Theoretical ModelWhy have a theoretical model?
As I work with a client - an individual, a couple, or a group - I am using a model in my head to help me think about what is happening. This helps me guide the sessions in a way that is going to be most beneficial.
Overall, what is the model?
I start with an idea of what the Self is. Our Self is our ongoing sense of ourselves as a person - our thoughts, feelings, habits, and so on. Much has been written on ways of thinking about this Self. I think of the Self as always in movement and change. There is nothing fixed about it. Furthermore, I don't see it as an indivisible unit. It consists of many parts. I want to eat that piece of cheese cake, and I also want to lower my cholesterol. I now have a problem... The parts of the Self sometimes work well together, and sometimes don't. When they don't, we experience inner confusion and at times turmoil. And this might be what brings you to seek assistance.
Further, the Self will be different depending on circumstances. If you are with a good friend, your Self will feel different compared to when you are with someone you intensely dislike. If you are in the middle of a forest, you will feel different to when you are in the middle of a busy city. So, the Self is extremely permeable to other Selves and the surrounding environment. The Self does not stop at your skin.
Thus, I understand you (and me) to be many internal parts (called sub-personalities) that are interacting; I also see you and me in relationship in a particular environment; and I see you in relationship with the people in your life. All this goes to make up your Self.
The model of communication I use is based in my research into a model I have called Communicative Musicality. You can find my papers on this topic under Research on this website. I see communication as consisting primarily of movements of the body and voice that form units of non-verbal communication I call narratives. These narratives are co-created with the person or people you are with, and they convey their message through their energy or ‘vitality’. This vitality is the basis for human communication. There are many different ways I can say “good morning” as I walk into a room. The way I speak and the way I walk tell the story of my Self beyond merely the words I say.
And finally, the flow and balance of these non-verbal stories is what I pay attention to and work with as I sit and talk with you. When paid attention to and worked with in a particular way, they are the engine of change.
Below are these ideas summarised in point form:
The nature of the Self
- Self is movement and change
- Self is a continuum – for example, sub-personalities to individual Self to intersubjective Self, to collective Self.
- Thus Self is systemic, and the unit of the Self is flexible depending on how you look at it
- The basic units of communication are motivated gestures
- These motivated gestures link together to create gestural narratives
- Words build specificity to these gestural narratives, and bring our narratives and ideas into a mental form we can share, manipulate, and talk about
- Gestural narratives seek flow and balance – just as biological movement seeks flow and balance
- It is the task of the therapist/coach to facilitate flow and balance of movement in the narrative gestures of thought and feeling of the client as they are in intersubjective moment-to-moment relationship with the client
- This flow is understanding and mental health