Blacksmithing Boje

Embodied-Restorying Process (ERP) for the Family Support of Veterans' 'New Story'

David M. Boje, Ph.D. Quantum Restorying Process Analyst

February 8, 2013; Revised Feb 18, 2015

Table 1: 7 STEPS of Embodied Restorying Process (ERP)

1. Recharacterize (received Self identity) from institutions such as Military, Society, Films, Novels, Family, and so on.

2. Externalize (re-label) Make the Problem the old received-narratives, not the person. E.g. Mr. Military acts strong, does not admit weakness, and never seeks help or care for the Self.

3. Sympathize (benefits) – of old story of Mr. Military has its payoffs

4. Revise (consequences) – Map the Organization & Socio-Economic influences of consequences, including the stereotypes of received institutional identities

5. Strategize (Little Wow Moments of exception to grand narratives); Reclaim best of Veteran not Being according to institutional stereotypes

6. Restory (rehistoricizes the Grand old narratives by collecting Little Wow moments into New future stories of potentiality)

7. Publicize (support networking) e.g. letter writing with supporters of your ‘New Story’ of the future

Embodied Restorying Process (ERP) is a a novel ontological-psychophysical approach that begins with♥-of-Care. It begins with mindfulness, embodiment practices to understand the FOUR SELVES: Social-Self, Frozen-Self, Mirror-Self, and -Self. These four selves are in dialogue, continual conversation, in our mind's eye (see http://peaceaware.com).

Embodied Restorying Process (ERP) can be effectively combinded with mindfulness meditations, sucha s Vipassana (http://peaceaware.com) and with Psychocalisthenics exercise to help recovery from Stress, Anxiety, and Depression that veterans often face, after returning from deployment (http://peaceaware.com/ptsd).

ERP deconstructs the Life Time Disorder Label (PTSD) as junk science by the pharmecuetical industry and the DSMers.

ERP moves you out of cacophony into polyphony (the symphony of voices conversing in our mind). ERP is combined with mindfulness skill training so that the 'new story' is supported by dialogues among your Selves that connect you to Ecosystem and to Others in ways of Awareness, I call 'PeaceAware.'

ERP focuses on ways Grand Narratives, such as from movies, from mental health DSM books, from a Leviathan of institutions, and so on that construct the Self for the person (Rosile & Boje, 2002; Click here for pre-press PDF). ERP begins with the oral context, by asking 'Where did you learn that sense of Self?' Then, 'What are the benefits to you' and 'What are the consequences in your life-world?' This archeology of the Grand-Narrative-Self helps a a kind of historical tracing of how the Grand Narative was learnind. The rest of the embodied restorying is about how to liberate the Self (which of course is many selves) fro the culturally hegemonic Grand Narrative. ERP is all about helping clients to form a counter-hegemenic 'new story' out of Little Wow Moments of exception. The Self (its many dialoguing Selves) is Embodied (Awareness), and the Body as (Selves+Awareness) are in relationality to Life-World (Others+Ecosystem). See more on this point.

“You are what exists before all stories. You are what remains when the story is understood” — Byron Katie (2008: 26). 

This means you are the one who Restories your Self, your relations to Others, and Ecosystem, by increasing your Awareness. Awareness grows with each Restorying. Embodied Restorying Process - Veterans YouTube 22 minutes) is a an example of doing repeated Restorying to bring about Embodiment of the relation of Self to Others, Ecosystem, through increasing Awareness.

small Triangle Model of Awareness For more see http://peaceaware.com

You are what exist before not only your own personal living stories, but also the dumb grand narratives that cultures, governments, corporations, and their managerial agents try to socialize, indoctrinate, or cajole you into. Living stories are ontologically situated, Being-there-in-the-world. To get in touch with your ontological living story is to recapture your own embodiment in aliveness process of Being-in space, in-time, and in-new materialisms. Here we will focus on the 'quantum' new materialisms (Boje, 2014a). Through the Observer Effect, you can gain Awareness that we are 90% unaware of the Others, the Ecosystem, and our own Self.

Eduardo Duran (2006) in Healing the Soul Wound gives some important insights into what I am calling 'Embodied Restorying Process.' The DSMs pathologize people with their Grand Narratives. A restorying cut off from Others and Ecosystem is disembodied, a social constructivist approach, a Cartesian Cut of Selves from (body) Awareness, from Others, from Ecosystem. By getting Awarenes sof our own Living Story Web of relaitons to Others, to Self in Ecosystems we gain understanding, we Wake Up --- See more on this point.

EMBODIED RESTORYING PROCESS (ERP) for Sustainability & De-Stress

ERP is a way to connect the body to the environment (Ecosystem+Others), in ways that promotes stress reduction. We live and work in cultures that are artificial, disconnecting our body from the rhythms of the Natural world. Our body was made to be in balance with nature, not to be in clocktime, or confined in virtual spaces, with simulated contact.

