A five-day residential workshop at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California, USA
Tentatively Scheduled for Early 2004
Covert cognitive and emotional processes – insidious intrapsychic influences that radically limit our ability to make contact with the world around us - routinely run our lives. Attaining a degree of liberation from these inner influences through active observation and sensation is a necessary step in the formation of a Self that is capable of contact, compassion, and intimacy.
What would it be like if we could attain a degree of liberation from these inner influences? On the other hand shouldn't we be careful what we ask for?
Intersubjectivity, a direct result of the above-mentioned processes, is defined as the partial, hazy, biased, and mechanically contingent view we have of one another. Intersubjectivity consists of a limited way of relating to one another, both learned and instinctual, that blocks us from the quality of intimacy and communion that is our birthright as human beings.
Our workshop will offer fresh, cogent, and potentially transforming perspectives on the hidden cognitive processes whereby we construct dynamic mental models of our lovers, friends, socioeconomic partners, rivals, enemies and, indeed, ourselves. Our aim shall be to expose the depauperate subjective nature and ruthlessly utilitarian purpose of these mental models – a project that defines and opens our unique potential as human beings to live as active intentional consumers of life’s impressions and thus too as insightful, sensitive, compassionate participants in our Earthly communities.
Together we will work to understand, see, and taste the forceful inner influences that lead to subjectivity; this is the necessary beginning point for the development of intimacy skills.
The workshop will center on development and collaborative experiential testing of propositions about the underpinnings of intersubjectivity. Our investigations will make use of synergistically complementary psychological models and methodologies. We shall especially be cross-referencing insights and exercise forms from the realms of Gestalt psychology, Gurdjieffian theory and practice, Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, modern evolutionary biology and psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.
The concepts, group exercises, and frequent group processing of impressions gathered during our week of work together will facilitate seeing clearly the dark lonely tunnel of intersubjectivity in which we far too routinely dwell. This very process of seeing carries with it our best chance of perceiving the presence of a light at the end of this intrapsychic tunnel, and development of exit strategies that promise a richer, more objective, profoundly joyous quality of contact with self, our fellow humans, and the whole of our environment.
v has a BA in Anthropology from California State University, Northridge, and an MA in Counseling from Webster University, Albuquerque;
v has trained in psychotherapy at Gestalt Institute of New England and consultation skills at National Training Laboratories (NTL);
v is an experienced trainer of Gestalt therapists and Founder / Director of The Gestalt Institute of New Mexico;
v was an organizational consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation for 10 years, where he led 5-day residential workshops, designed and facilitated large change and transition projects, and taught counseling skills to managers and supervisors;
v is a member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists;
v has led groups at McLean Hospital, Belmont Massachusetts (Harvard Medical School) and Heights Psychiatric Hospital, Albuquerque;
v has presented workshops in the application of Evolutionary Theory to: The Association for Advancement of Gestalt Therapy, The International Gestalt Conference, and The National Association of Sports Counselors;
v is in private practice in Albuquerque.
v earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Cornell University's Section of Neurobiology and Behavior;
v has done National Science Foundation sponsored research in behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology at The University of Oxford, U.K., The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station;
v is a member of the Research Faculty at the University of New Mexico and a Faculty Adjunct of The University of Montana;
v has graduate and undergraduate mentoring duties in behavioral biology at the University of New Mexico and the University of Montana;
v studies human behavior both from an evolutionary psychological perspective and from the point of view of the esoteric traditions of several major religions;
v published recently on the evolutionary psychology of unipolar depression in the Journal of Affective Disorders (Watson & Andrews. 2002. JAD 72, 1-14).
v Watson’s Web site: http://biology.unm.edu/biology/pwatson/public_html/pjw_cv.htm
In recent years, John and Paul have thrice led the Esalen workshop,
“Evolutionary Psychology and Spiritual Practice.”