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And I know I make it a point to the human being by and large is basically quipped to be able to handle knocks and bruises and so on from the outside that come from genuine ass. Then we're designing in our body that are within our whole being is designed to cope with the kind of you know rot and erosion that comes from being you know trying to. Can you tell us something about the workshop that you just completed on it. The ethical institute this was devoted to offering you participants an opportunity for the experience of dialogue. The experience of them of a third or intruder in the sharing in a group of the finding people paired up to discover through living through living this dialogue what their personal limitations were to an unfolding dialogue.
Can you say something about this experience at the Aspen Institute the divine years of selection here. I took part in it myself as one of the participants. I'd created some. Little gimmicks or techniques that actually are very promising as research tools as well as ways for people to begin by themselves to experiment a little and find out from experience what their limits are one thing I did when I developed a list of 30 by the personal question and I asked all the participants in the seminar to just check which of these personal questions they had need know because somebody or rather anybody in their life up to now. Then I ask them to check which of them they'd be willing to tell to a stranger that they're meeting for the first time. Today Then I split the whole group up just by drawing means out of
a hat into pairs so that we had men and women together women and women men and I mean young going to war and so on and they went off in pairs. I had two I divided them into two who groups one group I called a touching group and the other group I called a talking group and the touching group they went off in pairs anywhere around the ground and for half an hour one of them silently would give the other one a back rub and then vice versa. But they mustn't talk. The other group would just chat and get acquainted any way they knew how. For an hour after that get acquainted period they checked this with the questions again which of these questions would they be willing to answer to their partner. Then we started the game I guess you can call it given the name of the game of disclosure or they flip a coin. Someone takes the first question and
says All right what are the things that you like or dislike about your appearance that might be the first question. And the other person depending on what he's doing is either talk freely about Dan or he says I decline. Let's say he talks freely so he speaks freely about his experience of his own body and its appearance and so on. Then he asks the same Person of the other of the same question of the other. And he either declines to answer or chooses to answer. But they only choose to answer if they're willing to speak freely and freely about it and answer any further questions that have come up at the top. And this thing went like a house on fire. I had intended only that we would spend an hour there. Well it went for something like six
hours. The other the people still couldn't get through the list of 35 questions. I thought I had to call an arbitrary halt and ask them to at least get a beginning at each of the questions. And this was tremendously illuminating or. All the people that we discovered when we met together as a group and I myself with the part of the person who I chose at random whose name I chose We started out awkwardly and shyly. We were in the talking group and we chatted amiably about one another's background and so on but tremendously awkward Lee. And the first question was addressed to me and I felt resistant that I didn't know whether I wanted to talk about this or not but I received it and then I asked the same question of my partner and the partner
gave back just as freely and by the ended with. We went for about four hours and by the end of those four hours the person and I. Felt tremendously free and open one with the other. We had gone through a lot of anxieties about t do I dare talk freely about it and so on. Well that's that was one procedure. Another thing we tried was to get people again dividing up into pairs. The instruction this time was for the first hour flip a coin and one of you talks about himself anything and everything about himself and the other person can't do anything but Satan or the other person then clammed up. It's your you is the listener it's your privilege to try and encourage him anyway you know how to continue to talk
freely. But that's the extent of your action. Your job is to be a listener and then you play change positions and that to stretch people's capacities build to talk about them south and to listen with their most shot. What websites of what sorts of questions or areas did did you cover and this workshop that would that would bring in this question of self disclosure. In other words I'm interested what and what areas here. One moves into where the question of self disclosure becomes a becomes a very vital question. You know any kind of personal relationship the relationship between friends between members of a family where you're dealing with that
very person then there's no room for a falseness and trying to conform to somebody or other is that you needs as to how you ought to be without the vitality and the. Without that vital aspect of the relationship then husbands and wives parents and children become increasingly strangers and a strange one to the other. And the relationship becomes a show Rod in a relationship between strangers. It's not so necessary in England for example where you get you have a very low degree of general self disclosure compared to what we seem to have in a state to man can work in the same office for 30 years and they have never once spoken about anything personal about their own
