An article by Anke Sommer
The socially established psychological view brings salvation – but also limitations
In this blog article about the discrepancy between psychology and leadership. I’m looking at the phenomenon of why psychological knowledge, which has now become very popular, doesn’t always have a positive impact on pro-development people. How can that be, since the psychological thought is fundamentally good and beneficial, right? The following question is the central question in this article:
“What is increasingly turning the socially established psychological view into a trap rather than a blessing for someone at an advanced stage in a self-development process?”
Background to ‘©LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’
The basis of my thinking is ‘© LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’, which is exclusively aimed at psychologically and physically healthy people. This work functions without attributions. There is no attribution of healthy or sick. In the LEADERSHIP work by Anke Sommer is no room for searching for blame, focusing on problems or developing dependencies.
I invite you to enter the intellectual debate on the basic question of what is turning the psychologised view into a trap rather than a blessing for some people. To do this, imagine the following: the person facilitating your development process is helping you to understand the meaning of your body signals and to draw conclusions from them.
Your awareness has increased through the LEADERSHIP Work. Rather than talking about problems, your focus is on the integration of somatic information into your everyday activities. Problems or negative experiences are part of normal human life. They activate body consciousness.
The questions asked in the development work are less aimed at your intellect and more at initiating the inner body processes that ultimately lead to change: changing what is limiting you and harming you imperceptibly.
‘© LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’ deliberately differentiates itself from all therapeutic procedures. It works on the basis of individuality, authenticity and the developmental history of someone interested in development.
How do you normally recognise people who have been in therapy?
INSTITUT SOMMERINSTITUT SOMMER is not only the name of our company, but also the expression of the approach we take towards the requests we receive. Read more here.... Read more is regularly contacted by people who are interested in development and who have already been in therapy to stabilise themselves. We notice that these people often speak a different language. They are usually careful and pursuing an intellectual path. They interpret a great deal and quickly find an intellectual explanation for what currently ‘is’.
The therapist’s influence has left its marks on them but it is above all the method of dealing with problems that reveals that they have been in therapy. Therapy in and of itself isn’t the problem. There are very many good psychologists and therapists, but the system in which these specialists work influences the freedom for manoeuvre of qualified personnel.
I have experienced the work of many independent psychologists and noted how things are handled differently than in, say, a prescribed course of therapy. It is often the case in the therapeutic process that problems are tackled in a purely rational way. The treatment is based on questioning the intellect – which doesn’t mean that emotional processes don’t also occur.
This emotionality relates to the injury that was sustained in the past. It relates to fears that are driven purely by the mind. This is the framework for action. Therapy sessions last for approx. 50 minutes, which is not much time to reach the deeper and somatic awareness levels. These are the levels that ultimately produce the insights needed to change someone’s personality.
A LEADERSHIP Work session lasts at least three full hours. This is how long it takes for a body awareness insight to reach the mind without being blocked by it.
If the mind is no longer acting as a block, the insight arises more quickly. The more painful the experience, the more the mind blocks. Therefore access to the body is needed in order to overcome this hurdle. The facilitator must be able to recognise and interpret every signal for this process to succeed.
Categorisations out of psychology are no help to anyone
There are statements very common among former patients. ‘I have depressive traits’. ‘I’m suffering from neurotic behaviour’. Or, ‘I’m traumatised and have multiple personality disorder’. The former patients I’m talking about didn’t go into therapy due to a psychological illness but to stabilise themselves.
They are in the midst of life but are depressed for some reason. Overwork and stress have often played a decisive role in throwing them off balance. Categorisation happens naturally.
If these people participate in ‘© LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’ then over time they rearrange their thoughts and behaviour. Without doing so their thinking from psychology would make it impossible for them to develop their main skill.
‘Definition’ isn’t too far from ‘attribution’ in meaning and it influences the view that people in positions of responsibility have of themselves. Attribution acts like a fence around their individual fields of action. The boundary determines what is and isn’t feasible.
Aim of this article – learning the difference between psychology and (self) leadership
The observations outlined above encouraged me to write this article about psychology and leadership. To advance a thought process that doesn’t condemn the valuable work carried out by psychologists and therapists but instead stimulates a more conscious approach to psychologising.
It is particularly aimed at people who unconsciously engage in lots of psychologising in their everyday life without noticing it.
The impact of perspectives from psychology versus
body-oriented ‘© LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’
There’s no question that we can be happy about what has been achieved in the world thanks to the psychology and psychological view. The integration of the psyche as one of the factors having a considerable impact on the maintenance and health of body, soul and mind has brought about positive changes in lots of areas.
The recognition of psychology as a serious science resulted in an increased academic focus on understanding the psyche as the cause of disorders. We know now that a person’s psyche and their entire physical wellbeing requires balance so that he or she can live in health and harmony.
This balance is maintained by becoming aware of the factors that otherwise throw you off balance. You will find these causal factors in your experiences.
Why do some women, for example, react in a particularly sensitive way to a dominant male demeanour? The LEADERSHIP Work answer sounds simple, but it involves an intensive change process: “Because there is an experience here that introduced this sensitivity into this woman’s world.”
There are two factors for success: you and your facilitator’s view
How and whether these women can rid themselves of this sensitivity depends on various factors, e.g. from the views and regulations arising from the profession of process facilitator.
If these women avail themselves of a psychologised or therapeutic view, they will achieve a different result than they would if they were to consider this phenomenon in terms of sociology and see it from a (self-)leadership perspective.
It is basically the case that if these women discover the causal experience that has resulted in sensitivity they can then distance themselves from the previous wound.
But, if these women focus on the fact of their having been affected, and attempt to understand it intellectually, then their focus automatically turns to the pain emerging from the work. The psychologised view enjoys the act of mental processing triggered by consideration of the increased sensitivity.