Restorying is a way to Support our Troops

Getting family support is the quickest way for a veteran to find their 'new story.' Being labeled with a syndrome, disorder, a disability -- that is the quickest way for our veterans to get stuck in the 'old war story' for a very long time. I propose an embodied-restorying-process approach, one rooted in 'new materialisms' ways of understanding the relation of storytelling to embodiments of stress. Stressors are material, agential, inherent in military deployment, combat, and redeployment cycles.

“Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2.5 million American service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan” (VA, 2013a). Military service exposes personnel to material conditions called ‘stressors’ (ibid): “stressors, including risk to life, exposure to death, injury, sustained threat of injury, and the day-to-day family stress inherent in all phases of the military life cycle.”

Clearly there is a Federal mandate to help veterans cope with stress. Institutions, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA, 2010) have implemented new rules regarding what constitutes stress: “This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often devastating emotional wounds of war,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  

I will assert in this essay that there is so confounded an understanding of what is stress, in military, and popular culture, and that reporting stress by a soldier is tantamount to ending their career. There is a need to get more rigorous in our research about the relationship between story and stress (Eisenhardt, 1991).

There is an alternative. Begin to use ERP analysis as a method to reclaim 'story' from the psychologist reduction of the veteran's embodied living story to disembodied 'memory.' Embodied-Restorying resists reducing storytelling to language, to speech acts, or story-grammar. This resistance by restorying has implications for a new treatment of stress of deployment and redeployment of veterans. In the treatment of stress in the military veteran, the dominant mode of treatment is 'reliving the memory' of a stressor, a traumatic event, or desensitizing the memory by immersion therapy (aka prolonged exposure therapy, e.g. Foa & Rothbaum, 2007; Rothbaum, 2009). McLay, Wood, Webb-Murphy, Spira, Wiederhold, Pyne (2011), and Wood, Wiederhold, Spira (2010) are among a growing number of institutions offering virtual reality-graded exposure therapy for stress disorder in active duty service members with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Here veterans experience a surround sound, aroma, visual, taste sensoriums of the trauma. Neuner, Schauer, Klaschik, Karunakara, and Elbert. (2004) use what is called 'narrative exposure therapy' to relive the trauma, in successive increments. It is combined with support counseling and psychoeducation for treating posttraumatic stress disorder in an African refugee settlement. Or stress control using a variety of pharmaceuticals.

ERP can, at your option, be combined with a spiritual, soul healing appraoch.

SESSION ONE: RECHARACTERIZE AND EXTERNALIZE THE PROBLEM AS THE PROBLEM. We begin with stories of the veteran at their best. Then we name the problem as the problem, externalizing it from the person. For example, we name ‘Mr Stress’ or (Spirit of Stress) as the problem that has gripped the veteran. Here it is important to deconstruct the ways society, medical establishment, the media (movies, TV, news), and even the military are characterizing, making the person into a pathology, simulacra, a stigma, a stereotype. When a person is pathologized, they become the problem to be fixed by meds or treatments, or just shunned. The the systemic is the problem, then it frees veteran up, to empower-themselves to act, to change perceptions, to recharacterize and externalize. In short, I try not to pathologies, to approach veteran unconditionally.

SESSION TWO: BENEFITS AND COSTS OF Mr. STRESS (or SPIRIT OF STRESS). The problem has a grip because it somehow benefits (in weird ways) the veteran, and at same time it costs the veteran. Mr. Stress benefits by being an excuse, by giving license to venting, by being sources for meds, etc. Mr. Stress costs by its harm to relationships, making love conditional, making future of Heart-Self questionable, etc. These are important steps because they further deconstruct the ways the pathologizing is a blaming of the victim. In Soul Loss, for example, the Mr. Stress is intergenerational, a loss of soul due to Mr. Stress (Spirit of Stress), so there is less energy for love, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, goodness, perseverance, and self-control.

SESSION THREE: RECOVER LITTLE WOW MOMENTS TO RESTORY. The Little Wow Moments (LWMs) continue form Session One. They are from before the Mr. Stress, they can even be intergenerational-before. The recovery of LWMs is crucial, as these are moments when there is resistance to Mr. Stress (Erving Goffman calls them unique outcomes). LWMs are fleeting moments when the tide seemed to turn, just a little. They are exceptions to the characterization, to the grand narrative expectations of society, media (movie stereotypes), medical models of pathology, etc. By recovering LWMs restorying becomes possible, and this is when we GO BACK TO THE FUTURE. Going back to the future, we take LWMs with us to create a totally ’new story’ of veteran and family. Another way to say it is there is soul recovery, so that the spirit is made whole. The intruding Mr. Stress spirit is sent on his way (in Shamanic Drumming terms).

SESSION FOUR: PUBLICIZE AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS. In this final session, the supporting people around the veterans and veteran has an hour to write letters to each other about ways to support the “new story” of veteran and of the family unit. Letters are also written to others in their community (friends and relatives) asking them to support the ’new story.’ As a facilitator, I come to the session with my letter to each support member, in support of ’new story’ practices. For example, it is important to not feed the old dominant narrative (the stigma, the pathology, the stereotype of flashback veteran,homeless veteran, etc.). If there is no support system, there will be total relapse, and collapse of ’new story’ beck into old grand narrative, old problem narrative. Without intervention, the surrounding system to the family will expect old ways, and demand them, because they are so very familiar.

