Depression: Notes on Life

Currently reading various materials on depression and EA (existential analysis) approach is very life affirming.

Depression is defined as a blockage on the level of Second Fundamental Motivation, when it becomes impossible to see and experience the value of life, or fundamental value.

Life is then considered as an ability to build and keep relationship with “being here”.

Depression the can be viewed as complicated relationships with life.

Life is young, vigorous, connected with nature and body.

When we consider ‘life’, then it is dynamic and strong images, filled with desire. Depression on the other hand, when a person can not plug into life, enter into life, then he/she misses it, is not part of it.

What is life for me? How are we part of our own lives? How do we enter it?

Life – means to relate to what is. Life – as a force, connection to movement and change. Life brings us to relation.

The inner experience of life strengthens the attitude “I like to enter life and be in relation with it”. It makes it possible to understand a deeper level of “the value of life as it is”  – the fundamental value, how it is showing up in own biography and biographies of other people.

A few questions to consider:

“Do I like to live?”

“How I am here? How this relatedness impacts me?”

***

These are notes based on the article:

Existential Analysis of Depression. Origin, understanding and phenomenological approach to treatment by Alfried Längle.

Published in Moskowskij psichoterapewtitscheskij zhurnal 48, 1, 2006, 53-82

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Should you have complicated relationships with life and would like to strengthen your subjective “like to live” – get in touch – I have some availability currently.

Info on my approach.

    Happiness and relationships

    I’m currently preparing for the exam in my existential analysis educational program. It’s going to be on the 2nd Fundamental Motivation – Do I Like to Live? I’ve been publishing some notes from the material in my Instagram. Overall, the topics include – liking, dislike, coping reactions, turning towards, grieving, relationship (inner and outer), time, closeness, values, and emotions.

    Currently I’m looking into section on relationships – and in the material there was a reference to the Harvard Study of Adult Development. As a researcher myself, I got curious to read more about it and refresh my garden of memory on that particular study. There are always new angles to it, as it’s been running for over 80 years now. Amazing initiative!

    A very nice and concise summary can be found here: Good genes are nice, but joy is better in The Harvard Gazette, article by Liz Mineo.

    Some take away points from the study as pointed out by Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

    • “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.
    • “Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, and the loners often died earlier.”
    • “Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies; they protect our brains,”

    From George Vaillant (psychiatrist who led the study from 1972 until 2004):

    • “The key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.” – “The study showed that the role of genetics and long-lived ancestors proved less important to longevity than the level of satisfaction with relationships in midlife, now recognized as a good predictor of healthy aging.”

    Talk: Practising Existential Therapy by Ernesto Spinelli

    As part of the Continuing Professional Development I have joined the talk by Ernesto Spinelli “Practising Existential Therapy”. Overall it was very refreshing to be referred to the roots – therapia:

    “Therapy in its original meaning tries to express the idea of the attempt to stand beside the other”.

    E.Spinelli

    Some notes to myself:

    • “The client is somebody who both wants to change, and wants to remain the same… then the existential therapist needs to choose himself or herself themselves to both those positions to the client desire to be different, and the clients desire to remain the same, and treat them as having equal validity equal value”
    • “The client is always right. And the therapist has no way of knowing initially, what the client is expressing.”
    • To describe something is to change it.
    • “Every problem presented by the client is also an attempt at a solution”.
    • “Changing any part or any aspect of a person alters the whole person, and in ways that are entirely unpredictable”.

    A very important part of therapy – endings, was touched upon as well in the seminar. I feel like this topic is rarely addressed somehow.

    And the final note, an analogy between the therapist and Dr.Watson:

    “My sense of existential therapy is that it seems to remind us as therapists tried to be the best kind of Watson, that you can possibly try to be that Watson who really excites and invigorates and illuminates so that the wonderful detecting work that Holmes can do will be done.”

    Ernesto Spinelli

    Reading: The Undiscovered Self by Jung

    From the foreword by Sonu Shamdasani: this work “.. represented Jung’s attempt to fashion psychology as a means of averting and surviving apocalypse”.

    1. “.. an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon”

    Historically, it is chiefly in times of physical, political, economic and spiritual distress that men’s eyes turn with anxious hope to the future, and when anticipations, utopias and apocalyptic visions multiply. .. Today, as the end of the second millennium draws near, we are again living in an age filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction”.

    Jung, The Undiscovered Self, p. 1.

    Quite an opening. And we are somehow again in the same place in 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic, with climate change and other issues…

    p.3/ Mentioning “collective possession”, “collective irrationality” and “psychic infections” – discussing how the masses behave themselves in times of distress and how various ideas find fruitful soil as “the so-called normal person possess only a limited degree of self-knowledge”.

