Towards an Openness of Being

The Personal Nature of Learning

  • Kerry Thomas-Anttila
Keywords: hermeneutic phenomenology, learning, psychotherapy, professional development, Heidegger, psychoanalysis, learning from experience, practice-based learning

Abstract

This paper discusses an aspect of my PhD study on understanding psychotherapists’ experience of ongoing learning. For this study I interviewed 12 practising psychotherapists living in Aotearoa New Zealand. The personal nature of psychotherapists’ ongoing learning and, in particular, the interconnectedness between an individual’s life, past and present, and his or her vocational life as a psychotherapist, emerged as a significant phenomenon. Interview data were analysed using hermeneutic phenomenology as the philosophical underpinning. Resonances between hermeneutic phenomenology and psychotherapy practice are explored. I offer a number of participant stories from the interviews I conducted, together with an interpretation of these narratives. Heidegger’s thinking about “meditative thinking” and Sorge (care) is drawn on, as well as Bion’s idea that thinking/dreaming one’s lived experience is a principal means by which one learns from experience. This research revealed that, over the course of their professional lives, psychotherapists move towards responding to what is essential for their own learning and that this is often an unconscious process. What matters to the individual begins to emerge and to show itself more fully. This has implications for prescriptive and systematised approaches to learning; the question is posed as to how we attune to the movement of our soul.

Whakarāpopotonga

He matapakihanga tā tēnei tuhinga i tētahi wāhanga rangahautanga o taku tohu Kairangi: te wheako o te ako haere tonu o te kaiwhakaora hinengaro. Tekau mā rua ngā kaiwhakaora hinengaro e mahi ana e noho ana i Aotearoa, i uiuia e au mō tēnei rangahau. Ko te wheako whaiaro o te ako haere tonu o te kaiwhakaora hinengaro me te here o te koioranga tangata onamata ki nāianei me tōna koiora mahi tohunga kaiwhakaora hinengaro, i kitea he mea tino whakahirahira. I huri ki te tirohanga e kīa nei ko te āta whakamāoritanga, arā te “hermeneutic phenomenology”, hai tātarii ngā kohinga uiuinga. Ka tūruhahia he paorotanga mai i tēnei tirohanga ki te momo mahi a te kaiwhakaora hinengaro. Ka horaina atu ētahi o ngā kōrero whakaurunga o ngā uiuinga nāku i hiki, me ngā whakamāramatanga hoki mō aua kōrero. I tōia mai anō hoki tā Heitakatirohanga ki te ‘whaiwhakaarohanga hōhonu’ me te aroha me tā Pīona whakaaaro e kī nei, ko te whakaarohanga/moemoeānga wheako whaiaro a te tangata te ara matua o te akohanga mai i te wheako. Ikitea i tēnei rangaha, i roto i te roanga ake o ā rātau mahi mātanga ko ngākaiwhakaora hinengaro urupare haere aiki te iho mō tōna ake mātauranga ahakoa he hātepe maurimoe. Ko te mea nui ki te takitahika tīmata ki te puea haere ake ki te whakaatu whānui haere ake i a ia. He whainga rara tēnei mō te momo whakahau whakahaerenga ki te ako; ko te pātai koia me pehea tewhakahāngai ki te whakanekenga o te wairua.

Published
2018-03-21
How to Cite
Thomas-Anttila, K. (2018). Towards an Openness of Being: The Personal Nature of Learning. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 21(2), 149-164. https://doi.org/10.9791/ajpanz.2017.14
Section
Articles