Saturday, April 07, 2018

VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL TRANSACTIONS

From birth our whole body has been trained to react to stresses in a horizontal plane, the plane of social interaction, in a socially meaningful or understandable way. This may or may not be conducive to the real health of the body. 

For instance, when someone says something rude, we react with total bodily expressions of anger at having been insulted. This immediate reaction is often followed by sulking, insomnia etc. Some of the disturbance is communicated to family and friends, in whom similar reactions are partially enacted. Sooner or later, these waves of disturbance reach the source of irritation, the person who was said to have been rude, and in turn, he, his friends and family keep the pathological reaction continuing. 

The health of a dozen persons is ruined. But all this is within the ambit of socially understandable response catalogue. Common talk, literature, and, tradition support this patently stupid behaviour: "What can he do? What can a normal man do? The poor man got insulted and naturally got depressed and did something!"

This response-system has been learnt over the years and constantly reinforced. To know that this is a learnt pathology, that this can be unlearnt and new responses learnt, requires effort. To raise stupidity to an unalterable natural law of human behaviour is unfortunate.

To learn not to react, but to act in a more harmonious and healing way, allowing the evolution of a higher mode of behaviour is what I call a vertical response, a cortical rather than a subcortical response. 

Sacha Chua

If the therapist himself is not engaged in corticalising his own response patterns, all attempts at making his client learn new patterns can at best be patchy white-washes. The client's whole problem has been in ignoring his own tremendous nervous system, and failing to see that all he means by words like insults, anger etc., are events occurring within his own body. He has systematically learnt to locate all actions outside of himself, over which he has little control, Now, with the therapist's aid, his pills, talks, polygraphs he might get temporary relief, but his basic pathology continues. Somebody has insulted him and made him sleepless. The pills, the talks and gadgets have helped him:'Doctor, give me more pills and more talks!'

To arouse a sense of personal autonomy, to make him aware of higher and higher response possibilities available to him in the heights of his own nervous system: well, it is worth trying. I believe that a therapist engaged in the evolution of his own behaviour , in this vertical ascent ot the peaks of his own somatic, neutral ranges is likely to be more effective.

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