The restoration of contemplation and creative solitude— Josie McSkimming 0

The restoration of contemplation and creative solitude— Josie McSkimming

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This article offers some reflections on a renewed emphasis on imagination and creative solitude within the psychotherapy process. Increasingly, people consult psychotherapists with concerns around the effects of their level of connectedness to social media. The continuous exposure, over-comparing, and self-surveillance demanded by social media may be considered as another set of political sensibilities or social discourses that shape people’s sense of self. This article considers these discourses against a backdrop of the prevailing ‘psy’ discourse, including the potentially deterministic field of neuroscience, along with the compulsory inclusion of ‘mindfulness’ in current psychotherapies.

The stories of two women who desire more creative solitude illustrate their ways of seeing themselves and their struggles differently. Through incorporating the creative ideas of Bachelard and Foucault’s construct of the panopticon (along with dissident counter-conduct), ideas emerge around recreating solitude, reigniting imagination, and incorporating literature into psychotherapy. Not only this, but thought is given to the self-seeing and parrhēsia within Foucault’s later writings which may assist in orienting ourselves as psychotherapists somewhat differently to people’s expressions of resistance to the discourses of compulsory connection to social media and the pathologising of solitude. Creative privacy and solitude may then become more possible in people’s lives.

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