGS

The Paradox is Extended

Parallel to the TSR activity, another process was unfolding in the doctoral programme. As I contemplated the problem of the ‘be spontaneous’ paradox, so I Q> ·, was contemplating the requirements of the programme for ·the production of a thesis. I had never seen any real possibility of an intimate link between my clinical impasse and the requirements of academia for a substantial scholarly document, except via an explication of abstract, impersonal issues. I conceived of the thesis as a deeply researched and articulate theoretical consideration of a theoretical domain. Given the fact that moments of therapeutic inspiration were intriguing to me, I intended rather vaguely at the time to consider the issue of creativity· , in the psychotherapeutic context31 While this topic had a bearing on my clinical impasse, in that creativity seemed to represent the antithesis of ‘ stuckness, I was mentally and emotionally keeping the thesis and the clinical aspect of the programme separate.I could not conceive of the thesis as a document emerging from living process – and was unaware that in this frame of mind, I was inadvertently replicating the pattern at the very heart of my clinical impasse: I resort to distant,dry and intellectual conceptions when confronted with problems.I had accordingly been writing short proposals for a thesis, and was struggling to produce something which satisfied Gert He kept steering me away from the academic papers I would give him, enco~aging me to write something more personal. In three successive sessions over a month and a half, he had been disinterested in the things Ihad written, all of which were meant to be pedigreed academia. I began to get very frustrated with Gert In fact, I began to feel stuck! In not accepting my proposals, Gert was again guided by his intention to create a context in which I would not do ‘more of the same’, and therehy -perpetuate my impasse. He argued that an intellectual ~pproach would solve nothing, as it would represent a repetition of my typical’first-order’ response to problems.BetWeen Gert’ s urging to do something more personal in the thesis domain, and the ‘be spontaneous’ proposition in the clinical domain, the impasse of ll)Y personal professional problem began to pervade my entire relationship with the University.

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Embracing the Personal

Of force, I began to consider the possibility that enrichment in the face of my therapeutic quandary as well as an answer to my thesis question lay outside the domain that I would usually consider in a professional context. This thought made me very uneasy. One cannot conceptualise wha tone cannot conceptualise, to paraphrase someone or other. Eventually, with trepidation aplenty, I decided to take a risk – to submit something completely different. It was neither a thesis proposal nor a case report – if’,was· a statement of intent regarding personal themes which ,preoccupied me, and which I would never before have dreamed of speaking of so baldly in the academic setting. Submitting it was a spontaneous act from a seemingly untenable position, and the content of the submission concerned spontaneous, meaningful madness. I wrote it late one night, and faxed it to Gert the next day. (The event recounted.~ it is entirely true,having happened in 1987.) Here it is, slightly abridged:
Inspiration and Responsibility In the 1980’s I became intrigued by the work of the izangoma – African traditional healers. While some of their work appeared to be based on fairly’ common understa!Ldings of phenomena and treatment methods, much of the work of the isangoma is dependant on individual inspiration received from the shades, the guiding ancestor spirits. One night, late, I had been talking to an isangoma who was interpreting my dreams and was instructing me about herbs and so on, and was walking back to ·’my car through the deserted winter Hillbrow streets, as I was seized by the most compelling feeling that I should walk in a particular direction. It was an almost physical sensation of being pushed. I allowed myself to be drawn into the experience- I had the sense that I could ignore or resist the experience if I wished. I walked, stopped, turned, rambled – and ended up standing on a street corner near my car, increasingly puzzled. Nothing was happening, and nothing kept on happening, so much so that I became extremely rational and decided that the whole experience was nonsense, I was imagining things etc. – so
I decided to walk to may car and go home. As I approached the car I was again seized by the feeling very strongly, and turned suddenly to my left … to meet the direct gaze of a black man whom I had never seen before. It felt like a Moment of Truth, whatever that might be. I walked up to him feeling as if I were on a mission from the gods … »Do you know me? », I asked.

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ACKNOWLEDG~NIS 
TABLE OF FIGU »RFS 
ABSTRACf 
PROLOGUE 
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION 
Bac~ground 
The nature of this inquiry
The nature of the current document 
Rationality, context, and style 
Structure 
PART 1: IN SEARG-:IOF DEFINTI10N 
CHAPTER2 OLD MAPS 
A personal professional problem 
TSR analysis 
Assumption 1: An epistemology for diagnosis 
Assumption 2: An epistemology for 1herapeutic intervention 
Associated inferences: Critical peer review 
An intellectual’leitrnotiv’ 
The ‘be spontaneous’ paradox 
CHAPTER3 NEW B:EA.EINGS 
The Paradox is extended 
Embracing the personal 
A new d:ialogue 
Action rese~ch: An emergent methodological frame 
PART II: NEW TERRITORY, NO MAP 
CHAPTER4 TfiE PROBLEM OF SP()NTANEOUS SCIENC£ 
Spontaneity: contradictions and contraindications 
Responsible spontaneity and professional subjectivity 
Rifleman Motaung
flindrances and hints, fear and fascination 
CHAPTERS INTO TifE WORLD OF TiiE SIIA.MAN 
The magician 
The hollow bone 
Into soul country 
CHAPTER6 SEARGil:N »G FOR A GUIDE
Home, unfamiliar home 
A therapeutic drama in a parallel world 
Seeking refuge 
Magic and the mundane 
CHAPTER 7 TW »O WORLDS, ONE SELF 
Disjunction 
Containment 
Navigation in the shadowlands of intuition
One world, two modes of mapping 
PART ill: REFl.ECTIONS IN » THE 111RROR- MIND 
CHAPTERS ‘, SCIENCE AND THE SOUL 
Discovering the ‘science complex’ 
Beyond the science complex 
Narrative orthodoxy
From hypothesis and thesis to poiema and poiesis 
CHAPTER9 A THEORETICAL ENCOUN’TER
Context 
Text 
Subtext
CHAPTER 10 THERAPY- AN EVOCATION 
Introduction 
Initial therapeutic ISsues reVISlted 
Assumption 1: An epistemology for diagnosis 
Assumption 2: An epistemology for therapeutic intervention. 
Critical peer review 
Epilogue 
BiBLIOGRAPHY 

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