ERP analysis is opposed to 'reliving the old story' on the couch, in groups, or in cyber-virtual reenactments. Reliving the old story is the problem, not the solution. Embodied-Restorying analysis seeks the 'new story' the 'liberating story' being told by the body. The psychologist seeks to liberate the 'old memory' by reliving its trauma. The psychologist seeks a 'label' that becomes a 'stigma' a 'disorder' a 'syndrome' of the mind, a 'classification' found in the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM). Once labeled, the veteran may be eligible for benefits, however, there is also a scarring, a stigmatism, and separating of the DSM veteran from other veterans. Once labeled, in even the new DSM-V (2013; Spitze., First, & Wakefield, 2007) it is not so easy to get un-labeled, de-labeled, or re-labeled.

In the following review, I will make the case that stress is related to not just any kind of storytelling, but one that is embodied in institutions. There is an industry, an economy of public and private, institutions, including universities collaborate (coalesce) to prevent, diagnose, and treat the materializations of stress and stressors.

Literature Review

Embodied Restorying Process (ERP)is an alternative methodology for the treatment of stress of deployment, redeployment, separation, and career transitions to civilian life, sometimes to university life (Boje, 2013; Boje, Rosile, Hacker, England Kennedy, & Flora, 2013). Our literature review suggests restorying may well be an untried alternative to conventional ways of dealing with stress in the military.

Deployment: Restorying is an untried way to address attrition in treatment services during and after deployment. Students of deployment services question their efficacy (Hoge, Auchterlonie, & Milliken, 2006; Hoge, Terhakopian, Castro, et al., 2007). For example, there are explicit and implicit barriers to care in deployment and redeployment, as well as transitioning out of the military (Hoge, Castro, Messer, et al., 2004). Bowser (2010) asserts that treatment for stress comes too late for many veterans.

Labeling has its consequences on veterans: Brewin (2003) says that much of the labeling of veterans with stress disorder, stems more from myth and stereotype, rather than scientific evidence. Lembcke (2013) argues that military stress is so expected, in the movies, in news and magazine articles, and so forth, that it is now risen to the level of a cultural trope. Soldiers are expected to return home with war stories about flashbacks, nightmares, waking dreams of the dead. “Many barriers keep people with stress from seeking the help they need,” said Dr. Matthew Friedman, Executive Director of VA’s National Center for PTSD (VA, 2013b).

Enter the new materialists: The ‘new materialisms’ included in this review contribute a material-->discursive understanding of embodied-stress, the body situated in a wider causal field called the Leviathan of institutions (Boje, 2013). Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes (1651) is a forgotten materialism according to Samantha Frost (2010), Strand (2012, and in press), Jackson and Youngblood (2012), and Boje and Henderson (in press).

My new materialism proposition is that military stress has its Leviathan ways of materializing, so that stress takes on ‘aliveness’ a ‘self-organizing’ ‘living story,’ a career path in the military, of its own, materially and discursively, in a network of institutions: insurance, medical treatment, deployment command units, etc. (Boje, 2013). Matter in Western culture has been viewed as “devoid of agency” a mere collection of things instead of a “lively materiality” that is “self-transformative: and already “saturated with the agentic capacities and existential significance that are typically found in a separate, ideal, and subjectivist, realm”(Coole, 2010: 92).

Veterans' bodies are moving, spatializing and temporalizing within the wild being of the military, and that “introduces patterns, intervals, duration, and affects into Cartesian or Euclidian space from within it, and it continuously reconfigures its own corporeal schema in responding to and recomposing its milieu.

New Materialism, a new field of study, is a wider more inclusive causal field than either conventional stress treatment in the military, which too often blames the victim, the veteran as singularly responsible, as labeled the cause of their own stress, a disorder of their mind. Barad (2003, 2007) develops the theory of 'agential cut.' Following Barad (2003: 815) agential cuts enact “inherent ontological indeterminacy” and “agential separability.” Each institution has different narrative frameworks of the roles, plot, and career phases (agential cuts) of veterans experiencing stress. Each framing of stress is agential because the ‘agential cuts’ not only frame the sources, causes, and individual efficacy of PTSD, the way of framing is agential, a ‘cut’ of what is object and subject, antecedent and consequence, into a virtual career of stress, its stages, its role relationships, and its emplotment into beginning, middle, and end. For example, Coole and Frost (2010), Cook (2006) are challenging ways social constructivists leave out the body, the materiality of bodies, consumerist understanding of bodies, the agency of bodies. Edkins (2003) raises the possibility that there is politics involved in ways veterans get diagnosed with stress labels. Ehrenreich (2003) questions the social policy of this labeling. Others say the rise in other populations outside of women experiencing bodily or mental abuse, and veterans returning from combat, its expansion into every kind of situation from a car accident, cancer diagnosis, the death of a grandparent, failing an entrance exam to law school, going to prison, and even foreclosures from downward spirals in global capitalism -- is cause to be suspicious of the stress label (Siddiqui, 2009; Elbogen, Johnson, Newton, Straits-Troster, Vasterling, Wagner, &  Beckham, 2012).