being one to the other. They confine the conversation to what's necessary to get the job done then even read one another if they can get the job done. But in the personal relationships if they persist in that way of being then the personal relationships just become another kind of job to get done. And they're not personal relationships. You mentioned that you used an interesting word. Risk hesitation or a feeling of defensiveness. How much of a risk factor is involved in this self disclosure and how do you become attuned to this risk and and how does one begin to make a judgement. You know there's no there's no problem there you feel the risk is seen as your next authentic response to what the other person is saying or
doing or not doing. Me either come forth or you experience a moment of panic and anxiety and replace that authentic response with what is expected what is normal what is polite or what conforms to the image of yourself you've been trying to peddle. The there are risks both risks both ways of course. If you disclose yourself honestly in response to the other person you're continuously going to be changing his image of you because whatever image he had of you is instantly out of date as soon as you reveal this new feeling that in far some past action that was concealed from him and you tell it to him. Then he then each of you get shattered and that I think is as it should be. And by the same token as you me experience itself new boxen in feelings new
intentions come out of you. And if you're at all open your image of yourself gets shattered and has to be reformed to include this new aspect of yourself. Whether or not it's worth the risk of acknowledging your own experience and disclosing it to the other person. I suppose the ability to decide whether or not it's worth the risk is something that grows with practice. It's a matter of wisdom and there's no cheap way to get wisdom and get wisdom but bungling and profiting from your bungled. Maybe this would move us into there and the whole area of mental health which is the term you don't want to use in knowing the context. But I'm thinking that that does this question of self disclosure in a sense
depends a great deal of on what how nice nice a person you think you are and how when disclosing this you're going to reveal this or are as they say to the person now with a nasty rotten person I really have to see. But you can also disclose the kinds of things that you and he might all of which are also true which you and he would both agree are quite saintly features. But let me go back to the business about the mental health issue. Have you ever and I had this experience where you've been consulting somebody who's up to now has been called a psychotherapist but I'd prefer a colony a senior searcher or something. And it becomes known that you've been consulting him and in the medical profession might even give a name to the complaints that you're seeking help for you're called an obsessional or a skit also a character disorder or something.
Then this person who knows what you're seeking psychotherapeutic help begins to look at you different. You're no longer what you say and do is not the action. Of a responsible free person. It's just the it's sort of like POS. It's the excrescence those of this disease that has gotten you hooked and get when once it becomes known. I did have it you have consulted the psychotherapist. Or that you spent some time in. They call it the joint here at Agnew's here called the joint. Your room and your room. From that time onward because from that moment on you're no longer seen by others as a trustworthy responsible person whose views and actions warrant respect you're regarded as someone who is always a razor's edge away from a relapse. And
Lord help us if during the time that you've been in the joint if you've been blasted with electroshock or doped to the gills with tranquilizers then this is very good treatment which is a destructive thing almost guarantees that when you finally do get out of the joint and people do get out of a joint by learning how to impersonate whatever the psychiatrists and psychologists and aides regard as normal behavior. If they're at all cunning they'll learn how to impersonate that so they can finally get out. But if they've been blasted and doped they are reduced human beings. And all of this I feel almost like a fanatic not. It's absolutely unnecessary that we know enough now to dispense with the whole notion of mental illness. Take a good fresh look
at what we expect people to behave like within society are and aim at earning the trust of confused and bewildered people so that they will disclose to us what their experience is and we can help them as teachers not as people who are rooting out some mysterious the disease and so on. In short I think this disease metaphor has served its historical purpose and now it's a pernicious menace. You know you have talked about the depersonalizing effect of psychological research on the subject. And also you were mentioning to me the this whole question of the politics of psychology and psychiatry as fitting into what you're saying. I think for example right now I think the government is very much
concerned with the mind watchers the questionnaires that are being distributed and so on. And I think they're concerned but for the wrong reason as they're speaking about the violation of privacy and this could really gelled serious responsible research. But where I think unwittingly those who object to psychological and psychiatric research are on sound ground is this what you have is people essentially spying on other people in the name of either science or health. The let's say as an investigator I invite you to perform in my laboratory or to fill out my questionnaires and you ask me why should I feel like these questionnaires Why should I work at this gadgetry. And I say well it's to advance science or to help us conquer disease. And this may satisfy you. And so you. Proceed to do
so. But if you look very carefully at what happens to the findings in all kinds of self revealing research what happens is that determine errors in human being sources of regularity in human being. Come forth when you analyze the data. Now this source of regularities makes it possible for the people to know what the determiners are to find some way to manipulate the determiners. You know. Order to get people to be to be and behave in a predictable re. Now any businessman wants to eliminate risk from his business if he can hire a psychologist to tell him what people really want in the way of the color of toilet paper or something of the sort.
