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Within a single lifetime our physical environment has been changed almost beyond recognition. Yet there's been little corresponding change in how we as individuals relate to the world and experience reality. New tools and techniques of the human potentiality on out and presenting to us an exhilarating and dangerous frontier renewing in our minds the old questions what are the limits of human ability the boundaries of the human experience. What does it mean to be a human being. Someone our big server a series of discussions focusing attention on the frontier of human development presented in cooperation with the SLN Institute of Big Sur California said it would studies those trends in religion philosophy and the behavioral sciences which emphasize the potentiality of human existence. Today we present a conversation with Dr. Sidney Girard professor of psychology at the University of Florida on the subject of disclosure and authentic dialogue. Dr.
Gerard talks with Wade springboard of the KSK accept am staff director of the sun. The central theme of the of your seminar that Savan been presented this spring at the Aspen Institute has been in the area of personal encounter and also the question of our going to dialogue. Now you have described these areas as the original strike go down like the experiences one. What did you mean by that. Oh right about like in the sense of expanding awareness expanding beyond just that the psychedelic drugs that people are taking to me represent a kind of a response or protest to an experience of one flower beds confining and limiting limiting exploring and
limiting behavior. And drugs like LSD and so on. I have the effect of releasing the personal experience from the find. But there are a lot of unfortunate side effects of the drug that I have very mixed feelings about. People becoming addicted not the bit you waited but reliant upon them to open up their awareness to the possibility. And it's perfectly obvious that revenge cirith. The dialogue between from him like Socrates and any one of the people with exactly a common consciousness expanding experience of any good teacher is a kind of psychedelic engine for good people and the whole notion of dialog as described by Martin Goober has been the theme of broadening
one but we're in a king mood you're in with a new way to train and heal but shatter wounds you know you were limits when you knew I lived about them about other people in the world. But of course there are a lot of factors that predominant dialogue in this thing from coming into being. Robert rock writers are you thinking about here dark and you're right it was one of them courses the person concept of themselves we acquire a way of thinking of our thout and any appearance that comes to that. Right and if you have come back we need to be blunt about it. Some of those if we can a place to live are somehow going to be by others in a certain limited way and this is one of the most powerful
resister to our own personal growth in the dialogue. But you can go on but people come to know and going another are going the possibility that exuberance will come into being and people you know trust one another they were blotted out and. This is effectively what happens in good personal counseling or like a therapy. But it also happened in the open dialogue between friend. Or between teacher and pupil. The experience of a new way to think and feel which are threatening to the person in whom it happens it hurts because it doesn't feel like him. Well but if the situation feel great then confirming he will acknowledge the new experience and.
Reshape his image of him. Well in the light of that new experience and that growth. I'm not sure that I understand completely what you mean by this closure. Simply revealing to another person the truth of your own being at that moment in words or action or emotion whatever your experience is at that moment. To misquote that show up to the other person in the appropriate Adium. It To different from being a blabber mouth. Right now I'm disclosing my thoughts about this world or to you who are interested and it's relevant for me to talk about it. And I'm speaking the truth of my experience the best as I know it in my email for you to know me as I am in that respect just now.
That's not a very technical definition I felt it was there but that's what it is. Now up what would be the difference between self disclosure within within the context of the psychotherapy situation of the hard and soft disclosure. So between two friends or are we talking about basically the same disclosure here. The exactly the same the only difference between the piece writing is what the two people come together for in the first place. And at least for the sake of purpose they come together because that one person is seeking help and he believes he can get it from the other person. But the dialogue world under the under that threat toward that end. When two friends come together they come together for containing shipper to work on a project together or something at the start and whether or not they have dialogue.
Depends how they are with one another whether they aim to be known one to the other or whether into one of them. If that were secretly sworn that he is going to appear in one way and only one way to the other. But of course in vital friendships and love relationships. Where the real dialogue is full of surprises and each person will be the prize and sometimes frightened and sometimes delighted by what emerges from the other. As with dialogue I'm both. I think the absence of dialogue between the husband and wife where each one tries to appear today is the person he was yesterday because he's afraid of how his wife might react if he removed changes in his experience makes that marriage relationship
kind of a drag a bore. And also the fact that it's written people are afraid to show their growth and change one to the other honestly. And they try to appear year after year as they were. This can certainly Second I think really spiritually psychologically. And make them want to get out of this situation will be a case of dialogue not authentic. But what other kind of situations would you call or would you describe as being not authentic dialogue. Oh the slogan I'm trying to seem like it's and we're into the person to a customer. The minute we try to appear like a sanctimonious thing to his congregation the preacher who tried to appear in some
rule or other and I would need to be thinking in that role is actually caring I would kind of shy rob a play again rather than appearing as a growing vital person with new possibilities emerging. When they emerge. We're under a terrific amount of pressure that we can you know we're not you know Arthur via the in any of the diety to limit our action and our expression to whatever range to fit the social definition of the of the role and if you yield to it then inevitably there comes a time when you're authentic being is out of whack with the rule that you're supposed to enact before others. And at that
point you get a person. Who is increasingly under strain. He looks looking around for all. The the all-American smile where everybody is proposed to be happy and they go around the Falls mile on their faces. It's sort of a group in front of the funniness. In fact the thing that amazes me is that when you actually invite people into mutually self-disclose in dialogue. There is usually a reaction first of all of terror when the person who has been invited and then it turns out to be a safe situation where nothing horrible is going to happen if he shows himself to be other than the way he's been mean.
Then it's a tremendous relief for the person to find someone who is interested in what if experience isn't what it could be him. And then of course very often who after this period of authentic the closure of the well who will often be a painting. My God what did I say. And who are the bad fellow anyway and is he going to do that again. Me Will I get blackmailed will I be right or will I be divorced if that comes out. We're going to meet particularly with with the young adult generation today there are many attempts to get at this problem of self-disclosure and I think for instance that the whole area of this affect her relationships like a revolution
the question of intimacy in the area of the. The and with the with the Beat Generation Occupy thing to be one's self and this growth winds up honestly. How would you evaluate these and other types of attempts to be oneself in this growth and self honestly isn't honest with him. I think you know I'm sure many many reigning for intimacy to happen and there is the verbal intimate of arm a dialogue between two people. And. The intimacy of critical dialogue between two person dialogue. Is communication and you communicate in many modes with a cop with a look they two expressions words. Action. And certainly factuality part of it and a
man and a woman meet and they experience whatever their authentic feelings might be and if they follow the unfolding of their being as it changes from minute to minute they will disclose their wishes and also their moral commitment and their conflicts and so on. Whether or not a meeting between a man and a woman culminate in bed is a function of a lot of. Factors including the moral commitment for each person or ethical commitment the person has made and what their authentic feelings are. I think. The beatnik hippie and go on in from ways are much more honest. People.
Than many here with little cold squares truer to their feeling. Whether or not the sexual relationship that they meet evolved with another person develops into a responsible loving kind of thing depends on who the people are. I've seen a lot of beatnik marriages that are casual superficial cases of people using one another through their marriages without benefit of ceremony. And I've also seen a lot of beatnik marriages where a man and the woman are living together. Concerned about one another on a good one another. Even monogamous. Momentarily monogamous. Which is a lot more than you can say for a lot of. Legal marriages where there's the friend went from the Sharada of loyalty devotion and so on but it's an act that. Both
parties on the slide are really meekly. Playing around a bit. Would indicate anything about or do you have any feelings about the marriage relationship. You know I think it's clear that every group to date it's one of the most serious threat critical however and I don't like the mental health because that word or the primitives. It's a serious manner. To Jory in reading and personal growth because of it. We experiment with everything nowadays in the way we experiment with methods of transportation we experiment with methods of communication. We don't experiment with waiting. For men and women and children to live together with one another and we have a third pattern.
Of formal pattern of marriage. And parent child relationship that people feel obliged to conform to. Absolutely and we even experience the least bit of protest against that. Very. They have been bred to believe that they're either evil or man and other people will regard them as evil or mad if you hear from Personally I think. Marriage stinks. And there are times when I can't stand the company of my wife and children. There are lots of people who if they heard someone say that they would think there was something seriously wrong with him. And if someone felt these things himself he would think my heavens I've got a lovely wife and I got the right number of children and the right kind of and the right kind of neighborhood and I'm miserable there must be something wrong with me and so he trots to the nearest
psychiatrist and doped himself up with a tranquilizing and instead of paying attention to the protests that he is experiencing. The discontent the boredom the anger he blocks about. And goes on living in a very badly run producer writer is marvelous at describing and in due course he will suffer from a heart attack or become so confused we've been out of touch with him now that then someone will call him truly mad. A proper alternative. And this is one that I encourage in people who confront with me. I used to call them patients right. I feel now it's better to regard them as fellow seekers or people or something of the sort to get rid of this miserable connotation of mental sickness which is pretty easy as they say.
I encourage them to start finding out how much elbow room is there within the formal institution of marriage and family living. With a bit of experimentation and honesty and goodwill it will be possible for a man and a woman and their children to live together not necessarily always under the same roof. Without destroying one another. And there's a fine pass to garage idea of possible ways that different people have invented. And what is really princesses is any discouragement that comes from society. Neighbors the church the various preferred profession. Again this kind of responsible experimentation. I think anybody could beat me. We are experimenting in the most pioneering way imaginable very experimenting with waiting to live
with one another. And. I think rather than. To see. The odd characters. As rabble or people who are a threat and menace to society we should get down on the knees and thank the Lord that there are some people courageous enough to pull out the usual patterned ways of living and explore a new way. Because they are going to wind up our teachers. As more and more people find the usual married. Marriage and Family way to live a miserable and much more connected with. Keeping the whole social system unchanging and then it connected with meeting individual needs for Growth intimacy
satisfaction. And so on. Do you file a program at the Aspen Institute which you participate in one residential seminar was devoted to the question of human potentiality. I'm wondering in the context in which we've been talking. If there are in terms of the potential run what do you think are the limitations of self-disclosure is that limited at which each person draws a line and how far they will go and disclosing themselves. And is there also a personal capacity which each one has for disclosure. Yes I think it will insofar as any two people are concerned the limit of. Dialogue mutual self-disclosure is the point at which you are frantically neither one of them can carry carry it on further just the band either because it's frightening or boring or hurtful
or a change in the interests of the two people who were turned face to face a friend. We now want to turn to other things. In their life. But that's just a situational thing. There's a more basic limit to dialogue I started to coin a new horrible jargon word dialogic capacity. The capacity of a person to enter into and sustain dialogue and in principle we were actually beginning to do some research along these lines. But the way it shows itself is even in the negative sense a person for example may be able to enter a dialogue with somebody very much like himself in a social background educational level and so on and so. Being honest mutually revealing dialogue for some period of time. But you take somebody outside that narrow
range of his age social class and so on and always capable AV is the impersonal. I'm not of this kind of role playing so that in that book Transparent self I wrote a chapter for nurses or some such title eg. To whom can the nurse give personalized care wouldn't you just substitute. With whom. Can a person enter into dialogue. You can bring. These comments into focus the I spoke of nurses who were able. To give personalized care or entering to a caring dialogue only with white Anglo-Saxon Protestants their own necks and their own needs. And everybody who didn't get banned category get gets only impersonal anonymous formal roleplaying care. And the more a person grows the experience of their own
possibilities in living. The broader the rings of human beings that are able to enter into this kind of dialogue a caring dialogue so far as there is this concern or just dialog so far as people are concerned. Personal Growth and your degree of personal development sets the limits to your capacity for entering into dialogue with other people. I write something or for example usually can enter into a limited level of dialogue with another white southerner. But you bring a negro in and may slip into the formal role of. The negro in the white man and dialog has stopped. Now would you say that we learn that a person would be able to participate in a
and authentic dialogue or let me let me put it this way. What kind of a situation do we have where where there is one person who is open and participating and yet the other person is composed I think of the overload of this the South is closer in terms of social customs. But there are some people whom you could not disclose yourself to because of the limitation is there. There are times and places where authentic disclosure of yourself is almost suicidal. You pay a price for everything. You pay a price for never being disclosing. You pay the price of becoming increasingly a strange from other people. Who lose contact with your present reality. But you're playing it pretty safe in terms of social values. So while you're doing actually is sacrificing your
ability to live. You know ordered to be safe and respectable but it works the other way too. There are times when to speak the truth of your being might cost you in terms of other values so that in this time and in this place with these people you'd be an idiot to disclose yourself and it's much more expedient to play it cool to be cunning. I think. The patience of a seeker if you can felt with me. First of all the possibilities of authenticity where before let's say that they had been compulsive phoneys they never had the experience of being authentic with someone. And then seeing me go around like a newly analyzed patient of Freud or one of the analysts disclosing themselves up down and sideways and getting into all kinds of trouble. With a little bit of
seasoning they can learn to swing both ways so that they at least themselves know. This is an important thing when they're grouping and when they're up frantic. And it's better to be able to swing both ways than be as compulsively ingenuous as candied while other candy out. Or chronically a phony the way I'd say most of us are. Most of the time. It's better to be able to do two things. Is it possible for you to say a little more about this about the techniques of self disclosure. In other words can can we get out and get at the question of an individual who has been operating in terms of many different roles and how you would go about
suggesting to him to disclose himself to the family or through social contacts. How do you how do you begin to work with a with a seeker. The little disclosure the time in certain situations or. You know there's no technique called for. It's a question of intent. If he intending to remain chronically unknown. By the people in his life is he intending to be chronically unknown to me. I aim at becoming known to him and as our conversation unfold he has all the expectations from Hollywood and TV and Topper literature as to what a so-called psycho therapist to supposed to be like. And it's not too long before all these
preconceptions are shattered because we're simply having a conversation. And in this I know. And show you what my being what my intentions are and this is the most powerful kind of invitation to him to dare or to risk. Disclosing himself and given a a bit of mutual goodwill. And a great deal of luck. The person gradually will dare to disclose more and more of the truth of his being to me and he will gradually dare bit by bit especially as he becomes more keenly aware in his own being of the difference between when he's saying what he is supposed to say in his ordinary relationships and what is truly him. Once he experiences the difference between. Being a phony and being
Seminar: Big Sur
Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part one
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program, the first 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: 00:30:39
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Chicago: “Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part one,” 1967-08-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2022,
MLA: “Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part one.” 1967-08-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2022. <>.
APA: Seminar: Big Sur; Psychology of intimacy: Self-disclosure and authentic dialogue, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from