Thursday, May 10, 2012

Do undesirable attributes lead to underlying value?

The San Diego Reader offers an interview with Austin Vickers in which he describes selecting his expert witnesses, including Thomas Moore, for his new film People vs. The State of Illusion.
"How did you choose your expert witnesses?
It was purely selfish. I'd read material from all of them and gotten a quantum leap in understanding of one form or another from each one. So they had all touched my life. They also represented different segments of society, and they were heavyweights in their respective domains. Finally, these are people from MIT and Princeton. This isn't woo-woo science; they're working from well-established principles."
Vickers shares, "I spoke at the Ben Franklin Institute a couple of years ago — it's basically the largest association of mental-health providers in the country. Essentially, I told them that in many respects, traditional psychotherapy can be part of the problem as opposed to the solution. It becomes a problem when a person walks into your office and says, "I've got a problem with addiction," and you say, "Okay, I'm going to help you with your problem."
Whenever I ask an alcoholic or addict, "What's bad about your drinking?" they can talk for hours. But the minute I ask, "What's good about it? Why might whatever's inside you seek the experience of alcoholism from a positive standpoint?" all I get is a blank stare. Because they're so fixated on the idea that there is something bad about them. But there are underlying values to all behaviors — anger, depression, addiction, violence. There are times when numbing out is a really good thing to do."

This sentiment echoes Thomas Moore's view in Care of the Soul:
"If, as a therapist, I did what I was told, I'd be taking things away from people all day long. But I don't try to eradicate the problems. I try not to imagine my role as that of exterminator. Rather, I try to give what is problematical back to the person in a way that shows its necessity, even its value."

Barque coverage:
2 April 2012 "People v. The State of Illusion in N.Y. next month"
10 Feb 2012 "Samuel Goldwyn Films to release Vickers movie"
4 Oct 2011 "Our deep inner source guides us to the edges of life"
28 August 2011 "Film featuring Thomas Moore opens next week "
24 June 2011 "Moore has expert role in film about imagination"