He can cut down risk and even 5 percent and he can make a killing on that basis. Right now I'm not actually. I was going to say guilty but I'd rather say proud that I advise people never to allow themselves to be interviewed whether it whether by a public opinion pollster or whether by a consumer research man or a personnel director or an investigator unless that person consents to be interviewed thoroughly and rigorously by you who are you writing you up to. What are the findings for. In what way are they going to help me help me what help me to have more understanding. Of the factors that limit my freedom and existence and help me find ways of fulfilling more of my possibilities. Oh.
If people don't do this they are literally spying on themselves for the benefit of business. The government education institutions all of which have a vested interest in people being as conforming and predictable as they possibly can be. So I find myself a member of a profession that unwittingly and with the best of intentions has actually been helping to reduce human freedom and so I turned. About face and eye Explorer in so far as I'm able. The conditions better affect the way people behave think perceive and so on. But always with a view toward recognizing what these are so that we can play duder with him so that we can transcend them so that we can go beyond. We can choose either to yield to determiners
social pressure past habits unfulfilled needs. I don't know you know to them in which case we are predictable. Or try to understand them and figure out ways of pursuing their own right projects through and around and under these various determiners that make sense. You know you use the term human freedom do you. You're bringing that up a little bit going to go along for you with that. You know I mean something the same as the ancient wise men and men of the East. What they mean when they speak of awakening or liberation liberation from blind automatic unconscious unthinking acquiescence to habit. Biological pressure social pressure and so on. In short liberation from the way of being. That's best called being a robot or
being a dummy being like a machine that's been programmed liberation from that and replacing that with the experience of freedom to choose one's own future goals and projects. You know responsible way. This is what I mean by freedom. We talked a great deal about this. This whole area of self-disclosure you haven't as yet said oh where do you think we are in the American culture for instance in terms of self-disclosure. You've indicated that there's a great deal of roleplaying going on. Do you think many people are able to disclose themselves honestly today. I think that this is an impression which I can make with some. Degree of information about it.
