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Self reflection: dreaming oneself to be otherwise

Dr Phil Graham

The emergence of Self is contingent upon an ongoing interaction with the care-giving environment. Under favorable conditions, this interaction gives shape to a developmental trajectory of increasing complexity with the experience of Self at its apex. Here the Self has a capacity for reflective awareness. Under less favorable developmental conditions or trauma, the Self is compromised and its capacity for reflective awareness may be impaired or focally lost. Reflective awareness lies at the center of what it means to be human, differentiating us from other creatures with 'the mark of the possibility?.always to be other than we are.'(Heidegger). People come to psychotherapy to feel other than they feel, wanting to be free from the fated sense of their limited possibilities .It provides an opportunity for an 'internal evolution' (Hughlings Jackson) - where an expansion of reflective awareness can take place. Reflective awareness is a disarmingly simple term, but is farreaching in its ramifications. It includes: thoughts and feelings directed to one's body and one's feeling, towards oneself; a shift in the focus of this awareness to include the 'other' in all of their complexities; and the question of whom or what is doing the questioning. All these elements of reflective awareness are held in delicate dynamic balance. Its development is manifold, and marked by changes in self-states, relational configurations and features of language. This paper will examine reflective awareness from the perspective of its emergence in the therapeutic conversation, as proposed by the Conversational Model of Psychotherapy. To dream oneself to be otherwise occurs within a conversation

24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
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Phil Graham
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Dr Phil Graham

Dr Philip Graham, is a psychotherapist with twenty five years experience, primarily providing long term psychotherapy. He has particular training and expertise in working with trauma. He also provides supervision/case consultation to other practitioners, primarily in the conversational model of therapy. Dr Graham trained in Medicine, and holds a Masters degree in Psychotherapy. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Lecturer at Sydney University. He is a Supervisor for the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy, and a past President. He is a member of the Supervising and Training faculty for the Masters of Medicine in Psychotherapy, Westmead Hospital, at the University of Sydney, and a member of the International Association of Self Psychology. He has published his work both locally and internationally.

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