Psychotherapy As A Setting To Learn From Experience

Psychotherapy as a setting to learn from experience

There is a popular saying that says “Nobody can take away your dancing skills.” And while it is true, because the experiences lived are indelible, another very different topic is learning from dancing. Nobody takes away the dance, but not everyone learns from it and that’s why they keep repeating it, over and over again.

We should not focus on the accumulation of experiences, but on learning from them to have a fuller life.

The importance of knowing how to learn from experience

The above connects with the phrase attributed to the Spanish philosopher and writer George Santayana and which says that He who does not know his past is condemned to repeat it in the future. The history of humanity and that of individual people is full of examples in which the same errors and conflicts have been repeated over and over again.

If we do not reflect on past experiences, draw lessons, and apply that knowledge to make more informed decisions in the present, we run the risk of repeating the same negative patterns in the future.

This is what the English psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion meant with the call to learn from experience. But this is not just any calling: it is the challenge of human development, and it involves cultivating the ability to tolerate and reflect on emotional interactions and events experienced. For this author, experience is a complex process of interaction with the outside world and with our own psyche.

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Promoting self-knowledge in therapy

Although people are all the time learning from their own experience alone, that is, without any professional help, An optimal space to carry out this process is psychological therapy., which has many functions and scopes. One of them is to be a laboratory to learn from experience; That is to say, in the key of a popular saying, learn from what is danced and learn from the past. Psychotherapy is the ideal place to make this reflection that Bion invites. And it is ideal, since there the therapist can contain the emotional experiences so that the patient can transform them into learning through a process that, although it may be painful, must be tolerated to reach a successful conclusion.

It is in the therapist’s ability to contain the patient’s experiences so that they can be thought about. This process involves the therapist listening, understanding and accepting emotions and thoughts without judging or rejecting them. And for the patient this involves allowing “being contained,” which involves being receptive and allowing their own emotional experiences to be understood and processed by others.

However, the patient also has a very active role; must tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity, since we often find ourselves faced with situations in which there are no clear solutions or answers. In this sense, one must be open to exploration, consideration of different perspectives and reflection. Only through emotional restraint and openness to new ideas can we learn from experience and develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. Another important aspect in Bion’s thinking is the role of curiosity in learning from experience. For him, curiosity is a mental attitude that drives the search for knowledge and the exploration of new ideas.

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It is the ability to question, investigate and not take for granted what we think we know.. Curiosity allows us to be open to constant learning and helps us overcome the barriers that limit our understanding.

In summary, learning from experience, according to psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, is a complex process that involves the ability to reflect on emotional interactions and thought patterns: in other words, it is the ability to learn from the dance and the to learn from the past so as not to repeat it in the future. However, it requires an active role on the part of the therapist and patient aimed at tolerance for ambiguity, curiosity and openness to new ideas. Learning from experience allows us to develop a greater understanding of ourselves and others, and helps us grow and evolve on our path to knowledge and wisdom.