Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence;
abundance is but the husk,
for thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.
Abundance yields heedlessness;
thankfulness brings alertness:
hunt for bounty with the net of gratitude.
Giving thanks for abundance
is sweeter than the abundance itself:
Should one who is absorbed with the Generous One
be distracted by the gift?

— Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

The Mask of Self-Deception


Psychotherapy is about perceiving and changing personal, interpersonal or intergenerational patterns. Patterns exist both in nature and in human nature, and our brains are designed to be pattern makers. But where do these patterns come from and what is the deepest most useful level of drawing connections? This seminar is all about fractals: perhaps the most universal pattern of patterns in nature. Fractal patterns extend across mind, body, brain, soul, world, and relationships.

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The Mask of Self-Deception

Removing Fantasy and Illusion in Psychotherapy

Terry Marks-Tarlow, Ph.D.

Imagination is central to the art of psychotherapy and is hard-wired into our very neurons. Imagination lies at the heart of empathy and is a major force in change. Imagination underlies the positive experiences of vision, expectation, hope, and fantasy in therapists and patients alike. But imagination gone amok also lies at the heart of catastrophic vision, chronic anxiety, projection, delusion, and self-deception.

This seminar uses interpersonal neurobiology as a framework to understand how imagination develops and evolves throughout life from early parent-child interactions and pretend play. We will draw upon clinical cases to distinguish healthy versus unhealthy aspects of imagination. We will focus in on the nature of self-deception and how to close the gap between conscious beliefs and unconscious truths. We will create a safe and intimate environment to share our war stories. Participants will leave the day with a better understanding and a set of clinical tools for working with positive and negative aspects of imagination.