Deconstructing Stress There is a growing number of articles deconstructing stress measurement methods, diagnostic protocol, and treatment approaches (Kerig, et al., 2012; Kerig, 2011; Maier, 2006; Flochman, 2004; Smid, 2011; Andres, Slade & Issakidis, 2002; Speigel, 2001). Folchman (2004) deconstructs the sociopolitical response to violence against women. Smid's (2011) thesis establishes the prevalence of delayed stress using a meta-analysis of disaster survivors.  Delayed stress did not decrease between 9 and 25 months after the traumatic event.  Andrews, Slade, and Issakidis (2002) deconstruct the singularity of PTSD by revealing its association to depression, compulsive obsession disorder, and anxiety disorders Rumyantseva & Stepanov, 2008). Maier (2006) deconstructs PTSD’s A-criterion. Bracken (1998) deconstructs PTSD, as having hidden institutional agendas. Pine less et al. (2009) deconstructs how PTSD shows attentional biases. The majority of the studies use methods unsuited for differentiating disengaging-attention from threatening stimuli (interference). Spiegel (2001) deconstructs PTSD as often only be known by the self-reports of the patients, as opposed to observable phenomena such as blood pressure, heart rate.  Beckman, Feldman, and Kirby (1998) deconstruct how PTSD is confounded with the materiality of atrocities, the severity of guilt and hindsight responsibility for wrongdoing during combat, such as committing violence toward others. 

Is stress a narrative or embodied, or both? There is growing evident stress is connected to narrative (Boje, 2013). "The connection between event and symptom, in this clinical narrative, is carried by a particular form of memory, the traumatic memory, in which the traces of the event resist the flow of biographical time, breaking through the past into the present" (citing Young, 1995; in De Jong, 2005: 363). One example, prominent in the military is called the The Warrior Myth (Archer, 2013: 7):

“A … rhetorical obstacle concerns how historical, cultural discourses about the bodies and minds of military service members impede better understanding of PTSD. Politicians, the Pentagon, and mainstream media venerate today’s U.S. soldiers with a consistency and intensity that has all but established the warrior as the ideal U.S. citizen.”

Trauma memories and experience are often treated as merely "pre-narrative," not fully formed into a coherent narratives of the trauma experiences by the veteran returning from combat zones (Mollica, 1988; van der Kolk & van der Hart, 1991).  

Stress seems correlated with Depression, and other domains: Wakefield and Horwitz (2007) assert that the business of stress and depression, its diagnostic instruments, its pharmaceuticals, the insurance claims --- has mushroomed into an industry Can we trust the medical protocols (McNally, 2009; Rosen & Frueh, 2010; DSM V, 2013)? If stress disorder, as Shepard (2004) says everything from 'surviving Auschwitz and that of being told rude jokes at work, is not the whole stress construct suspicious to begin with?

Stress can be gendered - Gross and Graham-Bermann (2006) assert that studies have not sufficiently control for gender differences.

Stress could be a culture-bound, not a universal construct: Now stress has become a "prominent cultural model" with a synergy between suffering and human rights, political advocacy, and traumatic stress advocacy (Breslau, 2004, De Jong, 2005).

In sum, stress in general, and PTSD in particular is a cultural narrative, and it is something embodied, perhaps it is both.

1) Stress inhabits living bodies in material ways (biochemical, phsicio-biologic, psychic-memory-neurology).
2) Stress is embodied in the Leviathan of military, State, University, Medicine, and other institutions (family, academic, clinical, pharmaceutical, neuroscience, etc.) all co-producing stress in veteran bodies in relation to other bodies with and without the syndrome of stress. This is my reading of Samantha Frost who develops a new materialism reading of Thomas Hobbes’ (1651) Leviathan.
3) Stress is embodied in the habit and disciplinary material/knowledge practices of military industrial complex, and formations of late modern capitalism where stress is recast as agentic singularity of veteran’s errant memory work.  This is a Foucauldian reading of new materialism
4) Stress is materialized in ‘observing instruments’ and ‘observing apparatuses as well as in treatment protocols, the agential cuts of Cartesians and of vital materialisms (Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty, Barad, Bennett, etc.).
5) Stress embodies the human spirit that haunts veterans, families, the military, social sciences of diagnosis (instrument production & measurement), and clinical treatments. 

An Embodied-Restorying Process Alternative

White and Epston (1990) do have one of the better treatments for stress, for veteran and their family (see also White, Mulvey, Fox, & Choate, 2012). A. What I propose is to give it an upgrade, so it works with critical new materialisms.  White and Epston (1990) limit their narrative therapy approach what is known widely as social constructivism. It is a ‘text’ framework, where materiality is missing in action.

