The Self-Connection Podcast: Episode Ten : Context is Everything

In today’s episode, Sharon and Tim will explore context as it relates to healing, relationships, and personal growth. Virginia Satir emphasized an awareness and connection to the context that helped extend beyond the typical realm of focusing on individual feelings, behaviours and pathology.

0:00 Context pushes us to think about multivariant factors acting and interacting to create situations and subjective experience.

2:38 Sharon talks about the context for making contact. The therapist is responsible for creating a safe context for a person to be open and vulnerable and also to be aware of the context of which they are coming from as they transition from one setting to the next. We both emphasized the act of awareness of context and active creation of a particular kind of context related to therapy that allows for change and growth.

6:15 It can be empowering to ask “How am I interacting and interfaced with my context right now? How am I using it? What experience am I creating in relation to the context?” “How will I use this context?” Asking these questions opens up a space of choice which is empowering.

Sharon talks about the violation of the context as in what you say to whom and when. Whether to say something publicly or privately. These things relate to honoring the relationship/context

7:45 Context has to do with the function, role and purpose of where we are. Clarity of function makes expectations clear. People experiencing dissociation, psychotic breaks or major depression are disconnected from their surrounding context.

10:00 Sharon talks about how important it is to listen to those in the specific context and we talk about how playing with context creatively opens up new ways of being supportive to families and individuals in therapy. Tim talks about how having a supportive audience watching therapeutic processes can amplify and heighten the growth that people can engage in. This brings in the element of having a supportive community that is often missing in people’s lives.

14:15 Sharon talks about how powerful it can be to have a spiritual community where each member can ‘borrow from the bank’ depending on who is feeling strong at a moment in time who can give and who is feeling weak and needing to receive. Sharon talks about her connection to her choir. She describes the power of a community connecting through healing sound whether it be singing, drumming, chanting.

18:15 Sharon shares the story of monks that were getting sick because they reduced their time chanting. She references the book “The healing power of sound” by Mitchell L . Gaynor.

19:40 Tim explores the impact of singing and chanting on breathe and it’s physiological impact on the body. Then what is the impact of synchronizing sound with a group of people and the social connection that occurs? We talk about church choirs, concerts and sports teams and people singing and chanting together and how powerful that experience can be.

22:00 What is your sound production doing to the context? Or what kind of context being created by the sounds we produce? When what I am feeling on the inside is irritability and what sound comes out is an irritable tone that impacts the environment, the space, the context.

24:00 Virginia Satir was very intentional of being conscious of the relationship between people and context. For example, how comfortable are the chairs people are sitting on, what is the physical distance like? Too close, too far away?

26:30 Sharon talks about the context of developmental changes in the family and of each member of the family. We discuss that people are mastering stages and then entering into new psychosocial stages of developments.

28:00 We explore the dictionary definition of context. Sharon talks about the word “circumstances” as they relate to the present, what are my past circumstances that is causing a person to be overreactive at a moment in time. Virginia Satir would create sculpts with people where people could see the psychological, relational, cultural patterns and connections of those people of previous generations to provide more context to understanding their family in the present.

31:00 we explore the tone and atmosphere of physical spaces like someone’s home. Sharon talked about people commenting on her home “your house has a very nice energy.” John Banmen said of Sharon’s home “I knew I could go into her fridge and get myself something and not even have to ask.”

Sharon said that she loves having people in her home and that takes joy in having guests.

34:30 We talk about a congruent context where people feel free to speak and where information flows freely. Where people feel free to see/hear, ask, comment, and take care of themselves.

35:20 We explore ways that listeners can experiment and play with context in their lives.

One thing to try might be to consider the physical elements of the environment and how I am using or not using those elements.

37:00 Sharon suggests consider thinking about the context of relationship and what roles we are entering into as it relates to the changing physical environments. For example, a couple with children and a shared business will have multiple roles they are shifting in and out of constantly.

39:20 Virginia Satir self-mandala can be thought of as eight different contexts. Feelings indicate the call and need to visit and attend to these different contexts. The 8 elements of self-mandala are: emotional, intellectual, relational, spiritual, contextual, sensual, physical, and nutritional.