    Jung stresses the importance of self-knowledge so that in times of distress not to get ‘infected’ by the ‘collective irrationality’. As I read it – there is the need to dedicate time for such an activity, dedicate time for self-knowledge. To take the time to reflect, who am I? what am I doing? where am I going? is this right for me? is this important for me? does what I do reflect my life values? what are my life values? how do I spend my time? are those really valuable activities for me? are these the right people for me that I spend my time with? what are my wishes and desired? etc..

    p.4-5/ Discussing the scientific theories and statistical approach. Fantastic example with the pebbles. “The mean is quite valid, though it need not necessarily occur in reality… The exceptions at either extreme, though equally factual, do not appear in the final result at all, sine they cancel each other out”. Made me think about our cross-cultural project on validating the ZTPI, where we came to a similar dilemma – we had to ‘throw out’ items of the questionnaire that ‘were biased’ in order to make the instrument work across cultures, but at the same we were ‘throwing out’ all the interesting culture-specific information..

    The statistical method shows the facts in the light of the ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality. … the real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule, and that, in consequence, absolute reality has predominantly the character of irregularity.

    Jung, The Undiscovered Self, p.5

    There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon.

    Jung, The Undiscovered Self, p.5

    “Hence it is not the universal and the regular that characterize the individual, but rather the unique.”

    p.6/ On understanding: “If I want to understand an individual human being, I must lay aside all scientific knowledge of the average man and discard all theories in order to adopt a completely new and unprejudiced attitude. I can only approach the task of understanding with free and open mind..”

    p.7/ “Today, over the whole field of medicine, it is recognized that the task of the doctor consists in treating the sick person, not an abstract illness.” – such a humanistic view! And in reality it is so difficult to find such a doctor..

    Questioning the scientific methodology and applicability of statistical theories: “… The individual .. as an irrational datum, is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal or normal man to whom the scientific statements refer.” And author is quite upset that among the sciences only “modern physics recognizes that the observed is not independent of the observer” (p.8).

    p.8/ Talks about the further development of the “conceptual average”:

    • moral responsibility of the individual – replaced by the policy of the State
    • moral and mental differentiation of the individual – replaced by public welfare and raising of the living standard
    • goal and meaning of individual life – policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside

    The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses.

    Jung, The Undiscovered Self, p.8.

    p.9/ “.. a mass always produces a “Leader”, who almost infallibly becomes the victim of his own inflated ego-consciousness, as numerous examples in history show.”

    .. the individual becomes more and more a function of society, which in its turn usurps the function of the real life carrier, whereas, in actual fact, society is nothing more than an abstract idea like the State

    Jung, The Undiscovered Self, p.11

    The State .. is turned into a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected. In reality it is only a camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it.

    jung, the undiscovered self, p.11

    Overall, not something that I’d expect to read in a Jungian book, but super fascinating! Looking forward to the rest of it.

    Books in my life

    What Am I Working On Now – April 2020

    Time Talks

    A series of online Time Talks – open lectures and discussions by the researchers and practitioners on various aspects of the concept of time in psychology. Run by Time Perspective Network, Denmark and Creative Time Studio. All the upcoming zoominars are listed on the Facebook page and website. All are recorded and further available on the youtube channel.

    Teaching

    Psychology of Time – at DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Psychology of Endings– at DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Learning

    Logotherapy and existential-analytical psychotherapy with at The Viennese School of Existential Analysis, London, UK.

    Hindustani Classical Music and how to play on Bansuri flute.

    Researching

    Linking the time awareness, future thinking and sustainability across disciplines: Futurization of thinking and behavior. Time Perspective Network, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Planning a study to address different observations made during the COVID-19 pandemic and reactions to it.

    Cleaning up

    Creative Time Studio is undergoing a spring clean-up, both in terms of revising various objects that collected there, but also revising the projects and courses it offers. I have a few ideas I’m developing at the moment and I am also opening up for individual consultations. More info to follow soon.

    The 100 days project

    This time around I have decided to join the #the100dayproject with short sound clips from my flute practices. You can follow my progress on Instagram – I post a minute clip daily in my story.

    Joining the research project on global risks

    The short visit to Moscow, Russia this April has been very productive. I have given a talk at the Department of Psychology at Moscow State University on April 19th, 2019: “Psychology of Time: Before, After and In-Between”. I’ve shared my latest research results from the Futurization project, but also talked about the Balanced Time Perspective construct and related research.

    Additionally I have been invited to join the research project coordinated by Timofey Nestik:

    Dear Anna Sircova,
    On behalf of the Institute of psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, we are happy to invite you to become part of the research group of the project “Psychology of human beings in conditions of global risks”, that is supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation (project № 18-18-00439).

    I am really looking forward to contribute to this very important issue and project. Some of the first insights of which will be presented at the XVI European Congress of Psychology in Moscow, Russia this July during our symposium: Exploring various aspects of futurization.

