The Living Force
Thinking about this with respect to Jordan Peterson, then I think there is tremendous value in what Peterson is doing. For somehow the neurotic also needs to hear the message that Samenow is bringing across, but doing so face to face is entirely counterproductive. This is where Peterson comes in, as he can talk about these things, that we are monsters, and useless etc. as it is done in a non-threatening format such as through videos and books. It is non-threatening as the neurotic - thanks Chu for the apt description from Simenon - also can watch these videos in the safety of their own space and at their own leisure and not feel threatening directly as it is not addressed to them personally. In a therapy setting, Peterson would never use such language, but via youtube he can. At the same time, Peterson gives very practical hands-on advice and his way of describing the steps are also deeply compassionate and caring in more a NARM way. So one could say that Peterson is to some extent a bridge between the two, making clear the terror of the situation while at the same time giving practical steps grounded in the present moment to people of how to improve their lot and basically become better human beings to the benefit of themselves, those around them and society in general.Chu said:I think you made very valid points, Aeneas. It's a bit like the difference that George Simon explains between the approach to have with a neurotic person who blames themselves for everything, and a character disturbed person who thinks he or she is a perpetual victim and is entitled to more just because. The neurotic may benefit more from NARM, and the character disturbed from Samenow's approach. But both methods combined seem more appropriate, because most people are within a spectrum of those two extremes. We are complex beings. Doing the Work, we can create narratives about what it is what "it doesn't like", while in reality, we are afraid of facing the worse parts of ourselves. For those parts, nothing like shocks and Samenow. For other parts, who are really insecure, wounded, etc, then a NARM-type approach would be better. But they go hand in hand.Aeneas said:As I see it then the approaches are different. Where Samenow doesn't give any room for excuses, NARM is much more gentle and non-intruding. But then they are also dealing with very different sets of people and one can seriously doubt if the NARM approach would have had any impact on Leroy which Samenow describes in the second last chapter. And in the same way, one could doubt if the Leroy-treatment would serve the kind of people who come to a NARM therapist. Larry Heller in HRT, gives an example in chapter 9 of how he is 'treating' Carla. Though Larry does correct the thinking pattern, it is more as if he elicits this understanding from the patient herself by a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, somatic experiencing and mindfulness, rather than telling her where her thinking is wrong.
The criminals that Samenow deals with do not come for treatment because they think that there is something wrong with them, but because they are forced to or mandated to, if they are interested in avoiding serious lifelong imprisonment. The clients of the NARM therapists are people who seek the therapists out because they wish to change as they have lives that are unfulfilled.
In terms of the Work, then it might well be a combination of both. We need to get the shock that we share (many) aspects of the criminal mind and how we lie to ourselves or make excuses due to hard wired thinking errors. Unlike the criminal we are here involved in the Work out of our own free Will, and our response to the shocks can help to realize for one self at least, if we are seriously interested in the Work or whether we just like to delude ourselves into thinking that we are doing the Work. Samenow is very practical and the part of no excuses might be what is needed for some of us, though for others among us, who are indulging in shame and guilt, such an approach might just encourage the Trappist monk in us, thus driving the essence part even further underground. In other words, for some, the stick is the most useful, most of the time and for others, the carrot is more effective. And for most a combination of the two.
Understanding the underlying causes as outlined in Healing Developmental Trauma is important to find a way out of it. And much as we on the surface might say "Yeah, just show it all to me, I can handle it. I want to know the truth at all cost!", then the truth might be that for most of us, that would cause a complete collapse and depression or a retreat into denial. So it is a process and continual shocks are needed. We, who are involved in the Work, don't necessarily work with a personal therapist, but that is where the network is very important, both to supply knowledge, but also to call out the lying to ourselves - and of course as a general support and encouragement. The dual track of growth in knowledge and growth in being comes to mind.
In the end, I think it comes down to what is needed in the moment, depending on how far each person is willing to go. Whatever helps create the right kind of friction towards more conscious suffering and growth, is good. Whatever helps us live more in the present, while at the same time being aware of the root, is good too. OSIT.