Restorying results in studies with Military Veterans: This is also known as 'back to the future' since the approach is to find fragments of exception to the dominant narrative, and go back to the future to develop a new story. Palgi and Ben-Ezra (2010), for example, report on the procedures for using narrative restorying treatment with a single case. We overcome the single case problem (Yin, 2001) by looking at six cases. We are expanding that to six cases, while adding the dimensions of social support, affective regulation, and self-efficacy. Farnsworth, Jacob, and Kenneth W. Sewell. (2010) discuss the implications of the case study done by Palgi and Ben-Ezra. Monson and Friedman (2006) discuss how restoring can be coupled to conventional cognitive therapy.

Clearly more than single case study research is needed to bear out the claim that restorying works better than the conventional method, immersion, reliving the trauma memory, to desensitize the veteran.

White and Epston begin their book by advocating a Michel Foucault approach to discourse, hover remove all connection to materiality. White and Epston subscribe to the linguistic turn, and end up with an approach to 'restorying' that is without corporeality, without attention to the body, its rhythms, and ways the body is put into stress, its rhythms out of balance.

The reduction by White of Foucault to constructivism, occurs when Gregory Bateson, is brought into establish the move from Newtonian physics in 'living systems” (p. 2), followed by Edward Bruner to establish the 'text analogy' of 'narrative' (p. 2). Edward Bruner (1986a: 153) focus is on 'narrative structure' related concepts 'metaphor or paradigm" how "narrative emphasizes order and sequence" while "story" is "both linear and instantaneous" (as cited by White, 1990: 3).

White develops a table of six frameworks (positivist physical science (machine, mechanics, hydraulics), quasi-organism (biological), serious game (game theory), living room drama (dramaturgy), rite of passage (ritual, and the one they White and Epston base their praxis in, behavioral text (the performance of oppressive, dominant story or narrative knowledge).  After playing with a couple of examples from the six frameworks, White settles for "the text analogy" framework (pp. 9-10). 

The old restorying process, is stages of moving from diagnosing dominant linear (beginning-middle-end) narrative plots, their exclusions of 'unique outcomes, that can be gathered to construct 'new story' is summarized as narrative means to therapeutic ends, a pragmatic way of reframing the text analogy.   White mentions Marxist class ways of framing "traumatic personal experiences" and "gender-specific repressive" ways of power, then returns to Michel Foucault's contribution to the "analysis of power", the "constitutive effects of power, and being "subject to power through normalizing 'truths" citing Foucault (1970, 1980, 1984a) (see White, p. 19). Power/knowledge is reduced to normalizing discourse, to text analogy, but the 'vehicles of power,' the materialisms, including the technologies of power, the discourse<---->material from Foucault all is left out, except the mention of "manuals" that "provided meticulous instruction not he correct methods for the supervision of childhood sexuality" (p. 21). 

There is something material in White and Epston (1990) old way of restorying, something to take forward in what I am proposing here.

Materiality of Writing - At the same time, what is ironic, is the restorying praxis, is all about material practices. For example, letter writing between therapist and family members, and family members to one another is a requisite practice of restorying, done in sessions or as homework, and communication in between sessions. It is the act of writing that transforms restorying from the alternative therapy practices of talk therapy. Writing introduces coherence, and exposition, in the written tradition to therapy (p. 35). 

I will propose a non-constructivst approach to restorying, I am calling Embodied-Restorying. It is important to give the veteran a target for their stress beyond the discorded mind: “If fear has no object, then no recursive movement around memory is possible, no simplification of causality can take place, and no anticipation of causality can take place, and no anticipating projection can occur” (Frost, 2010: 169).

Table 1 lists 7 steps to a new approach to Restorying, one situated existentially in space, in time, in the materiality and corporeality and agency of the body, its diverse rhythms.

The embodied-restorying analyst works through the seven steps of restorying to discover and uncover Little Wow Moments of Exception to the 'old story' about the veteran. The 7th step is family support, friend support, colleague support. It begins earlier than the 7th step. Without support the 'new story' atrophies and the 'old story' and the 'old labels' regain agency, their grip secure, harder to restory.

Table 1: 7 STEPS of Embodied-Restorying Process (ERP) - Adapted from Boje, in press; Rosile & Boje, 2002

1. Recharacterize (authentic Self identity) Story that is ideal – when you were at your best

2. Externalize (re-label) Make the character in old story the Problem, not the person

3. Sympathize (benefits) of old story

4. Revise (consequences) – of old story

5. Strategize (Little Wow Moments of exception to grand old story)

6. Restory (rehistoricizes the Grand old Story by collecting Little Wow moments into New story)

7. Publicize (support networking) e.g. letter writing with supporters of New Story

 

The restorying analyst calls the whole body the storyteller. The psychologist refers to the mind as the storyteller, relives the past 'memory.' The restorying analyst begins with taking that first step.

1. Recharacterize (authentic Self identity). Tell a story that is ideal – when you were at your best? Why tell a war story, a story the military psychologist, the VA, the popular culture (movies, newspapers, magazines) all expect the veteran to tell. Where is the 'authentic self'? Surely the authentic self of the veteran is not the story told by psychologists. Restorying assumes the problem is the problem. The person is not the problem. The way the veteran is characterized is the problem.