By and large I would say that in American society we are trained and educated within our family and by the schools and by the mass media and fiction and so on to be as phony as a three dollar bill. You know ordered to appear respectable in order to appear like a nice guy you know order to appear consistent. So but in my opinion the offended person the person who when you're with him you're clearing your mind of it he is being authentic. He's an exception fantastically rare bird learning breeds me. Just because it's a place where the possibilities that are
buried under social programming are being invited into experience and the disclosure of this experience. And of course the site is going to need more and more of these places. And as we become increasingly Manda going in the right unlivable as for example I just came back from Pittsburgh and I gave a talk I think I was in had to do with automation and leisure and the theme that I explored is just what in heaven's name is it going to mean when we no longer have to work for our daily bread because machines will be able to do it. Of course since everything alludes family life is related to the industrial life. Education prepares you. Education training prepares you to fit in and so on. Everything will then become irrelevant. And people are going to have to find meaningful and challenging ways to spend their time and this means that everything from
your relationship with one other person who might be a friend or a family member to the way our schools and so on operate will have to change because the aim is not to produce a person who fits our present social system. Our aim will be to produce a person who is able in relation to another not to be one up on him or not to get his help in order to get ahead but instead to enrich the meaning of existence in that hour that will be the purpose. Like in England for example for thousand years one of the biggest crimes you can inflict when you're on duty. Our work is to be a bore to another person. We spend time with another human being. You seek ways to make that hour of mutual interest. And we're going to have to
go back to the Greeks and find out how in their automated society their robots were slaves and women and the grown man became truly educated as her beings physically spiritually. We don't educate here we train people to get ahead and to say we're going to have to confer to the yogis and then Masters and The Artist and the creative scientists and writers to find out how did it happen that you skipped brainwashing to the point where you can actually do something that you're not being immediately paid for and you find it challenging and rewarding and absorbing. It's not a good as the strikes me as a problem in that. So for instance you wrote shop in which people were concerned about offending dialogue. There's another
possible good that you can be involved in a role playing situation in this kind of scene from who. Right I mean they're pretty keen by the time and botting who are the key group box and so on at home. You're one way you're the way you always were and then you come to an LNB and you see my god it's expected of you that you use dirty words or that you express feelings and pain. You slip into that mode and of course but the most common experience for most people I think they're simply being like good other directed people as the recent talks about them. And this is not what I had in mind. There are the possibilities that someone. You mean the new MBM will get rid of
freedom and somewhere get some courage or at least maybe it's just the courage of despair and then they will go with them and they will begin raising hell and everyone will regard them as manned and put pressure on them to go back to the way they were. But they'll discover that if they go back the way they were they're just going to die. They were dead before and they're just waking up and so they redefined their being to others and are strong enough to get others to confirm this redefinition. This is what happens in individual psychotherapy teaching whatever you want to call it. We're involved in a perpetual reverse who's who's going to be fine me me and my emergent experience which I disclosed to you and you confirm it. And if you do you now experience me different than the way you did yesterday or if you have some kind of power over me or I mean what
Ronnie Lang would call ontologically insecure I gingerly put her on these little tendrils of my new growth. And you say you must be out of your mind you're not in your right mind. And I hope you'll come to your senses soon. And what that means actually is I hope you will appear to me the way you did yesterday and there's an implied threat that if you don't I'll fire you divorce you or do something harmful to you. And if you're weak and haven't had encourage men from some teacher other then you yield. This is the fear that it's not only the fear it's what happens to a lot of people who go to workshops they're thinking for something on their or usual way of life is stultifying them. They don't quite know how to get out and they get a group of something down at Big Sur. Everybody wants to stay there forever. But then they turn around to go home and they are the way they were. It may be just a little bit more
discontented and some tiny number maybe 5 percent or 3 percent actually disclose to their home setting the newly emerged changes or changes that had been happening all along but which were just kept suppressed or repressed because it was expedient. They take the lid off and they show who they are and don't know that princes are going to hell within their family and so on. But Greg has just been resentment for that tiny minority. This is been seminar big service during this week a conversation with Dr. Sidney Girard professor of psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Girard has led to seminars and a special workshop at the SLN Institute and is author of personal adjustment the transparent self.
We talked with Wade springboard of the K x K x FM stuff copies of this program are available through the SLN Institute in care of FM 2 8 6. The visit there O Street San Francisco. That's 7am to a six day visit arrow Street San Francisco California. Join us next week at the same time for another seminar a big serve. This program was distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
Seminar: Big Sur
Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part two
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, presents a conversation with Dr. Sidney Jourard, author of Personal Adjustment and The Transparent Self.
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Discussion and lecture series from Esalen Institute at Big Sur, Calif., headed by Michael H. Murphy devoted to exploring the psychological nature of man.
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Producer: Esalen Institute
Speaker: Jourard, Sidney M.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-30-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:28
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Chicago: “Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part two,” 1967-08-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part two.” 1967-08-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from