    What I Am Working On Now: February 2019

    During February 2019 I am:

    Developing:

    Concept for the arts part of the Time Perspectives Network meeting in Vilnius 2020, more info to follow soon.

    Teaching:

    Psychology of Time – at DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Psychology of Endings– at DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Guest lecture “Time and Trauma” at the Psychology of Crisis course, DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Workshops:

    Where is My Time – at my Creative Time Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Dealing with Endings in a Creative Way – at my Creative Time Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    RESEARCHING:

    Linking the time awareness, future thinking and sustainability across disciplines: Futurization of thinking and behavior. Time Perspective Network, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Learning:

    About the Hindustani Classical Music and how to play on Bansuri flute.

    ***

    How do I manage all of the above and a few things that were left out? I love working with my version of the bullet journal and I also follow my own medicine regarding taking the creative breaks.

    I am available for giving workshops on how to deal with culture shock, using creativity as a resource or how to find your time. I would be thrilled to develop a tailored talk / workshop regarding time, creativity and your field of interest.

    Best ways to keep up with my progress and stay in touch with me:

    • subscribe to my newsletter with my recent discoveries and updates & invitations to my exhibitions / pop-up galleries openings, events I’m organizing / hosting, talks & workshops I’m giving, etc.
    • see my visual explorations on Instagram

    Find out more about me on my about page

    Page inspired by Austin Kleon and nownownow community

    Page was updated in June 2018.

    What I am Working on Now – June 2018

    During June 2018 I am:

    Preparing:

    Futurize Me performance for Berlin Soup International Festival of Arts – a multi-media project with live music and storytelling, based on the research results from Futurization project. In collaboration with Alex Choub, Bruno Rigobello and Laureline Demonet; Berlin, Germany, July 19 – 21, 2018

    Dream Guardians and Jah Time installation for the 4th International Conference and Festival on Time Perspective – a multi-media project aimed to create a special place within the space of the Conference, a space to take a moment for one-self, to slow down, unwind and stop for a moment, to take a break, to breathe, to let go of the speed, to listen to the music and to others. In collaboration with Fernanda Poblete. Nantes, France, August 27-30, 2018.

    WRITING:

    A book chapter on Futurization for the “Managing Screen Time in an Online Society” to be published by IGI Global edited by Lídia Oliveira. Linking the time awareness, future thinking and sustainability across disciplines: Futurization of thinking and behavior. Time Perspective Network, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Playing music:

    Every Sunday and some other random days of the week I join the Freetown Social Club, a charity jam orchestra. Come and see us or play with us!

    ***

    How do I manage all of the above and a few things that were left out? I love working with my version of the bullet journal and I also follow my own medicine regarding taking the creative breaks.

    I am available for giving workshops on how to deal with culture shock, using creativity as a resource or how to find your time. I would be thrilled to develop a tailored talk / workshop regarding time, creativity and your field of interest.

    Best ways to keep up with my progress and stay in touch with me:

    • subscribe to my newsletter with my recent discoveries and updates & invitations to my exhibitions / pop-up galleries openings, events I’m organizing / hosting, talks & workshops I’m giving, etc.
    • see my visual explorations on Instagram

    Find out more about me on my about page

    Page inspired by Austin Kleon and nownownow community

    Page was updated in June 2018.

    Indvielsen – Invitation to the exhibition opening – June 3 – Copenhagen

    It is my great pleasure to invite you to the opening of the exhibition of our project – Indvielsen | Initiation: The Danish Tribe

    June 3, 2016
    17:00 – 19:00, Artist talk at 17.30
    Politiken Boghal – Rådhuspladsen 37 , 1785 København K

    Indvielsen | Initiation - Exhibition opening June 3, 2016 at 17.00

    Indvielsen | Initiation – Exhibition opening June 3, 2016 at 17.00

    This is a multi-disciplinary art project that me and Laureline Demonet have been working on lately. It is a project where we combine social studies, fashion, textile craft and photography.

    Laureline explores the views of newcomers to Denmark on the Danish fashion and “Danishness” in general. She then creates a mask of what she has discovered through the interviews and later on I take photographs of the interviewees wearing their “Danish” mask.
    This work is an opportunity for the Danes to look at themselves from a very unusual angle. We wish thereby to shake up the stereotypes about national identities and invite you to join the tribe!

    The first part of our project will be exhibited as an installation on the Metro’s construction’s wall -City Hall Square. This is definitely the largest installation that I have ever been part of – we take over the whole wall, which is 4 meters high and 50 meters long, from top to bottom! The oversized portraits, accompanied by a narrative, will be there from the 3rd of June 2016 until end of December 2016.

    More about the project: https://indvielsen.dk/

    I’m really looking forward to seeing you on June 3rd for the opening of this bizarre project!