UPDATE: "And what is that like?"

Typical responses to "And what is the whole thing like are:

  • Feelings about the problem.  "How I feel about the problem."
    This is a meta-position.
  • Consequences of the problem. "How the problem makes me feel."
    This is a cause and effect relationship
  • Examples of the problem.
    These are the symptoms of the problem
  • Diagnosis of the problem. "What I blame for my problem."
    This is the reason why I have this problem.


"I don't like it."
"I get angry at myself."
"I wonder why this is happening to me."
"I'm not the sort of person who normally feels like this or asks for help."


"It makes me depressed."
"I can't maintain a steady job."
"I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning."
"It makes me angry."


"The thoughts race around inside my head."
"My mother doesn't respect me."
"I get depressed."
"I have palpitations."


"It is because of my childhood."
"My chakras are misaligned."
"I have a chemical imbalance."
"I have limiting beliefs."

5 Responses to UPDATE: "And what is that like?"

  1. Adapt says:

    In your Shouting at the Deaf talk you entertainingly and usefully mention a 5th – prolonged discussion of dystopian thinkers with the aim of recruiting you as a philosophical ally

    • andrewaustin says:

      Curiously, I don’t see this pattern at all these days. I think partly because through my presenting behaviours I no longer appear to be the sort of person that anyone would want as an ally to such a philosphy.

  2. jdavie999 says:

    Is it a boundary violation or an acceptable container metaphor:
    Sitting in a fetal position. Cannot move. Surrounded by an oval egg shaped “force field”.
    Feels like someone is banging on metal behind her with a baseball bat. When I ask where is the metal sound coming from? The answer is “it’s the force field”.
    When I ask her to stand up, she gets up and spits fire at the person knocking with a baseball bat. The fire goes through the force field. Yet it is a separation and she or the attacker cannot go through the force field.
    The forcefield lets fire through.

    • andrewaustin says:

      I’m still unsure about forcefields. The general guideline is that things within metaphor will follow the accepted laws of physics. But the problem is, movies have made certain things accepted as real within the culture even if they aren’t true. For example, common themes in my childhood TV favourites were oxygen pills (that was how they stayed under water so long), forcefields and quicksand. Quicksand was everywhere.
      So, in answer to your question, I don’t actually know.
      My temptation would be to treat it as a boundary violation – i.e. she is trapped by something that she doesn’t really understand, she just has a child-like notion about it, but she is basically wrong.

  3. Alan Phillips says:

    I tried this out with a “Guinea Pig”

    Gosh it was hard as they kept giving the 4 normal responses. They got quite annoyed and then said “Oh god it’s like being on a rollercoaster”.

    So, yes agreed if I do this work I need to set up the “what is it like” much better

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *