What is your position in some of the hierarchies of your life? Are you a manager, do you have a boss, are you an employer, an employee, a parent, somebody of wealth, somebody with little means, do you see yourself at the fringes of society or among the movers and shakers? Hierarchies are everywhere. They structure our life on this planet in so many ways that we tend to lose track on how they impact our sense of self and well being. We create practical and more or less innocent hierarchies such as among our favorite foods or colors, but we also attach our worth as human beings to the hierarchies we find ourselves in. Hierarchies are arrangements of power and whether we experience being at the top, the bottom or somewhere in the middle of a human hierarchy we tend to internalize the level of power (or powerlessness) that comes with this position. Continue reading
Some people love acting on stage or in films. They loan their body and imagination to a fictional character and make us believe in its existence. We are moved to tears or break into heartfelt laughter at their performance and experience their adventures vicariously for a while. I have not done much of this kind of acting, apart from being a ghost in a school play, but I admire actors and their skills. Before I became a therapist I was a professional fiction writer and have created characters on page, which requires imagining the feelings of somebody not yourself and bringing their thoughts and actions to life in a believable way. So when I learned about role theory during my clinical social work training, I was naturally drawn to this way of describing how we interact in society.
Let’s think about the many roles we take on every day. Continue reading