Jan 12, 2022 • 1HR 1M

Autopsychotherapy and Self-Leadership

Join hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 6 with Kate Arms

 
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What can be positive about disintegration? Join us for an exploration of positive disintegration through conversation and shared stories. It’s a framework for understanding a variety of intense experiences that often look and feel like mental illness, but which can also be viewed as building blocks for creating an authentic personality.

In episode 6, Chris and Emma were joined by Kate Arms, JD, PCC, a leadership coach who talked about her personal experience of development through positive disintegration, and how she created her own autopsychotherapy practice.

What is Autopsychotherapy? This is a question that has been asked often on social media, and it is one of Dabrowski’s dynamisms that requires more explanation than you will find in the literature. Kate talks about some of the strategies and methods that have worked for her, and we share our ideas and stories on what we have found useful, in the hope that others in the process of development will benefit.

Definitions mentioned during our discussion

AUTOPSYCHOTHERAPY: Psychotherapy, preventive measures, or changes in living conditions applied to oneself in order to control possible mental disequilibrium. Autopsychotherapy is the process of education-of-oneself under conditions of increased stress, as in developmental crises, in critical moments of life, in neuroses and psychoneuroses. It is an off-shoot of education-of-oneself operating at the borderline of levels III and IV. As development advances through spontaneous to organized multilevel disintegration, the conflicts, disturbances, depressions, and anxieties are handled consciously by the individual himself. Because of the great rise and differentiation of autonomous factors the individual has available to him the means not only to contain areas of conflict and tension but even more so to transform them into processes enriching and strengthening his development. Conscious self-healing is an example of this process at work; it is, however, more crucial in the mental and emotional than in the physical realm. Solitude and concentration play a very important role in this process. (Dąbrowski, 1996, p. 40)

SUBJECT-OBJECT IN ONESELF: One of the main developmental dynamisms which consists in observing one’s own mental life in an attempt to better understand oneself and to evaluate oneself critically. It is a process of looking at oneself as if from outside (the self as object) and of perceiving the individuality of others (the other as subject, i.e. individual knower). (Dabrowski, 1972, p. 305)

Resources mentioned in this episode

Kate’s books:

Parents of Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Kids (The Facebook group where Kate and Chris are admins)

Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels and Michael M. Piechowski

The Zen Path through Depression by Philip Martin

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

You can find Kate on Twitter: @Kate_Arms

Emma’s blog post on autopsychotherapy.

Kate has a newsletter on Substack called Psychological Safety at Scale

References

Dabrowski, K. (1972). Psychoneurosis is not an illness: Neuroses and psychoneuroses from the perspective of positive disintegration. Gryf.

Dąbrowski, K. (1996). Multilevelness of emotional and instinctive functions. Part 1: Theory and description of levels of behavior. Towarzystwo Naukowe Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego.

* A transcript of this episode is available on the Dabrowski Center website.

Update: Beginning in August 2022, we started producing transcripts of all of our episodes to improve accessibility. We’ve hired professional help to create and edit transcripts. Please, consider supporting the podcast to help fund this work through the Dabrowski Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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