Table of contents:

The Martian Chronicles - Self-development
The Martian Chronicles - Self-development

Video: The Martian Chronicles - Self-development

Video: The Martian Chronicles - Self-development
Video: The Martian Chronicles - The Settlers - Part 2 2023, March

A client walks into the psychotherapist's office with a cheeky gait, pats him on the shoulder, flops down on a chair and puts his feet on the table. A stunned specialist on autopilot says, "What are you complaining about?" And he hears in response: "For some reason no one loves me … How do you explain this, nasty bespectacled old man?"

Children's logic

For psychologists, this is not an anecdote, but a sad reality. What actually happened? The man came for help. But his appeal is more like a banal rudeness than a respectful request. The visitor's behavior is contradictory: a person seems to need psychological support, but he does everything to either devalue or not receive it at all. Why is he behaving this way?

Most of our psychological problems come from childhood. Every young child is an excellent observer and experimenter, but an extremely poor analyst. To properly understand what is happening, an extensive "database" is required, acquired through education and life experience. If there is no such base, everything around is interpreted from the point of view of an alien.

Imagine that some Martians flew to Earth and found that people eat cow's milk. “A man is a parasite of a cow, so he would define a person in his textbook of zoology as a non-human” (Milan Kundera. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”).

Small children are also a bit Martians. They can watch mom and dad first fight and then reconcile. The child does not understand what caused the quarrel, but he remembers the sequence: if you want to be kissed and hugged, you first need to shout and get angry.

Children are confronted with strong emotions or desires of their own, but do not understand where they came from and what to do with them. The child perfectly knows the difference between interest and boredom. He notices that he feels good and happy when mom or dad play with him. And it becomes sad when he is left alone. What is the conclusion of the child? The parents need to come back - then it will be fun and interesting again! And how to do it? Call. If they don't react, start pestering and moaning. If it doesn't help, whimper and cry. But if this did not work, something needs to be broken or damaged, then the parents will definitely pay attention to it. And let it be negative; let them scold - it's better than nothing! And if later they will forgive, and even regret it, it’s very good (here is the long-awaited positive attention)!

Psychologists have long drawn attention to the "Martian logic" inherent in preschool children. The founder of individual psychology, Alfred Adler, called the totality of all the "Martian" conclusions formulated by the child as a "life concept" (or "life plan"). The father of transactional analysis, Eric Byrne, called this "childish decisions"; and in gestalt therapy the term "creative adaptation" is used.

How to develop mental flexibility

The methodology of a psychologist, candidate of psychological sciences, doctor of philosophical sciences, professor Vyacheslav Kelasiev includes several stages:

    1. Change of habitual temporary connections

    You can change the usual events in places (say, imagine thunder before lightning, and not vice versa), you can draw temporal analogies (reduce the interval between a person's birth and death to one day and try to describe it), you can travel in time (imagine a dialogue of people from different eras, send a smartphone to the past or invent houses of the future).

    2. Change of habitual spatial relationships

    You can mentally move objects (imagine how a car moves underground), or combine them into one whole (blade of grass-fountain pen, picture-fruit, mouse-safe), or separate familiar pairs (croaking moth, fish without water, etc.) …

    3. Change of community ties familiar to a person

    For example, the method of replacing traditional relationships with completely opposite ones. You can imagine that smoke is more useful than clean air, for example.

    4. Change of habitual connections of transformation of actions

    Our task here is to deprive this or that object or phenomenon of its traditional functionality or fullness: to imagine food without calories, or a building built without builders, or a car for 100,000 passengers, or obvious contradictions (a train carries a passenger who this remains in place), or even invent a completely new object on the planet or even in the universe.

Why "creative adaptation"? Imagine that a child is faced with something previously unknown or with some life problem. An adult and strong person, perhaps, would not adapt at all, but would find a way to change this situation. But a child does not have the resources and capabilities that an adult has. A child has only "Martian logic" and a developed (especially at three to five years old) imagination. He understands what is happening in his own way and, as best he can, adapts to the situation (changes himself).

Children's solution to the problem is original and creative. Only from such “creativity” the parents sometimes have their hair on end … Alfred Adler described the classic case of a boy who, after the birth of his younger brother, tried with all his might to attract the lost attention from his parents. For example, he could climb on a table in street shoes. Or he started shouting loudly when his parents played music ("they make too much noise"). Or he did something worse: he asked to let him rock the baby, and then "accidentally" dropped him. We add that almost any “strange” or deviant behavior of a child is the result of such creative adaptation or adaptation.

“Unfortunately for us, we are developing, and the world around is developing. Everything changes and you need to be able to adapt to these changes. "

Daniil Khlomov

It turns out to be a paradox. On the one hand, the child's "Martian logic" helps him to solve urgent life problems. The solutions are strange (from the point of view of adults), but quite effective. The child wants to receive attention (to change his emotional state, to achieve the realization of some desire, to fit into the system of relationships) - he achieves this!

On the other hand, there is a problem. The conclusions of the "Martian logic" are fixed in our psyche for a long time. "Life concept" becomes the basis of "life style" (A. Adler); children's "decisions" turn into a "life scenario" (in E. Bern). But even the best methods of creative adaptation “sour” over time - they become ineffective if applied in a stereotyped manner, without regard to age and situation. The childish prank “jumped on the table in boots” can still be forgiven, but what will it look like in the performance of an adult ?!

Takeaway: If we continue to cling to previously successful patterns of action, this will inevitably lead to psychological problems.

The trouble is that children's behavior patterns become automatic and “turn on” without the participation of our consciousness.


The system is me


Questions of the meaning and content of adaptation are in most cases ambiguous. It seems that adaptation to changing conditions cannot be reduced to any clear formula. Indeed, the creation of frameworks and rigid boundaries for a given concept, to a certain extent, deprives this concept of flexibility, and therefore contradicts its inner content. I believe that in the ability to adjust to reality lies the lack of criticism of this reality. As soon as we start criticizing someone, it becomes much more difficult for us to establish productive contact with him. The moment we stop accepting reality in all its diversity, we rather begin to resist it, rather than succumb to its flow. This is true for both the individual and the social group. And it is true as in relation to other people,and in relation to state institutions, for example. Consequently, one can even go even further and say with utmost boldness: being critical of the system is an attempt to turn into it.

Mikhail ZHILIN,

clinical psychologist, gestalt therapist

Breaking templates

Let's go back to our visitor. He asked the question "Why no one loves me", but at the same time did everything to cause this same dislike: he invaded the psychotherapist's personal space (patted him on the shoulder), violated the elementary norms of etiquette (threw his feet on the table), insulted the specialist (called his "nasty old man"). Does it remind you of anything? In my opinion, very similar to the boy described by Adler. He simply does not have enough attention (love), and he tries to get it at any cost. And people try to communicate less with such a rude person, this in turn pushes him to be even more zealous in seeking attention. It turns out a vicious circle, in which even neurosis is not far …

Is it possible to do something with our “childish decisions”, which turned into harmful unconscious programs? Can! And in this we will be helped by "creative adaptation" - not just a child-Martian one, but an adult one. It is imperative to understand that behavior is a way of fulfilling needs. And if it is "strange" - this is an unsuccessful (but programmed from childhood) way to get some meaningful result for us. Unfortunately, whenever we behave in a stereotyped manner, this purposefulness of our behavior is lost, is outside our consciousness. That is, the client in our example, most likely, did not even suspect that he was insulting the therapist. He chronically does not see and does not understand the connection between purpose, behavior and the result obtained: he has become a real Martian chronicler.

Key words


At one time, the American psychotherapist, poet, novelist and philosopher Paul Goodman introduced the concept of "creative adaptation" to denote the difference between active and productive human interaction with the world and passive adaptation to existing environmental conditions. It is the ability to find the best way to meet a need in any given situation. Creative adaptation is the goal of Gestalt psychotherapy. “Creativity will be associated with the concept of the new: it is the discovery of a new solution, the best solution of all possible, the creation of a new configuration, a new interconnected integrity, based on the existing elements” (J. M. Robin). Creative adaptation is associated with awareness and responsibility. For healthy functioning, a person needs to be clearly aware of his needs, capabilities, environmental conditions and make choices based on this.

Development of a new program

You need to start with awareness. With full awareness of yourself in the present moment. The first action is "revision" of bodily sensations. Ask yourself questions: "What position am I in now?", "Where do I feel tense or relaxed?", "How do I breathe?" It is important not to rush and carefully scan your body with attention, noticing all the sensations. This awareness allows you to "pull to the surface" the emotional state.

Any emotion has its own characteristic set of bodily attributes. For example, when we are angry, the muscles of the arms are tense, the fingers involuntarily clench into fists, and our breathing quickens. Feelings of guilt are associated with a feeling of heaviness and stiffness in the shoulders and neck. As a rule, in our current state, a chord of several of the most powerful emotions sounds brightly. A good concentration on bodily sensations helps to realize what notes-emotions are in this chord.

Then the fun begins. Each emotion has its own energy potential and is a motive that pushes us to some kind of action or blocks it. At the same time, feelings do not lie: if we are qualitatively aware of them, they tell us exactly what we really want.

From helplessness to extinction

In psychology, there is a term "learned (acquired) helplessness" - a refusal to try to improve life after a series of failures, even if there is such an opportunity. Psychologist Martin Seligman discovered this reaction to monotonous depressing events back in 1967 during experiments on dogs. But another thing is interesting: in 1976 psychologists Ellen Jane Langer and Judith Roden proved that the state of helplessness and refusal to make decisions negatively affects health.

Their experiment took place in a nursing home. The inhabitants of one floor were given complete free will, while imposing responsibility. Residents of another floor did not have to answer for their actions: the staff did everything for them. With equal comfort of living, representatives of two floors showed different results after three weeks of the experiment. Representatives of the “responsible” floor felt happier, their health improved, and social activity increased. And six months after the study, it turned out that the subjects from the "responsible" group began to feel even better, and 30% of the participants in the group, for which everything was decided and done by the staff, simply passed away.

These results indicate that a person who actively influences his life, is responsible for it, changes it, is more successful - including in physiological terms. No chance should be given to “learned helplessness”.

What emotions are hidden behind the body movements of our lovely client? "Cheeky gait", "plopped down on a chair": aren't his movements too "loose"? Will a really strong, calm and confident person behave like this? Unlikely. Most likely, such plastic hides self-doubt, fear of being rejected, anger at oneself and at those who again cannot help him. All these emotions express the need for mutual trust, acceptance, emotional closeness and support.

We continue to answer questions. “Does the habitual way of behavior help to satisfy the need? No? How can you act differently? How will I understand (feel) that I am really doing differently? " If you can answer these questions, congratulations - your adult creative adaptation is almost complete! Why "almost"? Creative adaptation is such an interaction of needs with the capabilities of the environment that leads to the satisfaction of needs. Tough “Martian” behaviors learned in childhood are ineffective. Therefore, you need to ask yourself the main questions: "Have I achieved the desired result?", "Do I feel that my need is satisfied?", "Is the energy that fed my actions exhausted?" If the answers to these questions are yes, you have succeeded in replacing rigid behavior with a new one that is more flexible and effective.

It's all about stress

When Hans Selye introduced the term stress into medical practice, he sounded like this: "I '' stumbled '' on the idea of a general adaptation syndrome. General - because stress is caused by factors that, acting on different areas of the body, are ultimately capable of causing general systemic protection; adaptive - because this phenomenon is fixed, acquires the character of a habit; syndrome - because its individual manifestations are partially interdependent. Today, the concept of the relationship between stress and adaptation is familiar to everyone and applies to all aspects of life.

Algorithm for creative adaptation

  • 1. Be aware of your experience ("What is happening? What am I doing? What is my body feeling?").
  • 2. Accept your emotions ("How do I feel?").
  • 3. Understand your emotions (“Why / why do I feel this way?”).
  • 4. Understand your desires (“What do I really want? What need is not satisfied?”).
  • 5. Overestimate your behavior ("Are my actions helping to achieve what I want?").
  • 6. Model new behavior (“How can I act differently?”).
  • 7. Formulate the criteria for effective behavior ("How do I understand that I'm acting differently?").
  • 8. Try it in practice! At the same time, be aware (p. 1), feel (p. 2) and evaluate (p. 3) how much a new way of behavior helps to satisfy an urgent need.


It's time to grow up


Throughout life, a person gains experience. We experience it through the body, through emotions. We try to comprehend the new, applying the previously acquired knowledge. Discoveries can be unpleasant, make us feel confused or discouraged. And then you have to either change your ideas about the world around you, or to adapt to what is happening around us. The latter is creative adaptation. In fact, these are mechanisms of psychological defense against the invasion of negative experiences. Young children cannot adapt to their environment. On the contrary, they adjust themselves to the world. As we grow up, we get more freedom, more opportunities to influence the environment. At the same time, some people still use children's methods of adaptation, despite the fact that they are already outdated and interfere with living in harmony with themselves. Main work,which the "stuck in childhood" has to do is the awareness of such habitual, automatic adaptations. Without this, it will not be possible to develop new, adult ways of creative adaptation.



The flexibility of the mind can easily replace beauty


Popular by topic