by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 117 (May/June 2013)
We would very much like to consult with a good, qualified psychoanalyst who has good working experience with the individual and group facilitation techniques of classical psychoanalysis and with such classical projective techniques and instruments as the Rorschach.
Could you, Gentle Reader, put us in touch with someone who has significant actual working experience with the Rorschach, who might be willing to co-author with me an application of that projective phenomenon to Creative Problem-Solving (CPS)?
Or perhaps you yourself might be willing and qualified to explore this with us and help to write it up. We have found other ways to apply the same projective principles to CPS—going to more sensitive and intense levels on the same kinds of problems which standard forms of CPS address—witness our “twinpack” of procedures known as CrabApple and Problem-Solving Woodswalk laid out in specific steps in Winsights No. 56, Working with Metaphor.
We are looking to construct yet another new dynamite method for solving problems, to add to the hundreds of good methods for creative problem-solving (CPS) already in professional practice around the world. Since learning-with-actual-understanding is, like creative problem-solving, a matter of figuring things out, we see with this project much wider-than-usual opportunity for helping people generally, and professional advancement for those whom we choose as co-author(s) in this inquiry.
Or, figure out on your own what can be done by having clients focus the objective, CPS-type problem into the back of their mind and hold it while they examine the Rorschach or other projective instrument and report what they see there. In other words, the type of problem that can be solved with this approach can be broadened far beyond the deep-seated personal-emotional problems at which the Rorschach and psychoanalysis are conventionally aimed.
Beyond problems, innovation, invention, the arts, technical and scientific issues, practical issues on the job or in the firm or enterprise or career and profession—even world problems of common concern and most worthy to be solved—can be deeply and sensitively drawn into conscious focus where they can be gotten at and acted upon.
We are already seeing what happens when one brings the group and/or individual facilitation techniques of Creative Problem-Solving (CPS) itself into the search for understanding, or into learning-with-understanding. We have devised and are publishing ways to apply CPS-type facilitation techniques (with Socratic Method being perhaps the original CPS method) such that anyone using them can better than double the advance of his or her intellectual progress (and enjoy every minute of it!).
An example of the tested results thus far is published here for the St. Andrew’s Country Day School. We’ve more since, from a much wider range of educational levels situations, which we will soon post similarly.
Please pass the word, especially on our invitation to other sources of facilitation techniques, sources which might help co-author much broader programs.
What do you think of the idea for using the facilitation techniques of classical psychoanalysis as both a problem-solving method and a tool for understanding and improved learning-with-understanding? Who or what might be a good source for an exposition of those psychoanalytic facilitation techniques, which could be used in co-authored books on CPS and on educational method? Besides CPS itself and psychoanalysis, can you suggest other good sources of facilitation techniques which we could aim, together with Socratically evocative questions, at varied students with even more varied backgrounds, from which they need to make connections in their own most meaningful experiences, with current learning materials?
Significance of that last question—
- The educational psychology paradigm includes the at least partially true assumption that learning is a matter of making connnections between current learning materials and other elements of one’s own experience. This concern is even stronger among the Constructivists who, we think, see some of the key aspects of human development.
- For learning to be meaningful and therefore useful, the connections need to be to some of the more meaningful aspects of one’s own experience, and this is a highly individual matter.
- It is, therefore, more useful to facilitate students into making their own connections than to break out the cookie-cutter for one-size-fits-all. That is why existing sources of good techniques for facilitating groups and individuals (and oneself!) could, we believe, be used to save our schools and school systems and convert them into truly educational systems.
- Why Socratic? Socratic Method was, in effect, the first CPS system. In any event the learners, in their struggle to make good answer to the Socratically evocative question, problem posed, or argumentative challenge, have often to search deeply into (and thus reinforce) their own first-hand awareness and experience, which is indeed a highly individual matter.
Can you see, from the above case and from the test results gotten thus far, why we see here a great point of leverage from which to widely improve human conditions? Add to that the easy tactics strategy we have devised for making this resource very accessible to people, and we have at least part of the answer for the conditions which have defeated every other meaningful educational method reform to come along in the past century. We have a real chance for making a meaningful positive difference. Whatever you can tell about psychoanalytic facilitation techniques and tactics can, I believe, improve even that already very good chance.
PS— Nearly a dozen of our previous efforts at co-authoring have turned out pretty well also for all concerned.