The past gives rise to the present but does not cause it

 

‘History’ is frequently used as a ‘cause’ of behaviours: Freud’s childhood stages, PTSD, previous shaping of behaviour, early attachment, ‘historical trauma’, ‘collective trauma’, childhood trauma, etc.  These histories are certainly all involved in the current behaviours and are important to the suffering of the person, but they cannot be used as ‘causes’.

Clearly the past is related to what is happening in the present, but the urge to call this a ‘causal relation’, while strong, is mistaken:

the past gives rise to the present but does not cause it.

When you invoke history as a cause you stop looking for other events and stop observing what has really been happening.  Most importantly, this limits your ability to change the current state of affairs.

Here are two ways (there are more) we can rethink all this and then explore better the effects of history in actual practice with people.  You must actively explore the green bits thoroughly and document these.  And yes, #notalltherapies I know… I know…

History

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