zaterdag 26 januari 2013


Vandaag heb ik gedaan wat ik zelden doe:  ik heb gereageerd op een artikel

Het artikel zegt:

`One of the major topics addressed in this report is the stigma associated with psychological disorder within police culture.´

Ik werd getroffen door de bovenstaande zin. Op een bepaalde manier riep deze zin de behoefte in mij op om te reageren. Ik ben al jaren op zoek naar het `begin van de draad van Ariadne´. Of het nu de politiecultuur is of de militaire cultuur, beide culturen bestaan rondom het archetype van de   `krijger´, de sterke, stoere man die anderen redt. Maar wat gebeurt er als dat beeld wordt aangevuld met het beeld van kwetsbaarheid, van verslagenheid?

Misschien kan er een dialoog over ontstaan? Misschien heeft u andere beelden? Misschien is er meer te ontdekken?  

Dit is wat ik schreef, en ik deel het graag om hopelijk te horen of lezen wat anderen er van vinden.

`I have just read your article on PTSD with the Canadian Police. Since I have been studying PTSD from the perspective of Psychosynthesis for the last 5 years, I am glad with all the attention for the phenomenon. At the same time, I am confronted in almost all of the publications and research studies with the lack of a broader perspective which would provide for a context in which all symptoms, as  described, would get a meaning. I understand that the symptoms can and must be treated, but at the same time there should also be prudence in communicating about the phenomenon. 

In short I can explain  with an example from my experiences with war veterans (young men) that the stereotypical image of the soldier with ptsd as a `failed hero´(in their own eyes or as seen by colleagues) helps them only to become more isolated.  They are struggling in themselves a struggle far worse than the struggle in war: it’s gone inside and this is a very existential struggle. The old self -image of the young strong, daring or adventurous is still present in their memory, but then for whatever reason they become initiated in manhood and get stuck in the stage of feeling hurt and  wounded inside. In the `journey of the hero´ as Joseph Campbell explains in `A hero with a thousand faces`,  the `hero´ at this point descends into the underworld, or in our daily language : a depression, or the dark night of the soul, has come over them. Now the purpose of this stage in mythology is clear. In everyday life, however, it is more difficult to recognize. The reaction of most people will be: help this guy and try to cure his pain and symptoms. From a perspective of psycho-logy this may be a disaster, and even `making it worse`, because the journey of the hero can’t be finished and actually they get stuck in the middle of `hell`.  

Probably everyone will recognize this last sentence as an exact description of the situation in which people with `ptsd` find themselves. Some more than others, but the longer it takes, the worse it gets.

So what is needed in this situation?  In psychosynthesis we work with the transpersonal perspective or even spiritual perspective on psychopathology, and we take the pathos as the way of expressing souls anger, needs, pain, as a cry for meaning. So the only way to get out is starting listening to what soul is speaking about, and starting to understand that soul doesn’t speak in our rational or analytical language, but does speak the language of mythology, the symbolic language. Take for example the story of the holy grail. Following the journey of Parcival (according to the story of Wolfram von Eschenbach) we can begin to understand the unconscious core of meaning of all the separate incidents, and begin to understand the crisis as a way how soul tries to realise or manifest itself into the world.
The way of individuation is always towards healing. So whatever happens in someone’s life, it may be just the experience which his or her soul needs to add to its existence, in order to become more whole, more complete. James Hillman wrote excellent words about this in his Soul’s Code. It’s important to understand the subtlety of his perspective. It’s no cheap, new age-like, or happy go lucky message. For some people the inner pain is so huge, that it will stay with them, but may be their soul just needed to add the ability of perplexity? If this could be the insight of those people who have ptsd, may be their journey might continue.

The hero’s journey ends when the hero is returning home (meaning:`finding his own Higher Self (soul) again´) and is willing to share  the elixir he found in the underworld. What is the boon that policemen and soldiers are bringing `home´ ? Could it be that they are the potential messengers, bringers of the elixir, but could it also be that our society is not yet ready to receive it? Doesn’t that leave these `hero’s in a mythological sense of the word´ isolated and lonely? 

There is a tendency in our society, to ignore the existence of evil or violence as a human potentiality. Even may be the inclination to fight evil rather in far away places, so we don’t have to face the issue. (Read Erich Neumann `Depth Psychology and New Ethics`).
At a certain level of consciousness, I would dare to say that the purpose of obviously (?) increasing attention for violence and increasing numbers of ptsd might be a necessary wake up call for society as a whole. A call to learn  how society has forgotten a way of integrating evil and violence. Not by avoiding to look at it, but by learning how to deal with this daimon (not demon) from an ethical standpoint: each and everyone is responsible for what happens in society. We can’t just let soldiers or policemen carry alone this responsibility on behalf of all other members of society. 

So would we be able to hear the voices of all who have ptsd, as the voice of soul, as a cry for meaning ?  And would we be able to understand that it’s also our `own` soul that’s crying for meaning? Can we be able to hear or are we falling asleep and leaving the trouble in the hands of psychiatrists?´

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