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Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:19 am
by elstrom
I'm currently pursuing an MA degree in counseling psychology. I have been interested (actually, "obsessed" is probably a more accurate term) with Jaynes' bicameralism since I first read OOC several years ago.

It seems to me that there would be quite a lot of utility in using a theory of bicameralism as a basis for psychotherapy. The only literature I've been able to find making this connection is that of Heward Wilkinson, who seems to focus mostly on schizophrenia. I've been doing some research into the private speech phenomenon, and find the Jaynes' theory actually fits the empirical evidence far better than the more "mainstream" theories.

Is anyone aware of any other literature on bicameralism and psychotherapy?

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:17 pm
by Moderator
This is a great topic but no I'm not aware of anyone off the top of my head other than H. Wilkinson, other than the use of hypnotherapy (redirecting the subconscious) and cognitive behavioral therapy (redirecting consciousness) in general of course even by those unfamiliar with Jaynes.

What ideas do you have as far as integrating Jaynes's theory in psychotherapy?

One book that may be of interest in this context is Nathaniel Branden's "The Art of Living Consciously."

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:51 am
by niklas
I'm pondering this question at the moment. As a psychologist interested in creative approaches to therapy, the Jaynesian theory of mind/consciousness is of course thrilling to say the least. I see connections to a lot of areas in psychology.

What about the current rise in interest in both adhd and mindfulness? How are these concepts related? Intuitively I see how adhd mimics a bicameral mind while also fitting nicely with Thom Hartmann's notion of the hunter/gatherer-mind of adhd. "Deficits" in adhd is about the same as those functions needed for conscious executive controling of behaviour, the post-bicameral advantages so to say. Also, the very same "left-side" abilities is what our western culture promotes highly in upbringing and education. Contrasting is the surge in interest in buddhist meditation practice and the promotion of being "here and now" as in mindfulness.

I speculate that adhd is on the table because we've accelerated the development of unicameral culture. Adhd:ers are the ones lagging behind, being too bicameral. At the same time, something is telling us to slow down and to reconsider the prevalent focus on rationality, effiency, planning, organizing and general left-braining (like environmental issues). Consider the Zen notion of No-Mind as a state of bicamerality and meditation as a means to weaken the power of consciousness-ing. In that perspective, my idea of adhd as an ideal platform for meditation makes perfect sense. I allow myself to make a lot of this speculation by linking to This Article.

Ooops, I went off topic.

Answer is No, I don't know how to therapy this theory but I'm dying to find out.
What about exploring the avenue of deliteralization proposed by Hayes et al. in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. They have their buddhist connections for sure and the theory behind it, Relational Frame Theory, fits rather nicely with Jaynes theory.

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:15 am
by Moderator
The use of hypnosis and self-hypnosis to exert greater conscious control over unconscious habits/behaviors is one possible way to explore applying Jaynes's theory to therapy/self-improvement.

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:22 pm
by Star
I do see meditation as tool to enhance and strengthen consciousness and this where I am going to disagree with niklas. There are couple of things that are at the heart of buddhism; one of which is this idea of mindfulness, being engaged in whatever you are doing at all times. So if you are sweeping the floor or talking to your boss, your brain is engaging in those tasks and not thinking about the errands you need to run after work, your date last night or if are going to get a raise, etc.

As a fledgling buddhist, I do seem to be more conscious, more present on days I meditate than on days I don't. I wouldn't be doing this if I thought it would take me back to a bicameral state.

I'd also like a make a quick statement on the no-self concept discussed by niklas above. As I understand, in buddhism, ego or the "analog I" is considered a construct, so when the Zen master is able to shed his ego, he then understands that there is no separation between him and the mountain or the blade of grass. To me, the shedding of one's ego in buddhism is the realization of consciousness without self. That I think is very different from an early bicameral human who has no sense of self and has no consciousness.

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:33 pm
by niklas
@Star// Thanks for comments. As I take it we can switch between bi- and unicamerality nowdays. The person in a pure bicameral state could not. I don't mean meditation should make you bicameral for good, or even that such a process is possible. once we have established a sens of self/illusion/analog there is no way to erase it. But there is the possibility to add the concept-free no mind. Mind workd with addition only so it's a lousy computer in that sense.
Mindfulness I see as a continuing connection between cognition and perception
Conscious doing as a series of fast switching between cog-perception and cog-cog, as in doing/learning before it's effortless or "automatic"
Planning/ruminating/intellectualizing/writing posts I see as cognition about cognitive memories

As I'm writing this my thoughts have two ways to chose from. One is focusing on the content of my writing the other is focus on the process of writing, and of course there can be a faster or slower switching between the two.
Practicing one pointed concentration is to take control of the "switching"
Practicing panoramic awareness is to let go of the switch altogether
Having "adhd" or similar functioning, as with a period of psychological stress, you're not aware of the switch at all. You just run around in circles with thoughts and actions. So step one is to notice this, step two is practicing control and then most people stop because that's enough. This is the place of "getting things done" and being effective in the world of form. Buddhism as I take it offer a way to go beyond that. To realize there is no sustainable control to get, just temporary, and that the "controler" is actually an ever changing organism with an illusion of that controler. In that perspective letting go of all that seems reasonable.

That's my 2 cents and I think on the whole I agree with you.

All the best
All the worst
All there is

; )

Re: Anyone using a Jaynesian Model of Psychotherapy?

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:53 am
by Star

From the studies I have seen, there appears to be increased bi-lateral activation in three groups of individuals:
1. non-clinical subjects experiencing auditory hallucination
2. clinical schizophrenic subjects experiencing hallucinations
3. non-clinical experienced meditators.

My interpretation of bicameral is a state in which the two sides of the brain are not well integrated which I believe can be seen in numbers 1 & 2. I would argue that perhaps meditation strengthens unicamerality by improving the integration between the two halves of the brain. I think you have to define bicamerality as Jaynes would (Moderator please correct me if I get this wrong); true bicameralism is the state when the impetus for action or thought is not directed by the "analog I" but by the voices originating in the right hemisphere of the brain and that appear to have a separate identity from the affected individual.

I am not sure where you are getting that we can apparently switch back and forth? I am aware of the studies regarding adhd which appear to implicate temporal lobe dysfunction, but I don't recall a bi-lateral activation component.

edited to add: I tend to see consciousness as a continuum with some people being more or less so. I have a couple of relatives that don't really seem to be conscious, but I don't think they are bicameral in any scope of the term as they don't have the classical symptoms of bicameralism that I can see or that they have talked about.