However, the pragmatic approach of LEADERSHIP Work is interested in the impact that the sensitivity has had on the level of body signals and in winning back the freedom for action that has been lost through the original experience. No rational grappling with the previous event is needed for this: it requires awareness of the resulting unawareness.
What happens if the sensitivity has become automatic for these women and persists? How do you crack this automatism? These are the questions that are resolved in LEADERSHIP Work.
The trap laid by popular psychologising
The words ‘psychology’ or better still ‘psychological’ in themselves express how the science of psychology endeavours to adopt a logical approach to the phenomena within our psychological processes. Psychology had a long struggle for recognition as a science.
Psychological views are now an established aspect of western society with instances of psychologising cropping up in journals and all types of books. The intellectual psychological approach is deeply associated with the thinking and acting of plenty of people.
But what does a psychologising person do? He or she assesses and standardises everything what he or she sees and feels. If we look at this kind of psychology-based assessment standard more closely, we find e.g. assessment criteria leading to categorisation. These criteria restrict freedom for manoeuvre, establish rules and structures in everyday life, and diagnose body-centred behaviour.
Expressed provocatively, a fidgety child will quickly become a child with an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. This process takes place in the mind of the psychologising person, a person who has often heard of ADHD, without any specialist input.
This diagnosis is socially accepted. Unfortunately, it isn’t always just this illness that is causing the presenting symptoms. There are also cases in which body signals are pointing towards a subconscious topic that has yet to be taken up; a topic that has not yet been seen in the family system.
These signals must be recognised and taken up. There is no place for any hasty attribution. The fidgeting will disappear once these signals are taken up.
Psychologising blurs one’s own need to act
The psychology view pays a great deal of attention to one’s own inner child, insofar as it was restricted and repressed during childhood. A discussion with one gainfully employed woman showed me how much she interpreted everything around her in psychological terms.
She was deeply attached to her inner child and interpreted everything that happened around her through the prism of her own inner child. She found a way of seeing everything, e.g. her children’s, husband’s or colleagues’ behaviour, in psychological terms.
What she didn’t notice is that this way of seeing things was obstructing her necessity to act. She needed to act. She was heavily involved in her children acting up. Instead, she explained away the negative state of affairs, i.e. her son’s restlessness, with an attribution (ADHD).
The boy’s signals were telling a very different story, however: the signals were a reaction to the conflict between his mother and father, to the conflict that had already been present in both their families of origin.
The woman’s psychologising was keeping the dysfunctional situation in this family alive.
The ‘inner child’ is related to a subconscious overload – focusing on it quickly releases the overburden of the past into present day life
The approach that someone adopts towards the suffering they’ve experienced will in itself determine the course of their personality development. From a psychological viewpoint, healing the inner child is the focus of many therapies.
By contrast, in personality development a rather sceptical view is taken towards this focus on the suffering experienced, as suffering has a habit of fixing all attention on itself. So the person who is now looking at his or her past pain is tied to the inability to act, to the sense of powerlessness felt and to the pain of the ‘sad child’.
The pain will all too quickly become so great that old behaviour patterns return to the fore. It seems as if the wounded inner child has come back to life. It is activated. Everything is seen and felt from the standpoint of the injury sustained.
What is thought of as good and correct in psychology-based approaches is considered somewhat questionable and obstructive in the thinking behind personality development.
With LEADERSHIP Work, you take responsibility for everything that’s happening in your environment
From the viewpoint of ‘© LEADERSHIP Work after Anke Sommer’, then, you need to take full responsibility for everything that’s happening in your environment to avoid being lured by your subconscious into using old, obstructive behavioural patterns in current situations.
If you’ve again become the victim of an alleged injustice and you start the fight for justice then you’ve reverted to old ways. The outcome is that the fight doesn’t lead to justice but instead takes you more deeply into the sense of powerlessness you felt before. You repeat your past in the present.
In LEADERSHIP Work, whether you were a victim or not it is far less important than preventing the non-processed experience from having a negative influence on you. The condition of your psyche is therefore the result of what you’ve experienced and how you were able to process it.
Take responsibility, then make sure your behaviour doesn’t activate the old story. You develop a viewpoint that motivates you to recognise your involvement in maintaining the negative situation. In doing so you’re less interested in how other people behaved towards you and more so in the behaviour you exhibited that influenced others to act this way with you.
Adopting this perspective puts you permanently in a position where you can take action. You are now able to manage the most unpleasant of situations yourself by eradicating your role in maintaining old behavioural patterns.
Don’t be trapped in your pain, but instead understand the language of your body’s signals
In conclusion, it needs to be said that how you live is in your hands. Take responsibility for your life, your state of wellbeing and your life path. Don’t allow yourself to be caught by past pain. Every life has numerous experiences that translate into sufficient reason to be hurt.
It is often not even the wounds that you experienced yourself but those of your parents that were never healed. In order to live a self-determined life, you need to recognised your past as a normal aspect of your life. Don’t pigeonhole yourself but keep in touch with reality.
Give normality a chance and don’t get gnarled up in unpleasant experiences from the past. Free your body from having to continually provide signals of something that needs to be addressed. Turn and look but not at the pain you experienced then.
The LEADERSHIP process teaches you to leave responsibility with the person who hurt you. If you go too deeply into the wound, you run the risk of suffering more with each look.
By becoming the wound, part of you takes a step forward and makes you seem to stand out more. People see the wound and react subconsciously to this hurt part of you. A person in pain sees everything in light of the suffering experienced.
Above all, this suffering cuts you off from accessing the power of your heart, a power that links you to your environment and the reality that now prevails. The suffering thus separates you imperceptibly from all the closeness that wants to be. You always focus more on what was done to you. You become heavy weather for the outside world, as you defend your wounded state.