Četvrtak23 Novembar 2017

Mentalization – the articulator of the psyche

Mentalization is the term which was introduced into the psychoanalytic literature by Peter Fonagy and Anthony Bateman. It stands for the ability to reflect upon and to understand state of mind of oneself and others, to have insight into what one is feeling, and why.  Mentalization allows us to perceive and interpret human behaviour in terms of intentional mental states (needs, desires, feelings, beliefs, goals, purposes, and reasons).

Mentalization has implications for attachment theory as well as self-development.  Secure attachment refers to a child’s emotional connection with his parent/primary caregiver that begins at birth, develops rapidly in the next two years and continues developing throughout life. Secure attachment bond is a precondition for properly developed mentalization.  It helps children learn how to pay attention to their mental states, and to understand what they are experiencing. 

If early caregivers are unable to reflect on children's state of mind or when a feedback to children is either missing or inaccurate, children are unable to fully develop the capacity to mentalize. 

According to Fonagy, mentalizing is crucial to our well-being.  It gives us a sense of identity as well as a feeling of self-agency.

It is one of the first emotion processing capabilities we should develop on our way to well-balanced life.

When mentalization is fully developed, one could recognize, process and understand their own and other people’s emotions. One the other hand, when underdeveloped, one would have difficulties in understanding their own and other peoples behaviours, stances and global functioning. They could also lack words for emotions, misinterpret them and/or misinterpret the meaning of emotion triggers.

Neutralization – the regulator of the psyche

Neutralization is the process by which libidinal and aggressive impulses lose their instinctual qualities. Viewed this way, neutralization appears synonymous with deinstinctualization. Neutralization leads to neutral energy as opposed to instinctual energy and this energy fuels Ego functions.

According to Hartmann (Hartmann, 1939) "Neutralization actually strips the drives of their sexual and aggressive qualities. Those energies then become conflict free or autonomous and available for use by the ego; they become secondary autonomous functions. Such ego functions become independent from the id and the ego can use the available energies in the service of adaptation and mastery. In the case of secondary autonomous functions, the energy was neutralized, the conflict removed, and the ego function then contributes to adaptation". 

When neutralization is fully developed, one could transform sexual and aggressive energy and use them for rational thinking, problem solving and goals setting.

If neutralization is underdeveloped, people tend to get irrational, paranoid and impulsive. They are likely to see either erotization or aggression in their environment.

Object wholeness – the glue of the psyche

Object wholeness is the term introduced by Melanie Klein.

It is the ability to maintain the wholeness of various aspects of experience (positive and negative) of other people, oneself and reality.

The term „object“ refers to another person as well as a thing or a circumstance which we either love or hate.

The wholeness of object stands for our ability to perceive and accept other people, things and circumstances, goals, work and activities as whole.

It is the ability to maintain the awareness of all aspects of the world around us.

It also represents the capability to accept the reality in its full complexity. Since nothing and no one is ideally good or all bad, one should learn to perceive and accept all the aspects of the inner and outer phenomena.

When object wholeness capability is developed, one could remain calm even in high-stress situations. A person with fully developed object wholeness capability believes in people and is basically optimistic even when under stress and feeling negative emotions. Fully developed object wholeness protects against impulsivity and overwhelming emotions.

When this fundamental emotion processing capability is underdeveloped, a person tends to get impulsive, overwhelmed by euphoria or a whole set of negative emotions (such as anxiety or anger), and they also tend to use splitting -- a form of primitive defence mechanism -- also called black and white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking.

Object Constancy – the stabilizer of the psyche

Object constancy is an emotion processing capability which starts its development in our early years and could be established by the age of three. Object constancy could be described as a capacity to understand that ‘out of sight' doesn't mean ‘out of mind'.

It describes the phase in which a child understands that the mother is a separate individual with her own identity. This insight leads to internalization, which allows the child to make the internal representation of the mother.

Margaret Mahler claimed that the object constancy is the capacity to recognize and tolerate loving and hostile feelings toward the same object; the capacity to keep feelings centered on a specific object; and the capacity to value an object for attributes other than its function of satisfying needs.

The developmental achievement is an individual identity with stable internal representations of self and others. This achievement is a prerequisite for the capacity to form one-to-one relationships where separation is not experienced as abandonment and closeness does not represent engulfment.

