Dr. Lisa Miller is perhaps the world’s foremost expert in the relative study of psychology and spirituality. Dr. Miller is Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she founded and currently directs the Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute, to innovate, disseminate, and train healers in foundationally spiritual treatments. Dr. Miller solo-edited the Oxford University Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality (2012) and has published over seventy articles and chapters on spirituality in mental health and wellness. She has acted as Principle Investigator on several million dollars-worth of grants from corporate and family foundations as well as the National Institutes of Mental Health. Dr. Miller is Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the new APA publication, Spirituality in Clinical Practice, and also serves as associate editor of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, the official journal of APA Division 36, Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, for which Dr. Miller has served as President and is now APA Council Representative. Dr. Miller has been elected to Fellow of the American Psychological Association and awarded the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award. She is a graduate of Yale University, Columbia University, and University of Pennsylvania, where she studied under
Elena is a mentor for highly sensitive and empathic entrepreneurs. She explains why we need to change the prevalent cultural narrative around highly sensitive people. Elena Herdieckerhoff, Founder & CEO of Entreprincess, is a mentor for highly sensitive and empathic entrepreneurs. In her TEDx talk, she explains why we need to change the prevalent cultural narrative around highly sensitive people. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) herself, she has made it her mission to empower other HSP entrepreneurs to turn their sensitivity into their greatest business asset. She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, including having built a highly acclaimed international luxury skincare brand, and has graduated from the Sorbonne (DEUG), University College London (B.A.) and the London School of Economics (MSc). She is passionate about entrepreneurship, French literature, organic living, Reiki and spirituality!
This is a TVO Big Ideas Lecture from 2012, presented at INPM’s Conference on Personal Meaning. It discusses the idea of redemption in Christianity from a psychological perspective, comparing in part to ideas of transformation in psychotherapy.
Imagine you run a tech startup. Cash is tight, but you can’t
afford to enter the market with a product that doesn’t live up to its
promises. And right now, it’s clear that your engineers aren’t focusing
enough on the user-experience issues. Your senior engineer just won’t
play along, though. You and she can’t seem to agree on what matters. She
wants to do an early launch so the engineers can test features and
improve them before fine-tuning the UX, arguing that other software
companies, including major tech giants like Apple and Google, launch
beta versions all the time. She suggests that you’re just burning cash
and wasting time, that you don’t understand how tech companies work and
need to trust her on this.
But you don’t. You’re worried about the brand; what if
first-time users give you just one chance, hate the UX, and never
return? If your launch product isn’t user-friendly, your whole business
could be destroyed. Weeks go by and your disagreement with the senior
engineer is going nowhere. You’ve tried bringing evidence and examples
to prove to her that she’s wrong, and she’s done the same to you. The
arguments have started to get heated, she’s getting concerned about your
leadership, and you’re getting concerned about her commitment.
What should you do? What you should’ve done much earlier: Find something—anything—to agree on, as long as it’s meaningful.
Agree on Something (Other Than the Solution)
It’s natural during conflicts to feel you have to prove that
you’re right, but this only escalates things. One party may give in,
but it will be at the expense of wasted time, energy, and morale.
However, a surprising thing happens when you take the opposite approach.
By finding some common ground as soon as you detect the first signs of
tension or conflict, you can start working quickly toward a mutually
There’s always something true in the other party’s thinking.
It may be their intention, premises, logic, concerns, or the factors
they’re weighing. For example, you might agree with your senior
engineer’s concerns and say to her, “I agree. It would make a lot of
sense to get real user testing at this stage on our basic features
before we put a lot more energy into other things. Let’s find a way to
do that without a public launch. I need to also make sure we protect the
Alternatively, you might agree with her premises and say,
“You make a great point that the tech giants do a lot of this kind of
testing, and it’s hugely beneficial to getting the product features
right. We should follow their lead. I think we won’t get the chance to
learn about those features unless users have a simple and positive
experience. That’s something else great companies do. What will it take
for us to get to that point before we put our product out there?”
Or you may even seek a deeper truth and say, “I appreciate
how much you want this product and this company to be amazing. I share
that optimism and enthusiasm. That’s why I think we have so much
potential here. Let’s think about where we’re both trying to get to.”
