Browsing: Ronan M. Kisch

FEATURED ARTICLE HOME PAGE

I had just gotten my first job at Kent State University Counseling Center after finishing my course work at the University of Kentucky and my internship at Wake Forest University. I lived in the Shaker Heights district of Cleveland and was driving down Route 480 that turns into Route 14 toward work at Kent when I was struck by a deep wave of depression. I felt like I used to feel earlier in my life. At some point I got off the road onto the sideline and just sat and was struck by the deep dark feelings of depression I was having and could not understand why that was happening. Here I was, having achieved what I was searching for my entire life, a position as a psychologist, and I was so summarily bummed out. After catching my breath, I continued driving to Kent.

Then an unusual event occurred when I was passing through the city of Twin Lakes. It was foggy out. The lake was barely visible. But on one of the lakes, just through the dense fog, I could perceive a rower in his boat. It was so striking to me that I had to stop. Amazingly enough I had my camera with me. I pulled it out, got out of the car, took his picture and then continued to work. At the time of this event, the thought did not strike me that perhaps I identified with that rower in the midst of the fog — my old feelings of depression.

Once I got to Kent and focused on work the depression lifted. On my way back to Cleveland on Route 14, I was contemplating, which I often did on the drive to and from work. My thoughts turned to the depressive episode in the morning. I was no longer feeling depressed on the return trip. I was struck by the fact that in spite of feeling depressed earlier, I stopped to exercise my creative abilities and took the photograph of the fisherman. And during the day, I did not remain depressed. I did work demanding higher order reasoning, knowledge of human behavior and emotional wounding, as well as compassion. What happened in the morning was an unusual and temporary setback. It was a pseudo-setback not characteristic at all of where I was in my mental health and functioning.

FEATURED ARTICLE HOME PAGE

People often find themselves stuck in emotional states where they feel unhappy, anxious or depressed. They know what they feel but they are unaware of their own behavioral patterns that keep them immobilized there. Over and over they focus on their frustrations; they wish things were different. They wait for the bad feeling to go away. The more they focus on their frustrations, however, the more they find themselves stuck. They ask themselves, “What in the world is going wrong? Why won’t it change?” They continually repeat the same behaviors with the same results. For me, I ask, “Who’ calling the shots?”

Too often the answer is the neurology and hormonal chemistry of a child or adolescent who did not get recognition, confirmation, or encouragement. This youngster did not have a parent or guardian who knew how to provide a healthy role model of how to handle difficult, compromising situations. These youths saw inappropriate models or none at all. They did not necessarily feel safe or protected. As a result, they developed coping mechanisms that were the best they could manage for their age, knowledge, and resources. Often these coping mechanisms were the same as those of the parent with whom they used to identify —their dominant role model. These patterns are evolved or are created during developmental times when intellectual ability is not fully developed, when knowledge of situations is limited, when freedom of choice is restricted, and when alternatives are not available. These coping mechanisms then generalized to other situations; as time went by, when challenging, threatening, or hurtful events presented themselves, these environmental stimuli triggered the learned psychophysical protective coping mechanisms from deep in the unconscious mind. Those somatic-emotional patterns habitually, and quite automatically, jumped out and took charge. Their familiarity overrode any conscious awareness of either their happening or their origin. One might even have an intellectual sense of this pattern but the pressure is on and when push comes to shove the patterns are reenacted without the ability to control them. Let me share some examples with you.

Currents

Addiction is rampant. Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food, social media, digital games, movies, whatever the ‘substance’ the effect is the same—numb out, dissociate, flee from the perception of pain (be it physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual). The number of people who are considered addicts has reached pandemic proportions—no one place, no one race, no one culture is free of this infectious disease.

But, is it a disease as many associations responsible for intervention state? Or is it a reflection of our inability to self and/or mutually regulate our affective state? Are these behaviors, labeled as addiction or addictive, are these monikers—addict, addicted— accurate? Or, do labels simply shadow deeper manifestations motivating people to reach for something to quell their emotional fluctuations, to smooth the ups and downs in their bodily being?

These questions and more are considered in our Winter issue. Our contributors share their thoughts on addiction, on behavioral patterns that become ‘stuck’, automated, reactionary in the face of overwhelm and affective arousal. Possible physiological causes are considered—think trauma and all that comes with that terminology—and potential interventions are pondered.

We invite you to read our articles and to respond to our authors.

Therapeutic Encounters

There are situations and events in the here and now that trigger past memories and our past responses. These memories can be conscious or unconscious. Regardless, people periodically brace (as defined as their muscles tighten) in response to these memories. Or they have enacted this brace reaction for so long, it’s now part of an unconscious habitual lifestyle.

Currents

Fall often signifies a time of transition as well as a time of return. Summer’s blazing colors transition to softer crimsons, scarlets, golds. Temperatures soften leaving a slight chill in the air and holidays wrap up as we return to school and work.

In our Fall issue, we’re pleased to announce the return of Galit Serebrenick-Hai as she writes about addition, memory, trauma and somatic psychotherapy, Amber Gray, who shares her integration of Continuum Movement, somatic psychotherapy and trauma work, Ronan M. Kisch who writes about what he calls the Six Pulse Points of Well-Being, and Shlomit Eliashar, now joined by Yael Shahar, who write about psycho-peristalsis in the shared body.

SPT Magazine honors our newest contributor, Dr. Elya Steinberg, as she shares a two-part series exploring transformative moments in the Biodynamic psychotherapy room. And we offer a special memoir written by the late Dr. Eleanor Hamilton about her experiences with Wilhelm Reich. We offer many thanks to Alice L. Ladas (author of The G-Spot) for granting SPT Magazine the rights to publish this remarkable piece.

Body Psychotherapy

Serendipity? Fate? Karma? Divine intervention? What force has brought no less than six Christian ministers to this Jewish somatic psychotherapist? Ronan M. Kisch writes about his experience with spirituality, religion, and his role ‘preaching’ to the preachers.