Laurie’s Notes on the
AGS 2002 “Success” Seminar presented by Milton Dawes
Notes preliminary to writing report on Milton's visit for Susan to place in the next "Time Bindings."
Transcription of shorthand
Report Milton's visit
Rough notes made six weeks after Milton's departure.
There has now been time for me to reflect on those eventful 11 days.
While Robert James and I are planning a comprehensive report which we hope will be fit for publication in the "Bulletin", “Etc.”, or both, this is a brief statement or summary of my personal impressions of Milton's "input" as a whole through the seminars, input in small groups and personal conversations. This summery, of course, is limited to the "input" in which I personally participated.
As I perceived them, Milton's key themes throughout may be summarised as:
1. Variables, structure, functioning; and
2. One's personal "rhythm" as one interacts with people and events.
I am deeply grateful to Geoff and Martha at the Institute for suggesting that parts of the seminar be video taped, to the Institute for funding it, and to David for editing the tape after Milton's departure from Sydney.
Robert and I were able to view the edited tape during January. We both experienced the "shock" (semantic reaction) of being confronted extensionally with how much we had NOT abstracted during seminar proceedings.
We profited by re-playing parts of the tape in our second viewing of it. I found discussions of this re-playing very helpful, realising s deeper significance in many aspects.
Robert and I believe that this edited tape could be used more widely as a learning tool, particularly for those who attended all or part of Milton's input.
Indeed we are of the opinion that we could gain even more from the un-edited tape, and are glad that A.G.S. has decided to purchase the un-edited version from the video recording company.
I believe we shared the insight that while "intellectually" we knew we would abstract only about 10% of input (and possible recall only about 2% a month later) the extensional experience of viewing and discussing the tape made a much deeper impression.
Some time after viewing the tape, I commenced serious study of Isobel Caro and Charlotte's book: "General Semantics in Psychotherapy". I took particular note of Douglas Kelly's paper "Use of general-semantics... in Traumatic Neurosis".
Kelly describes how group leaders (psychiatrists and physicians) treated American service personnel who had undergone severe trauma in the European Theatre of war during World War 2. I was particularly interested in the group method outlined: a minimum input of theory at the beginning of a group session, with maximum time devoted, by the group leader, to answering questions and comments raised by the group.
I have put this into operation, successfully, in one of my groups, in two recent meetings. I intend to apply it in my future presenting this year.
Kelly expresses the view, in his paper, that g-s principles are learned and applied better if present in answer to questions and examples emanating from the group itself, rather than expounded in a longer presentation by the group leader. Judging by the responses in my two recent groups, I agree with Kelly. What I wish to emphasise here is that it was Milton's input followed by viewing and discussing the tape, which led me to attempt an application of the method Kelly outlined.
To return to my personal conversations with Milton, he made some very helpful comments regarding the structure of another of our groups. This one meets regularly for 2 hours weekly. I found his comments regarding this group's structure very helpful, as I believe other members of the group did too.
Another valuable experience to me of Milton's visit concerned a car trip of 200 miles from Canberra to Sydney, after the seminars, which Milton gave me a very professional driving "lesson" during the whole trip. Again I was confronted by the realisation that my driving habits contained hidden assumptions of which I was not aware. Back in Sydney next day Milton spent another hour reinforcing his instruction. (His instruction was from the back seat and very effective).
Returning to Milton's seminars, of course those of us who are on a continuing growth path of studying and practising g-s on regular basis profit most from Milton's input since we can relate it to our previous insights, understandings. However, we had four "newcomers". We have not yet provided a "follow up" for these, but must hasten to do so.
I wondered whether Milton's latest paper, received recently from him, titled "Structuring, Non-identity and 'Time'” might be helpful in this regard, and feel that while it is very "technical" another paper based on it might be helpful to newcomers.