Thursday, September 26, 2013

You're bigger than your skin suit, Part 1

Cover of Rat Park, by Stuart McMillen

When I wrote in a previous post about orchid listening, my point wasn't that I took care of orchids better (there are far more talented and skilled people than me), my point was that I listened to orchids.

I paid attention to what the orchids I rescued liked and didn't like, and I took into consideration their native environment in order to duplicate closely that environment, so they could feel at "home" and thrive.

This is similar to how I practice psychotherapy. I try to get the context of an entire person, because I don't see problems as being purely embedded in people. Problems are more often in the environment around people, and can be experienced in the relationships people have to their environment.

By environment, I mean everything outside of our bodies--other people, food, medicine, air quality, politics, culture, history, etc. Check out the graphic below (or just glance at it if graphics make you go bleary eyed) based on the research and teachings of psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, founder of Ecological Systems Theory (forgive the flawed info on Wikipedia, but the links give the gist):

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory
(Image from Center for Information and Communication Sciences)

And is it just me, or did some old religions have this concept down already?

Props to the East! Find out more about this mandala.
(Image from Wikipedia)

North Rose Window, Notre Dame
Shout out to the West! North Rose Window of Notre Dame
(Image by Photo Tractatus on Flickr)

Yes, you're the center of the universe. I'm the center of the universe, too. It's a spiritual paradox, or a mystery. Don't worry too much about it.

All this talk about contextualizing people leads me to rats, which will lead me to design. Trust me.

Note: I'm posting Part 2 on Monday. If you miss me in the meantime, please consider following me on TumblrTwitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ where I post more frequently about the things that catch my art+design+psychology heart.

Also, for your convenience, try the follow icons to your upper right or below my signature.

Next up on Monday: You're bigger than your skin suit, Part 2. Taking the High Line to Rat Park!

Invite Beauty,


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