When object constancy is developed, an individual could tolerate solitude, as they are never really alone due to their internalized connections with their objects. People with fully developed object constancy have stable inner representations of themselves and others, which means that they can tolerate separateness and achieve and maintain an optimal distance towards other people and goals. They can set long term goals and, regardless of rewards, keep them in mind and work on their realization.

On the other hand, when object constancy is underdeveloped, people are emotionally dependent on others and/or rewards of outer stimuli. They lack the inner connectedness, hence the inability to function in a well-balanced way when alone. Their neediness leads them to many problems, such as paranoia, sadomasochistic relationships, inability to grieve, clinginess, and variety of personality disorders.

Frustration tolerance – the immunity of the psyche

Frustration tolerance is another emotion processing capability which, alongside ambivalence tolerance, helps us best in distinguishing normality from pathology or abnormality.

Frustration tolerance is the ability to endure the tension and remain calm when met with obstacles.

Nowadays (In the era of CBT) it is very popular to connect low frustration tolerance (LFT) with a certain nonresistant and irrational set of thoughts. Nevertheless, LFT is a much deeper state connected to all the other emotion processing capabilities and it represents our mental immune system. As frustrations are inevitable part of life, frustration tolerance is a competence we need to start promoting early in our development, yet continue developing it throughout the life. 

O. L. I. method teaches us how to recognize different types of frustrations, as well as how to manage them. 

Highly developed frustration tolerance helps us cope with stress without developing inadequate modes of response, such as “going to pieces” emotionally (losing the object wholeness). It is a feature of normal cognitive and affective development.

Low frustration tolerance stands for weakened mental immunity, meaning that a person with low frustration tolerance often feels that they cannot stand the pain, discomfort of some other kind of frustration. They literary think they would not bear the stress as they do not believe they are strong enough to fight the stressors. 

Ambivalence tolerance – the orientation of the psyche

As Freud used to define it, “Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity”.  The interpreters of his work know he actually used the term ambiguity as a synonym for ambivalence.

In psychology, ambivalence is defined as the mental disharmony a person may feel when having both positive and negative feelings regarding the same individual/object. Ambivalence was used by Freud to indicate the simultaneous presence of love and hate towards the same object. Ambivalence also refers to situations where mixed feelings are experienced, or where a person experiences uncertainty or indecisiveness. It is easily spotted it everyday communication in sentences such as: “On the other hand…”, “Yes, but…”, “A part of me would like to change, but…”, “This is who I am, I do not think I could change…”.

O. L. I. method described several types of ambivalence and distinguished ambivalent emotions from ambivalent thinking and behaviours, in order to facilitate therapeutic work with this fundamental emotion processing capability. In the same manner like with previous emotion processing capabilities, ambivalence tolerance is described when properly developed and underdeveloped.  

When ambivalence tolerance is underdeveloped, a person is indecisive, incapable to face antagonistic emotions towards someone of something (or their own Self) and equally incapable of decision making, choosing one between two alternatives, is unable to make up their mind and be determined.

Adult decision making encounters cost and benefit analysis and sincere dealing with all the antagonistic emotions one has toward the object (Self or the world).

When ambivalence tolerance is properly developed, one could make up their mind calmly, aware of consequences and ready to take the responsibility for them. This means that individual is capable of creating and maintaining meaningful cohabitation/coexistence with others, without excessive usage of defence mechanisms, as such person can tolerate negative feelings toward their loved ones, for they predominantly are the loved ones.

Will – the engine of the psyche

In O. L. I. method, will stands for the capability to invest mental energy into making plans and acting upon them. It refers to continuous efforts to achieve developmental goals.  The capability of will represents a person's ability to develop into an independent individual. It can be seen as a deep, internal focus (or intentionality) toward goals.

O. L. I. method teaches us how to differentiate between will and desire. While desire originates from Id, willpower is a part of an Ego. Desire is childish and creative, but it remains unfulfilled without the willpower. In order to live a fulfilled life, one needs the will to turn desire into real-life experience.

When properly developed, the capability of will supports developmental objectives, while underdeveloped will can lead to manipulation and parasitism at the expense of others.

Properly developed will goes hand in hand with the process of individuation.

Without the maturity of will people are either lacking energy necessary to continuously support their desires and goals or they could get manipulative and may tend to intrusively force others to obey to their will.

