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States of consciousness - Term Paper Example

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Five Windows into States of Consciousness This paper will address the topic, States of Consciousness. It is a broad topic, with fascinating branches of inquiry, so five articles cannot do justice. However, the five articles I have selected offer windows of insight, and can further interest in this fascinating area…
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States of consciousness
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States of consciousness

Dr. Bell’s thesis is that, contrary to the usual psychiatric emphasis on states of consciousness and psychopathology, the ability to change one’s state of consciousness is useful as a survival skill, when faced with severe stress. Black culture is no stranger to stress and suffering, and in fact has developed sophisticated techniques to manage intrapsychic survival and to avoid survival fatigue. Bell argues that inner-city Blacks, in particular, deal with chronic trauma (family separation, rejection, illness and death of parents, severe illness and injuries throughout life, school and residence shifting, unemployment, divorce, pregnancy complications, war and disaster). Goals are frustrated and integrity threatened by loss (Bell, 1982, p. 1018). Surviving this kind of life is exhausting and the continuous onslaught of stressful events challenges a person’s ability to focus on the problem, analyze the situation, plan creative solutions, and remember their competency at doing so and their hope that this too can be survived. In responding to a stressful event, an individual needs to change or escape from the stressful environment, develop new skills for action, protect against overwhelming emotions with defense mechanisms, and recover from the event and its outcomes. Altering one’s states of consciousness furthers all four of these requirements (Bell, 1982, p. 1018), and is therefore a critical skill to develop. Traditional Black culture’s approach to healing involves altering consciousness to handle natural and supernatural persecution, central to cultural cosmology. It also involves divination and possession techniques to insure natural harmony with the universe. Black Christian culture uses prayer and testimony and being filled by the Holy Spirit in a similar way, expanding consciousness. Blacks use dancing and music and singing to alter consciousness, as well as physical exertion, masks, drugs, and fasting. Altering consciousness is a tool for survival, establishing harmony, protection, creative solutions, and change. The article on psychotherapy is entitled, Dyadically Expanded States of Consciousness and the Process of Therapeutic Change. Tronick (1998) discusses the importance of emotional connection and inter-subjectivity, from infancy, and application to the therapeutic relationship. Without emotional connectedness, the mental health of the infant is severely damaged. Tonick (1998) introduces an hypothesis, to explain this, the Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness, Hypothesis, based on his Mutual Regulation Model (MRM) of infant-adult regulation. The MRM is a micro-regulatory social-emotional process of communication that generates dyadic states of consciousness. This infant-adult process is applicable to the client-therapist relationship, as well, and if the dyadic states of consciousness is generated successfully, therapeutic change will likely be forthcoming. Interpreting therapeutic material is not enough. The infant must regulate to maintain balance, physically and emotionally. The adult is part of the infant’s regulatory system, as critical a part as any internal part. Maintaining homestatic balance is a dyadic collaborative process (Tronick, 1998, p. 293). For example, to regulate body temperature, the infant can kick off a blanket, change positions, become more or less active, or can use crying and other dyadic communication to be picked up and held comfortably by an adult. This ... Read More
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