What's wrong with the Linguistic Turn?

Everything! It has dismissed the body, and treats it as linguistic rhetoric, such as a metaphor, simile, or just trope, and not at all corporeal. For those who still stay in the linguistic turn, storytelling is language, not a corporeal process of body. In the linguistic turn, storytelling is speech acts and the silent yet eloquent body language. For those who follow Bruno Latour, Karen Barad, or Henri Lefebvre, and many others, body is existential. The military body has a story to tell, and many institutions are telling stories about military bodies. The assemblage of bodies in deployment, redeployment, and transitions in and out of the military constitute a self-organizing assemblage of bodies. That self-organizing assemblage of bodies is agential. The assemblage of bodies is acting in spaces, in times, and there is a mattering of momentum as bodies move in deployment, redeployment, and transitions.

Excerpts from Boje (in press): “Polkinghorne (2004) has raised objections to restorying because it purports to build self-agency, whereas his own strictly social constructivist standpoint treats the ‘self’ as a linguistic social construction with nothing to do with space-time-materiality, since all of this is social construction. Polkinghorne (2007) is critical of a Foucauldian approach to power and knowledge (i.e., micro-physics), and instead bases his approach to narrative on epistemic, rooted in Kenneth Gergen’s social constructivism.

Polkinghorne, an unrepentant ‘social constructivist,’ says that White and Epston’s Restorying approach is an “existential view that people have a capacity to revise and reauthor the narratives in which they have been acculturated” (2003: 65). From his social constructivist standpoint, the social realm dominates the personal (existential) and the biological (material) realms. Polkinghorne takes the standpoint “that the meaning is essentially language” and “all human systems are linguistic systems” where “there is nothing outside of language” (2003: 58).

There is a second theme that comes through in Polkinghorne. Narrative displays a temporal dimension that unifies experience with a “beginning, middle, and end” dominant governing plot that is socially supplied (ibid.: 58). He agrees that many “unique outcomes” are left out by the dominant plot” (ibid.: 60) and that a “new and more complex plot” is what Restorying is after. Polkinghorne cites another prominent social constructivist (and postmodernist) who is well regarded in Appreciative Inquiry circles, Ken Gergen. Both Polkinghorne and Gergen treat personal and biological (including the body) realms as under the auspices of the constraints set by the social realm (ibid.: 61). It is the “social realm” that controls the body’s actions, imposing rhythms of work, rest, holidays, eating habits, and so on, and limits the possible activities the body can undertake (ibid.: 62). In sum, personal ‘self’ and ‘materiality’ from a constructivist standpoint are only a linguistic category, part of language socialization.
The American Pragmatist George Herbert Mead (1932) has a very different temporality conception than that of social constructivists such as Polkinghorne (1988; 2004) and Gergen (1994). For Mead, time is conceived as a passage in league with space and energy, where out of emergences noticed in the present, past experiences are selectively engaged in order to promote expected future courses of action. Mead’s (1932) is an ontological and a quantum approach, as is the work of John Dewey (1929).
END QUOTE FROM BOJE’s (in press) new book.

Embodied-Restorying Process Analysis Method

The ERP analyst calls the body an instrument of observation. The body is a bundle of rhythms. Lots of bodies together have self-organizing rhythms: marching, marathons, drill formations, lining up for chow. To understand the rhythms and moments of a self-organizing assemblage of military bodies, first understand one's own body. The analyst body is an instrument, itself an assemblage of rhythms: breathing in and out, blood pulses, heart beats, flow of speech tones, gestures of the limbs, movement of facial muscles, neck hair that stands up, a flush of the cheeks, a change in posture, a quickening of steps. The body is attuned to its environment: darkness and sunlight; cold and hot weather; the slope of landscape; the rush of the wind; the waves and currents of the ocean; the horizon. Awareness of the balance of the body's rhythms and when they go out of balance is a good way to get out of a pathological situation.

Eurhythmia for Henri Lefebvre is the rhythms of a body in balance, in harmony. Eurhythmia is what all that PT training, the classes, the R&R is trying to achieve, a healthy veteran body. Stress is when the body rhythms are disrupted, such as by sleepless nights, lack of nourishment, fear of engagement, and so forth. The body chemistry can get hooked on adrenalin, on the rush of stress.

Arrhythmic for Lefebvre is rhythms out of balance, not in harmony. Arrhythmic is an unbalance of body rhythms over many events. Arrhythmic is when the body rhythms do not return to balance. Run a marathon, the body recovers. Go skiing on an intermediate sloe, a skilled skier recovers their breathing, heart rate, body heat.

Polyrhythm - The body is a bundle of diverse, interacting rhythms, or polyrhythm. The many rhythms of the body self-organize to adapt to the environment, to stress, to demands made on the body.

The restorying analysis method is focused on the body, in its spaces, times, and materiality. To focus on the body, its rhythms is against the rules of psychology methods, which must confirm the diagnosis and protocol of treatment, as cognitive, behavioral, or just re-memory work. Restorying methodology views these elements in the context of the whole body, which has many more rhythms.