Initiative – the actuator of the psyche

Initiative is the last fundamental emotion processing capability. In O. L. I. method it is called the actuator of the psyche as it represents the ability to start something independently and to take the first step toward an action plan.  Basically, it stands for willingness to get things done and take responsibility. It can be described as the ability to recognize what needs to be done and deliberate action to do that.

As in previous cases, O. L. I. method teaches us how to make a difference between properly developed and mature initiative and underdeveloped or defective one.

Probably the most specific feature of healthy developed initiative is the ability for reciprocity. Defective initiative can either be expressed as a withdrawal from any risk taking situations or as ruthless exploitation of others.

Initiative, when developed, is expressed as proactivity, self-confident risk taking and gentle attitude towards possibility to make mistakes and fail. People with mature initiative tend to cooperate with other in order to get things done. They are prone to make decisions, act upon them and lead others. Such people are full of energy necessary to accomplish their goals. Others are usually happy to follow them as they look like they know what they are doing, they are protective of their ideas, followers and partners and courageous to stand up for they believe in.

On the other hand, defective initiative does not support developmental goals and has no sense for reciprocity. People with defective initiative either tend to use and exploit others in order to achieve their goals, or they lack initiative and energy to set and achieve goals. They might be afraid to independently commit themselves to goals and stand up for them.

Either way, they do not have a healthy sense for reciprocity and healthy feelings of purposefulness.

O. L. I. Integrative Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

O.L. I. is an abbreviation of

Obtaining Legitimate Identity by Overcoming Latent Illusions

O. L. I. method is founded by Nebojša ​ ​ Jovanović, a psychotherapist from Serbia.

​O.​ L. I. Integrative Psychodynamic Method is a new approach to psychotherapy with fundamentally psychodynamic orientation. It is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of various therapies. O. L. I. practitioners take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole (at the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and conative levels of functioning) and psychotherapeutic techniques should be tailored to their individual needs.

Theoretically, O. L. I. method is based on the integration of four psychoanalytic psychologies — Freudian psychology ("classical psychoanalytic theory"), Ego psychology, object relations theory and Self psychology. Each approach provides a partial explanation of behavior and each is enhanced when selectively integrated using the model of integration that O. L. I. method offers.

The working model of O. L. I. method is also integrative. By integrating the most useful aspects of the major approaches, a plan for action emerges. When practicing O. L. I. method, the use of diverse techniques of various psychotherapeutic approaches (psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, bioenergetics, NLP, "focusing", biofeedback and neurofeedback, REBT, client-centered) in combination with techniques that have emerged within the O. L. I. method is encouraged.

O. L. I. method – basic concepts

The groundwork for the integration of techniques arisen from different psychotherapeutic concepts is based on the fundamental emotions processing capabilities — basic emotional competencies.

Basic emotional competences are the very heart of O. L. I. method. They are listed below:

  1. Neutralization and mentalization capabilities (which in O. L. I. method are labeled as regulator and articulator of the psyche)
  2. Object wholeness (the glue of the psyche)
  3. Object constancy (the stabilizer of the psyche)
  4. Ambivalence tolerance (the orientation of the psyche)
  5. Frustration tolerance (the immunity of the psyche)
  6. Will (the engine of the psyche)
  7. Initiative (the actuator of the psyche)

The techniques of various psychotherapeutic approaches are used in sessions only if they can contribute to the development of some of these emotional competencies. O. L. I. method promotes the well balanced functioning of basic emotional competences in order to achieve and maintain our full potentials. Freud claimed that „Normality is the ability to love and to work“. According to O. L. I. method, fully developed basic emotional competences are the precondition for the development of love and work capabilities.

Fundamental emotion processing capabilities as an integrative foundation of O.L.I. method

Fundamental emotion processing capabilities as an integrative foundation of O.L.I. method

What is O. L.I. Integrative Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

O. L. I. is the abbreviation of Obtaining Legitimate Identity by Overcoming Latent Illusions

O. L. I. method is an innovative approach to psychotherapy, counselling and life coaching, with predominantly psychodynamic orientation. Its theory is based upon integration of four psychoanalytic psychologies: Drive psychology (classical psychoanalytic theory), Ego psychology, Object relations psychology and Self psychology.