When you find a way to agree with something other than the solution to the problem you’re debating, you can shift the frame of the conversation to include a factor you both
see as true and relevant. That makes it easier for the other person to
lay down their arms and stop fighting. Instead, they start listening.
The Psychology of Agreeing
This approach creates what psychologists call “shared reality” and “procedural justice.”
Shared reality is what happens when others see the world as you do and
then find a way to let you know. It’s very unsettling when others don’t
share your understanding of reality. When they do, however, it puts
people on the same team and opens them up to collaboration. Procedural
justice is about getting a fair hearing. It’s when people can ask
themselves, “Did I get a chance to actually be heard?” and answer in the
affirmative. We’re far more likely to accept an outcome if we feel like
we’ve been listened to and understood. Not only does finding something
to agree on fulfill both of these psychological needs, but research also suggests that people tend to automatically reciprocate. So when you agree, your opponent is more likely to find something else to agree with you about in turn.
Wait, though: What if agreeing makes you look like a
pushover? What if the other person really is to blame for something—will
you be letting them get away with it? And if you give a little ground,
won’t they just take more? These are all important concerns. But the
fact is that they remain liabilities whether or not you find something
in their argument to agree with; acknowledging common ground doesn’t
totally invalidate your argument. You can agree and remain very strong
about what matters to you. You can agree and still address how you came
to be in the situation. And you can agree and stand your ground. Having
created the basis for shared reality, procedural justice, and
reciprocity, you’re less likely to meet resistance for standing up for
your own needs in these ways.
So when you find yourself locked in disagreement, the
emotionally intelligent thing to do is to agree—not necessarily with the
other party’s conclusions or proposed solution, but with some truth in
what they believe. It could be their goals, intentions, concerns,
emotions, or something bigger-picture that you share. It has the
surprising and counterintuitive effect of disarming people, so you can
move past disagreement and on to collaboration.
There’s one more, often unexpected result of this approach.
Agreeing tends to bring out the best in other people, but it can also
bring out the best in you. By pushing yourself to find common ground,
you can shift your own thinking in a more collaborative direction, too. A
little more flexibility and understanding–on all sides–is surely a good
Maria Moltzer war eine Vertreterin der Analytischen Psychologie, die C. G. Jung nach seinem Bruch mit Sigmund Freud 1913 begründete. Sie stammte aus einer reichen holländischen Industriellenfamilie, der das Unternehmen Bols-Spirituosen gehörte. Wohl um sich von ihrer Herkunft zu distanzieren, führte sie ein bescheidenes, asketisches Leben. Aus Protest gegen den Missbrauch von Alkohol wurde sie Krankenschwester. Um 1910 ging sie nach Zürich, um sich von Carl G. Jung in der Psychiatrie ausbilden zu lassen. Sie arbeitete als Assistentin am Burghölzli und war im Kreise C. G. Jungs für Kinderanalysen zuständig.
1911 nahm sie am Internationalen Psychoanalytischen Kongress in Weimar teil. 1913 eröffnete sie in Zürich eine eigene Praxis. Eine enge berufliche Beziehung verband Maria Moltzer mit Franz Riklin, der als ihr Lehrer Jung ablöste. Mitte der 1920er Jahre verließ sie Zürich und kehrte nach Holland zurück, wo sie für den Rest ihres Lebens ansässig war und eine Praxis betrieb.
Maria Moltzer inspirierte Jung nicht nur zur Ausformulierung seines Konzepts von der Anima, der Personifikation des Weiblichen im Unbewussten des Mannes. Auf sie geht auch die Einführung des intuitiven Typus neben dem intro- und dem extravertierten Typus zurück, sowie die Formulierung einer Tendenz zur Individualisierung neben den kollektiven Tendenzen der Intro- und Extraversion.
Der Weg zur Mitte. Ein Gleichnis in Träumen. Amsterdam 1948
Bair, Deirdre: C. G. Jung. Eine Biographie. München 2005
Graf-Nold, Angela: Der Fall Hermine Hug-Hellmuth. Eine Geschichte der frühen Kinderpsychoanalyse. München und Wien 1988
Shamdasani, Sonu: The lost contributions of Maria Moltzer to analytical psychology. Two unknown papers. Spring. Journal of Archetype and Culture 64, 1999, 103-120
FOTO: IPV-Kongress in Weimar 1911 (Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin)