Metaphors, Meaning, and Metamorphosis: Existential Therapy in the Time of Pandemic
In keeping with university COVID restrictions concerning public events, NECET remains entirely virtual for the coming 2021-22 academic year. As conditions change, more updates will be posted here and on our mailing list.
Plato's Republic and the Wizard of Oz: Philosophy, Psychology, and Transformative Virtues
Richard Freid, LMHC
Sunday, September 26, 2021, Noon to 3:30 PM
"Where the Meanings, are": Encountering Infinity in Uncertain Times
Introduction to Metaphors, Meaning, and Metamorphosis: Existential Therapy in the Time of Pandemic.
March 2020 until the present has been a time of confusion, exhaustion, fear, loss, and, yet, in this context, often heightened learning. Indeed, it has been a time of creativity born of necessity. Psychotherapy has almost needed to reinvent itself, moving out of a sensory matrix of connection into a world of virtuality. Not surprisingly, we human beings have been stunned but not stopped. Psychotherapy has not only reinvented its form, but it has expanded its attention. Alongside every dimension of our society, psychotherapy is moving to attend to the political and social unrest, action, and counter-reaction on a level we have perhaps not seen since the Civil War.
At the New England Center for Existential Therapy, we want to reflect upon the capacity for meaning creation during this extraordinary time. In keeping, each of our speakers will organize their talks around metaphors that speak to and from this time. Importantly, these talks highlight social consciousness and desires that transcend purely material and personal needs and fears. In our first talk, Richard Freid discusses Plato's Republic and the Wizard of Oz: Philosophy, Psychology, and Transformative Virtues. Drawing on these iconic and ancient cultural motifs, he illuminates a three-part structure of both the soul and the city, or 'polis.' He explores the therapeutic dimensions of these structures towards the restoration of hope and Plato's timeless ideal of justice.
In the second talk, Rhiannon Roberts presents "Where the Meanings, are": Encountering Infinity in Uncertain Times. Using the biography and poetry of Emily Dickinson, Rhiannon explores the similarities of 1862 and our present pandemic situation, both times of transformation and strife. She explores how both eras are defined by profound collective and yet insular experiences, the centrality of being towards uncertainty, and the necessity of poetic language in this endeavor.
Michael "Mookie" Manalili presents the third talk, Restorying/Restoring Embodiment: Logotherapy, Narrative Therapy, and Hermeneutic Phenomenology. He elaborates upon the concept of living into meaning, primarily as an embodied value-driven behavior within the world and others. He weaves together Victor Frankl's existential approach, Michael White's narrative approach, and the phenomenology and hermeneutics of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur to point to the study of interpretation from meaning bound within word - towards a lived-subject, flesh, and embodiment.
In the final talk, Thrown from (and into) Your Own Home: Whiteness, Witnessing, and Warrior Consciousness Jason Ri explores the ruptures and possibilities of bearing witness to the twin pandemicof racism. He explores the disorienting impact of recognizing the privilege of whiteness and the horrors of violent hate.Then, drawing on J. Glenn Gray's brilliant work on war and philosophy, The Warriors, Jason demonstrates clinical implications for facilitating the potential of growth in the context of loss, uncertainty, and pain.
Existential therapy is social and political as well as metaphysical and subjective. Thus, the notion of personal responsibility refers both to radical reflection and social action. This year we will use the current pandemic crises, ecological danger, social violence, hate and intolerance, and the failure of conventional binary thought to demonstrate the many faces of the existential approach to psychology, sociology, power, and language.
We welcome you to join us for this rich set of talks, all committed to exploring openings to different meanings and metaphors arising from the crisis and opportunity of our time. We embrace another year in which we can learn together and beyond what we had previously and yet already known. We will meet yet again on Zoom, where we continue to adapt and stretch our capacities for meaning-making together.
Attendance at NECET meetings is free to all. 3 CEUs (LMHC/LICSW) available for $20.
Events will be held online on Zoom until further notice. Please consider becoming a NECET member! Your membership helps support NECET's ongoing work. Professionals $30/year; students/retirees $15/year. For more information on membership, NECET's mission & steering committee, visit www.necet.net.
NECET upholds values of inclusion and diversity; please let us know how to best support accessibility needs you might have. Email Richard Freid prior to a NECET meeting to request specific accommodations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.