The emotion processing fundamental capabilities theses, extracted from the theories mentioned above, are the theses O. L. I. method is based on. The method of working with clients is likewise integrative, as it includes the techniques and skills originally established in variety of other psychotherapy approaches (such as: Psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy, Transactional analysis, Bioenergetics, NLP, Focusing, Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, REBT etc. ) combined with the techniques and skills emanated from O. L. I. method, such as “O. L. I. personality development protocols”, “Basic emotionalcompetencies development protocols”, “Emotive accounting” and the “Mathematics of Psychology”… (Jovanović, 2013).

Nevertheless, O. L. I. method is not an eclectic, but an integrative approach. The model of fundamental emotional competencies is the integration foundation for the variety of other psychotherapy approaches, techniques and skills. The core postulate of O. L. I. method is “No tools, no work”, meaning that people cannot change if they do not develop or unblock their basic “life tools”. These tools are emotion processing basic capabilities, i.e. emotion processing psychological software (as emotions are information processing form). The bugs or viruses in these executive programs lead to unhealthy emotions, faulty perception and irrational interpretation of relations with the Self, the others and the world. O. L. I. psychotherapist works with two levels: the level of content and the level of process. By listening the content of clients’ problems, talking to them about this content, their life events, their relations and love and work problems, O. L. I. psychotherapist pays profound attention to the specific patterns and manners in which a client processes his experiences, as well as emotions triggered by these experiences.

Therapy techniques emanated from different approaches are used inwork with clients if they can contribute to development of a certain emotion processing fundamental capability. This represents the integration foundationof techniques from different approaches, whether they originate from psychodynamic, behaviour or any other psychotherapeutic approach.

O. L. I. method focuses on two main, composite capabilities: capability to work and capability to love. These two broad compoundlife handling capabilities are, like “Lego-bricks”, built of a certain number of smaller, much simpler bricks – basic emotional competencies:

  1. Neutralization and mentalization capabilities (which in O. L. I. method are labeled as regulator and articulator of the psyche)
  2. Object wholeness (the glue of the psyche)
  3. Object constancy (the stabilizer of the psyche)
  4. Ambivalence tolerance (the orientation of the psyche)
  5. Frustration tolerance (the immunity of the psyche)
  6. Will (the engine of the psyche)
  7. Initiative (the actuator of the psyche)

If any of these “bricks” areomitted, the psyche remains defective (i.e. a person misses a part of the Self). Love and work capabilities are damaged.

If the neutralization capability is in an inchoate form, a person is guided by their urges and drives (“they lose their minds”). A person gets impulsive, irrational and unarticulated.

If a “glue of psyche” – object wholeness is damaged or not fully formed, maintaining the broader picture of reality, Self and object is impossible. The inner world of a person is split off and divided into a black and white clusters, the world of evil and good (a person is untogether, their perspective is either all positive or all negative, they either idealize or hate…).

Without the object constancy, i.e. the capability which ensures our emotional stability, people get unstable, codependent, needy and tend to cling onto others.

If frustration tolerance is underdeveloped, a person is not psychologically immune to inevitable life frustrations, love and work capabilities are, logically, undeveloped and immature, and such person can easily get extremely stressed out, crashed when under pressure.

If ambivalence tolerance is underdeveloped, a person is unable to make decisions and stick to them, is incapable to face antagonistic emotions towards someone of something (or their own Self) and equally incapable of resolution reaching, choosing one between two alternatives, is unable to make up their mind and be determined.

If will capability is underdeveloped, a person is lacking energy necessary to continuously support their desires and goals. If initiative is not fully developed, a person is reactive, without the key for their psychological engine. A person with underdeveloped initiative needs someone else to get her move forward.

All the mentioned emotion processing capabilities are intertwined, mutually connected and in a reciprocal relationship. The following diagram depicts their mutual and reciprocal connection:


Fundamental emotionalcompetencies are our life handling tools. Each of them is a tool which can be used for healthy management of a certain type of anxiety. If underdeveloped or defective, each of fundamental emotion processing competences may be followed by a specific type of anxiety, which then is difficult to overcome. (Senić& Jovanović, 2011). Hence, the psychotherapy approach is defined by the anxiety type connected to the specific problem occurred in an emotional competence that should be mended, unblocked and/or developed. The following text will introduce us with the fundamental emotive tools and specific anxieties which could emerge from their faultiness.