Family Support

The family is first line of support for the veteran to transform their 'old story' that 'war story' into a 'new story.' Without family support the old story finds its way back, becomes once again dominant. The family does not like change. Better the old story the family has come to expect, adapted its situation to. The new story is different, unexpected. "What's wrong with you?" Children are caught in the middle, between soldier and spouse. Social support (Turner, 1992) is critical to the success of restorying approaches to stress.

The military family is the second line of support (Mikulincer, Florian, & Solomon, 1995). It is widely agree that following deployment, families face the threat of marital stress, and dissolution (Riviere, Merrill, Thomas, Wilk, & Bliese, 2012). 2Marital intimacy, family support, and secondary traumatization: A study of wives . In deployment, the military becomes the primary family. Upon return, the veteran has to adapt, make their wife, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents --- the primary, and the military family, the secondary line of support.

This reversal of relatives-family and military-family is where 'restorying' is most useful. The family of spouse and children do not know what to expect. The veteran has a military family. Its all quite different. Perhaps there is a redeployment or deployment training session, a couples seminar. That is an excellent place and time for restorying. There are military units dedicated to hosting Family Support meetings. The storytelling, however, can be that of psychologists who advise everyone to relive those stress events, relive the stress. A restorying analyst focuses on the body, on the storytelling body, on transitioning from old war stories to a new story of the future.

It is a mistake widely made in the military to limit orientations and treatments to reliving stress. What about restorying from old war stories to new stories of the future? Open the door to many futures.

Getting family support is the quickest way for a veteran to find their new story. Being labeled with a syndrome, disorder, a disability -- that is the quickest way to get stuck in the old story for a very long time.

While PTSD is widely deconstructed for its lack of theory, validity, and reliability, there is something else to deconstruct: how just the labeling of PTSD affect family relationships. Hawkins, Grossbard, Benbow, Nacev, and Kivlahan (2012) argue for a more evidence-based approach to stress diagnosis. If stress is more cultural narrative than it is evidence-based, embodiment of symptoms, this raises issues about the stigma of PTSD and other stress syndromes, disorders, etc. According to National Center for PTSD (2013), several recent studies have found that veterans' PTSD symptoms can negatively impact family relationships and that family relationships may exacerbate or ameliorate a veteran's PTSD, its material manifestations, and on or links to other stressor conditions.  PTSD studies show correlation to marital happiness. Research findings, to date, are that veterans with PTSD conditions are more likely to report marital or relationship problems have higher levels of parenting problems, and generally poorer family adjustment than Veterans without PTSD (Jordan, Marmar, Fairbank, Schlenger, Kulka, Hough et al., 1992; Mikulincer, Florian,  & Solomon, 1995; Riggs, Byrne, Weathers, & Litz, 1998). 

Stress may be more cultural than it is universal. PTSD is likely cultural. Expect it to go away and it does. Expect it forever and it complies. PTSD is already a Western cultural model for understanding and caring for suffering human beings. While it is a recognizable diagnostic (observing) apparatus in a variety of cultures, PTSD involves complicity with the promoters and sellers of PSTD instrumentalities (Boje, 2013).

Conclusions

By nature, stress is when the rhythms of the body are out of whack. The veteran looses sleep, gets tired, the energy is lower. Restorying is way to move out of the 'old war story' and find a 'new story' of possibility.

The tie in to critical new materialisms is in the first two chapters of White and Epston (1990).  Several works by Michel Foucault are summarized, but without the emphasis of Foucault's work in the critical new materialisms.  The result is Foucault from his power/knowledge, through discipline and punish, and the technology of the body --- gets reduced to a discursive approach to storytelling for family systems.  The critical new materialisms, by contrast, are about the mutual relationship of material<---->discursive. Actually, for Foucault the discursive<---->material is his priority.  

Quantum Restorying Process

Quantum Restorying Process is an science critique of the media simulacrum that passes for PTSD, so that quantum science can commence. Quantum Restorying Process helps the veteran to challenge the fictitious representations and abstractions of PTSD in the media, the military, and in the medical establishment. Quantum Restorying is not the same as classical restorying (White and Epston, 1990).

The difference is classical restorying would treat PTSD as just 'text' a social constructivist approach. Quantum Restorying Process, by contrast, focus in a multiplicity of materialisms: Marx's material conditions; Althuser's alterity, the unresolved alterity of the politics of PTSD; Foucault's materiality of surveillance, disciplining and punishing, and technologies of the self surrounding PTSD; Barad's intra-activity of discourses with materiality, aka agential realism of PTSD, such as the agential cuts that seperate PTSD from other sorts of disorders or join it to them; Hobbes' Leviathan (the network of institutions that profit from the production, sale, and continued manifestation of PTSD).

Quantum Restorying Processsituates itself not in the recurring nightmare of PTSD, not in the reliving of the trauma memory, which is the preferred contemporary treatment protocol. Rather, restorying helps the veteran to contrfont all the ghosts of PTSD: media inspired ghosts, the Leviathn ghosts, and so forth.

