Perls of Wisdom: Introflection, Retroflection, and Other Games People Play

Ken Wilber Audio, Conversations, Perspectives, Psychology Leave a Comment

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In this fascinating audio segment, Ken offers a rare glimpse into an essay he wrote some 37 years ago, titled A Working Synthesis of Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy. And even more thrilling is the insight he offers into the high-level features of these two therapeutic approaches, the role that a defense called retroflection plays in the process of projection, and some of the ways in which we can objectify the role-based psychological games we play while interacting with each other.

Over the last few weeks, some of us who loiter around Ken’s loft have been dealing with a good bit of projection—both giving and receiving, just to be fair. As such, we’ve embarked on a journey to more finely grok the nature of projection as it’s used to defend us against our own split-off shadow elements residing at various structure-stages. More precisely, we’ve been trying to uncover the mechanics of role-based projection, which is one type of psychological defense wielded against unpleasant vertical shadows, often resulting from poor navigation of fulcrums 3 and 4.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, this is what we do for fun.

Anyhow, our search led us back to an old article Ken wrote titled A Working Synthesis of Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy (Click here to download the article). Being less well versed on these topics than we’d like, we asked Ken to drop an info-bomb for the group. The result is this exciting audio segment, which, despite being very recently recorded, offers a rare glimpse into topics Ken first wrote about some 31 years ago. And even more thrilling is the insight he offers into the high-level features of these two therapeutic approaches, the role that a defense called retroflection plays in the process of projection, and some of the ways in which we can objectify the role-based psychological games we play while interacting with each other. To say the least, we’ve been profoundly affected by this exploration—so much so that we had to share the wealth with all of you.

About A Working Synthesis of Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy

by Ken Wilber

Click here to download

This is, I believe, the second paper I ever published, and I was fortunate enough to get it accepted in the prestigious journal Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice. I say “fortunate” because I was, at the time, a dishwasher. But then, I was a dishwasher during the period my first 5 books were published, so what the heck. At the Red Rooster Restaurant, if you can believe that. Finest fried chicken in a five-state area. Lincoln, Nebraska. Don’t ask.

But the paper deals with two of the therapeutic systems that I found incredibly helpful in my own growth and development and shadow work. I guess my mind was already refusing to let psychological models not speak to each other; so I worked out a general synthesis between the two models that I still believe is essentially right on the money. These are also the two schools I would most recommend for shadow work, although there are many others that I would also recommend as being very helpful. And in the last analysis, the best therapeutic system is the one that works for you.

Ken Wilber

About Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.

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