Neutralization and mentalization -overwhelming anxiety

If neutralization capability is undeveloped (Hartmann, 1939, 1950, Kris, 1951) a person is enslaved by their urges and drives, unable to “get their head around”. A person gets impulsive, irrational and unarticulated. If mentalization capability (Fonagy, 2001, 2002, 2003) is underdeveloped or unformed, people could not mentally process their impulses and behaviours and are beside themselves as if something horrible is about to happen. People then tend to cork up their feelings as they are incapable of understanding them, as well as they are incapable of recognizing their own mental states and processes. When a person verbalizes their problem, they say something like: “ This is stronger than me”, “ I do not know why, but I cannot control myself as if something has overtook me” or “Something came over me”…

Overwhelming anxiety is connected to “obsessiveness”, ideas of “craziness” and losing one’s mind”, “loss of control” - i. e. diffuse anxiety triggered by one’s own impulses and imagined forthcoming consequences. The common denominator of these anxieties is the flooding and overloading of the organism by too much energy that cannot be integrated and threatens to disorganize the personality.

Object wholeness underdevelopment leads to persecutory anxieties

If object wholeness (Klein, 1935, 1940) “the glue of psyche” is deficient, an ability to see a broader picture and experience the wholeness of the Self, the others, and the rest of the world is impaired. Hence, the experiences are split off (by the primitive defense mechanism known as splitting) and the world is divided into categories of mutually excluded either all good or all bad experiences - “the world of good and evil”. The person is untogether. The basic mental operation in such state of mind is categorization (god or bad, hate or love… mutually excluded polar opposites of feelings, perception and resulting behaviors).

Persecutory anxieties represent the fears of annihilation and disintegration. These anxieties can be pervasive and verbalized as fears of falling apart, disintegrating, going crazy, being destroyed, becoming fragmented. The main defense mechanisms connected to this type of anxiety are the mechanisms of splitting and projection. This case of anxiety could be understood as manifestation of one’s own destructiveness – “I am rotten inside and my malevolence is going to destroy all the good things”.

Object constancy and separation anxiety

Object constancy (Hartmann, 1952) is known as a precondition for our psychological stability, hence, if this emotion processing capability is lacking, a person is unstable, codependent, needy, clinging onto others. A person does not possess a stable mental representation of the object and the Self, and is also incapable for Self-regulation.The “need – fear dilemma” (Akhtar, 1987, 1990, 1994., Burngam, 1969)is pronounced. This dilemma leads to symbiotic desires and, at the same time, to the fear of suffocating, loosing oneself and personality boundaries and one’s Ego in a relationship. Different types of anxieties can be met and dominant in each phase of the object constancy development (Mahler, 1963, 1968, 1974).

In symbiotic phase dominant anxieties are the ones connected to helplessness, universal loneliness, followed by the ideas that the world is empty, devoided and without „objects”. (Akhtar, 1990b., Blum, 1981)

Sub-phase of self and object differentiation is connected to „suffocating anxiety”, followed by the ideas of loosing Self in a relationship“ (Akhtar, 1987; Fairbairn, 1952; Guntrip, 1969)

Reapproaching sub-phase (Akhtar, 1990; Gunderson, 1985; Melges& Swartz, 1989) is connected to anxieties appeared in regard to loss of support. The main idea is that one “cannot go back”, “change one’s mind” and, as a result, the separation guilt arises from this idea.

The separation sub-phase (Winnicott, 1965; Mahler, 1974; Akhtar, 1992) is followed by separation anxieties, which are connected to loss of objects, inabillity to be alone, fear of being alone and on one’s own.

Frustration intolerance produces anxieties connected to failure to tolerate counterreaction (which often is verbalized as „I cannot stand this”)

Without well developed frustration tolerance, a person is not immune to inevitable life frustrations. Hence, work and love capabilities are underdeveloped, and a person cannot stand to work and or to relate to others under pressure.

“Achilles heel” is a specific frustration one could not tolerate, followed by anxieties, which often are verbalized as “This must not happen” or “What if… this and this happens…?”

Specific frustration intolerances i.e. anxieties connected to failure of tolerating counterreaction could be categorised by multiple criteria. If the criterion is classical psychoanalytic drive theory (Freud, 1905), the frustrations are organized around psychosexual developmental stages as a) oral frustrations (frustrated receptive and protection needs) b) anal frustrations (frustrations regarding autonomy, retentiveness and “ownership”) c) phallic frustrations ( exhibitionistic frustrations, rivalry frustrations… ).

