“In the extraordinary closing words of his report on the Schreber case, Freud rediscovers the fourfold parallelism of classical recapitulation: the child, the modern savage, our primitive ancestor, and the adult neurotic all represent the same phyletic stage–the primitive as true ancestor, the savage as modern survivor, the child as a recapitulated adult ancestor in Haeckelian terms, and the neurotic as a fixated child (=primitive). . . .” (Gould, S.J. (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny.  Cambridge: Belknap Press, pp. 158-9)

It has been a focus of this website that differing scales of evolution are tied together by processes that different scales share.  The premise that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny explored the relationship between individual growth and species transformation, though the specific dynamic of that relationship were not uncovered.  Gould explored the various theory fashions that encouraged 18th and early 19th century academics to see relationships between biology, society, ontogeny and individual experience.  How exactly those four scales juxtaposed was not satisfactorily explained.  What was called parallelisms has of late mostly been discussed by philosophers such as Ken Wilber.  Modern reductionist perspectives have shown no interest.  Google “threefold parallelism” and fewer than 500 websites are displayed.

This work has detailed a hypothesized dynamic that connects biology, society and ontogeny.  Personal experience or biography might also be available to the integration, but I’m thinking that conventional models of personal transformation can be re-examined to accommodate the estrogen/testosterone, three-level, environmental dynamic outlined in this work.  Different psychotherapeutic intervention theories seem to often be characterized by a theory or metaphor system accompanied by specific techniques to achieve their personality transformation goals.  I’m more than rusty.  Familiar with a number of these models from my studies in the 70s and early 80s, I have had no contact with what has emerged in the last 25 years.

Mostly I studied the humanists, such as Berne, Janov, Maslow, Pearls and Rogers.  I read Jung, of course.  Toward the end of my studies, I immersed in Erickson and hypnotherapeutic models.  I was very influenced by NLP, reading literally everything that was published by the neuro-linguistic programming school up through 1983.  I also respected the work of Ida Rolf and the body work theorists.

The question is:  What interesting or useful patterns might the theory that has been emerging on these pages find among these psychotherapeutic intervention models?

Let’s go exploring.


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