Quantum Restorying Process is skeptical of the ghost simulacra, the entire epistemology of ghost constructions is brought into question. Quantum Restorying is a deconstruction of the spectality of trauma. Restorying calls into question the ontology of war, the ways divison of labor between the working folks going to war, and the intellectuals and the VA's ways of authenticating diaability, which do demand particular home-coming war-stories be told, detailed by the usual symptoms: flashbacks, withdrawal from the social, and so forth.

Time for the veteran is what Shakespeare called 'out of joint.' The present reality of the veteran is supposed to be haunted by memories of the past. The future is expected to be cut short, because the veteran is facing backwards, all caught up in the past. Quantum Restorying helps the veteran develop a new experience of time. If the medical diagnosis is correct, then what is happening is the veteran is frieghtening themselvers by relivng the memory of the past that they are expected to relive again in the storytelling demanded of them by the media, military, family, freinds, and the entire Leviathan.

Quantum Restorying Process is a way to develop a conversatin with one's ghost, to make peace with them, to stop freightening oneself. Restorying begins where it outght to, with a dismantling of all the expected ghosts stories the media tells, and the military tells. Then restorying deconstructs those surface ghosts, especially the "capital ghost" (Derrida, 1994: 175). This is the ghost of Leviathan, all those institutions of media, government, military, and the entire Commonwealth of State institutions which make PTSD a cultural trope, an expected way of telling one's own coming-home and war-stories.

Quantum Restorying Process enters the spectrology, the hauntologyin order to effect healingwith a critical ontology. Critical ontology is all about the materialisms of trauma, the way trauma is embodied, taking up residence in the living bodies of not jsut veterans, but families, and Leviathan, in the spectral expectation.

Derrida says the origin of the "history of shots" in is speculative theology" (p. 146). Speculative theoology is the ultimate phantasmogoria. PTSD is said to be "hunting the soulds of certain living persons, day and night" (ibid, p. 147). With the mdeai trope of PTSD, the veteran is haunted not just by the trauma events and their impact on the body, but with expectations of what trauma to report in their home-coming stories, uon returning from combat zones. Meanwhile in Leviathan, PTSD has become a fetish of commodity, a way for universities to find funding for labs, a way for hospitals to bill insurance companies by declaring the right PTSD symptoms codes, and a way for treatments including restorying to conduct their protocol.

Quantum Restorying Process resituates the spirits of capitalism, the "spirit of the people" as incarnated in Leviathan, its expected storytelling by the veteran come home(ibid, p. 145). The spirits of capitalism were written about by Herbert Spencer (invisible hand), Max Weber (Protestant ethic), Maynard Keynes (animal spirit of entrepreneurs), and by Karl Mark (capital spirit).

Quantum Restorying Process is an ontological inquiry. It calls all the ghosts of PTSD together for conversation. What are the medai ghosts saying about PTSD? What is the military saying about PTSD? What is the VA saying about who qualifies for PTSD disability? What is the nation, the Leviathan Commonwealth saying about PTSD? Do any of these callers want to really do away with PTSD?

Since my service in Vietnam (1969-1970), I have been haunted by the specter of PTSD. Now I am beginning to think, what I was haunted by was an entirely different specter, the specter of commodity. The commodification of PTSD by politicians, the pharmaceutical industry, all those new neurological labs morphing PTSD into brain damage, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that is putting out apps to deal with the increasing demand for PTSD treatments it cannot afford, and all the other nations Veterans Affairs institutions, and so forth. PTSD has been declared by English professors to be a cultural trope. PTSD began as a term used by soldiers protesting the war in Vietnam, and before that by the women's movement, protesting battering, and so forth.

If I am onto something, then it would seem that PTSD is now a multiplicity of use-values, useful to various institutions, and to those persons seeking benefits, disabilities, treatments from various institutions.

Derrida's (1994) Specters of Marx, his critique of Marx for being obsessed with specters, ghosts, spirits, and apparitions --- reveals in Marx, the ghost of capital. Derrida's poststructural critique of spectrology, his hauntology, is the basis of his thesis, the "New International." We are heirs to specters of Marx, and to the ways globalism is organized to be something other.

What about the veterans? What about the claim that capitalism is producing more PTSD in all its citizens? Since PTSD has gone viral, leaving the domestic and combat violence scenes, it is said to have become a cultural trope. This, to me, is not a great answer.

Rather, as a quantum storytelling philosopher, I am wondering about the various materialisms of PTSD. Yes, Marx's historical materialism, the material conditions of use-value, exchange-value, and surplus-value is part of it. There is also Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. If Hobbes was on the right track, then Leviathan is this artificial body, called institution, in fact, a network of institutions, that constitute Leviathan as an artificial body. Then the implication is that lots of institutions, from the Veterans Affairs to the Military, to the Pharmaceutical industry profit from PTSD products, therapies, etc. It is in their best interest to perpetuate PTSD, not to resolve or dissolve it.

One way forward may be to look at 'authentic self' in relation to the many inauthentic selves being sold under the label, PTSD. In commodity capitalism, is there an authentic self?

 

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