Narcissistic needs frustration intolerances (Kohut, 1971.; Wolf, 1980) are recognized as narcissistic hypersensitivity, especially toward narcissistic injuries (the grandiose Self) and injuries toward idealized object (idealized parental imago). Anxieties from this realm are known as narcissistic anxieties and are related to feelings of shame and states of worthlessness.

Ambivalence tolerance – anxieties connected to decision making and fear of making mistakes (Hartman &Zimberoff, 2003).

Withoutthe capability to tolerate ambivalence, a person is indecisive, incapable to face antagonistic emotions towards someone of something (or their own Self) and equally incapable of decision making, choosing one between two alternatives, is unable to make up their mind and be determined. Mature decision making encounters cost and benefit analysis and genuine dealing with all the antagonistic emotions that one experiences toward the object (Self or the world).

If ambivalence tolerance is underdeveloped, we are met with anxieties related to decision making, loss of control, ambivalent emotions toward the object and fears of possible mistakes.

We are also met with anxieties regarding responsibilitytaking.

Will capability – anxieties related to self-support, endurance, stamina…(May, R., 1966; Rank, O. 1972; Assagioli, R. 1973)

Without the mature will, a person is lacking energy necessary to continuously support their desires and goals. A person could also be manipulative and may tend to intrusively force others to obey to their will.

Anxieties related to lack of self-confidence are often noticed through doubtful questions, such as “ can I rely onto my will, self-discipline and endurance…?”

Anxieties related to loss of freedom, autonomy, anxieties about being used, followed by the idea that someone is going to enslave a person, to use them or to subordinate them, are connected to analogous behaviours: a person with underdeveloped will get exposed to be used, so they can oppose to the control.

Initiative – anxieties related to rivalry, showing off “castration anxiety” (Erikson, 1959; Ikonen, 1988.)

Without the maturity of initiative a person is reactive, without the key for their psychological engine. A person with underdeveloped initiative needs someone else to get her move forward. They are afraid to independently commit themselves to a goal and stand for it.

Castration anxiety manifests as a fear of humiliation, degradation, punishment if a person shows off, is exibitionistic or if they want something they believe they should not desire, something they are not entitled to…

Rivalry anxiety is connected to fears of being defeated, impotent (which symbolizes “smaller penis syndrome”). In sum, it represents anxiety about the possibility that the rival is going to win and a person is going to be humiliated.

In Self Psychology, we are also introduced with anxieties regarding narcissistic injuries (Kohut, 1977)

It is hard to live, love and work without fully developedemotion processing capabilities mentioned above. The preeminent element that creates the therapeutic change is the one that empowers a client to develop or unblock the mentioned capabilities. Therapy techniques are sorted by their ability to develop or unblock a certain capability in a particular developmental phase. O. L. I. method conjointly offers an explanatory taxonomy of psychotherapy goals. This taxonomy defines theparticular type of learning which takes place in the psychotherapy process and the distinct capabilities that are activated through a certain form of learning.

Taxonomy of psychotherapeutic goals

Types of learning, knowledge  Fundamental emotion processing competeces
Neutralization and mentalization  Object wholeness Object constancy Frustration tolerance Ambivalence tolerance Will Iniciative
Conceptual Declarative              

The “arsenal“ of capability developing techniques is quite vast, but the psychotherapy techniques are scattered over the different psychotherapy approaches and without a „proper tutorial“ on how to use them, meaning that there isn’t a satisfactory explanation of which technique is meant to be used for what specific problem and when and how it should be applied. In O. L. I. method, we have created a list of techniques originated from various psychotherapy methods (as well as of techniques that we have developed). This list encompasses all the basic emotion processing capabilities associated with the growth assignements, and connects them to the „manual“ on how the techniques can be used to develop certain capabilities.

Nevertheless, in order to make these techniques helpful in developingemotion processing capabilities, it is necessary to apply them through a solid, deep emotional contact with the therapist.

O. L. I. Method is not a technique focused therapy. Matteroffactly, O. L. I. method is a „full contact“ approach. Clients identify with fundamental emotion processing capabilities of a therapist through function transference, i.e. procedural learning (direct internalization of emotion processing functions). One might ask „how could clients internalize emotion processing functions of a therapist if they do not know how they therapist feel, what a therapist does with his functions and emotions, what a therapist think while working with a client...? A therapist cannot be a „blank screen“ onto which clients project ther unconscious fantasies, nor he can be a technician who is only proficient in the relevant skills and techniques and one who passes his vast therapy techniques and procedures knowledge onto clients. A therapist is much more than this. A therapist is prone to self-disclosure, yet only when his self-disclosure is beneficial for clients. He discloses only the aspects of himself which encourage clients to develop their fundamental emotional capabilities. This is not an easy job, for it is a lot easier to hide behind the strict psychotherapeutic role. Notwithstanding, the experience I gained through my work with clients has shown and convinced me that “moments of meeting” “(Stern, 1998) between a client and a therapist are key sourses of a change in therapy. "Moments of meeting" or "now moments" (Stern, 1998) within therapy which contain a moment of emotional truth are seen as highly significant. People are changed by other people with whom they are in a close and intimate relationship. They are not changed by using therapy techniques. The core of education in O. L. I. Integrative Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is the capability approach. An O. L. I. psychotherapist is trained to develop their contact capacities and capabilities, which they could only achieve through personal development of their own fundamental emotion processing capabilities, and on top of this, the love and work capabilities.

Why does O. L. I. method pay a particular attention to emotive processing? In order to clarify this procedure, computer-human comparison will again be offered as a model (people are, of course, much more complex systems than computers are). Nevertheless, when a computer has a bug, a user can notice it on its screen. The screen shows unexpected dots, forms or squares… a user is unable to reada text or see a picture at the computer screen. A user who has some basic IT knowledge does not think that the computer screen is broken. Such user knows that something went wrong with the software (which processes the data and creates what is seen at the screen). Such user may also wonder if there is something wrong with the computer hardware (mechanical part of the computer). When people have problems with the “hardware”, they visit their GP’s, neurologists, surgeons, or other specialist for human hardware (i.e. organs). On the other hand, when people experience problems with their software (the data processing program), they seek psychological help.

The states that people seek help for, are actually – the screen – or “clinical picture” as psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists usually call it. Psychotherapists do not deal with hardware, but with the clients’ capabilities and skills that are underdeveloped. Therefore, we cannot fix someone’s self-esteem or depression or impatience or any other unhealthy or dysfunctional state, nor could we create any of pleasurable states if we first do not fix basic emotion and cognitive processing capabilities, capabilities which are meant to process the psychological data, which then will lead to a positive change of a previously unhealthy state.

People create their states by processing what happens to them. The job of a psychotherapist is to help people to develop or unblock the interfering bugs which have created problems in human software. The human software can be seen as an executive emotion processing program. If a software is broken, the psychological problems, previously called “Clinical picture” become evident and manifest

It is well known that some types of psychotherapies are preferable to some clients, while other people prefer different psychotherapy approaches. What is not totally clear is why does this happen? The answer to this question is much easier when one is introduced with fundamental emotional capabilities andtheir developmental phases. Each therapy technique is created to help the development of a certain capability. Nevertheless, most often we are met with the techniques but not with their proper background. What is lacking is the “tutorial” for the usage of a technique and explanation of what exactly the technique develops. We are usually met with generalized presumptions such as “how to broaden consciousness” or “how to deal with unaccepted aspects of the self”, or “how to take risks, be more responsible” etc. By defining a technique in this manner, it acquires a status of “general practice technique”. We could compare it to a broad spectrum antibiotic. If a certain therapy technique matches with the developmental need, or a degree to which a specific basic capability is developed, then the antibiotic could heal something and some positive change may happen. If a therapist is empathetic, intuitive and able to maintain a good rapport with a client, the usage of techniques can be helpful. Intuition is, nonetheless, not transferable. Hence, O. L. I. method offers precise technique selection criteria. These criteria are organized and based on recognition of a certain fundamental emotional capability developmental status, on a developmental phase of a certain capability. Hence, the clearer understanding of how, when and why we use a therapy technique is established, as well as what and why it can develop, and in which developmental phase a certain technique is going to be helpful.

Nebojša Jovanović


Third Serbian Psychotherapeutic Congress

Oral Statement


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