THE UNIQUE YOU

By Gregory Mitchell

Otto Rank is now widely acknowledged as the most important precursor of humanistic and existential psychotherapy--influencing such well-known writers as Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and Ernest Becker. The topics he covered include separation and individuation, projection and identification, love and will, relationship therapy, and neurosis as a failure in creativity. Reading his books today reveals that Rank, who came to be much maligned by the orthodox psychoanalysts of his era, invented the modern approach to psychotherapy in the 1920s.

Once the favored follower of Sigmund Freud, Rank eventually became one of his mentor's sharpest critics. Rank was Freud's closest disciple and colleague from 1906-1926, the formative years of the psychoanalytic movement. He worked as Secretary of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and became a leader in the psychological revolution that changed our understanding of human personality and consciousness.

However, Otto Rank broke away from orthodox psychoanalysis at age 40, about the time he first visited America. Returning from New York in 1924, Rank faced criticism from the Freudians for his less authoritarian approach to psychotherapy, focused on the here-and-now, real relationships, and conscious determinism - rather than the client's past history, the transference relationship, and the affects of the unconscious mind.

Rank discusses the ultimates - psychological concepts which go beyond the individual's makeup - such as fear of death, desire for immortality, sexuality, and the need for love. He speaks often of Man's fears and irrationalities, but he does not try to exorcise or explain them away; rather he accepts them both as integral parts of the fabric of the human condition. In his last years, Otto Rank turned his lifetime of thought and learning toward two of the most difficult topics in human history: religion and the soul. He proposed that the urge to immortality was man's deepest drive. Unlike many other intellectuals of the twentieth century, Rank maintains a place for the soul rather than dismissing it as a fantasy. The soul and the beliefs about it, he argues, set forth the foundation for psychology, with its complex analyzes of consciousness, self-consciousness, and personality.

In his Psychology and the Soul, recognized the desire for immortality through self expression of lasting impact, whether through the creativity of the artist or the reforming efforts of the hero.

The basic orientation of Otto Rank can be stated very explicitly. Rank rejected the key concept of the Oedipal situation as the source of psycho-pathology and adopted the birth experience as the origin of the essential trauma. He conceptualized that during the intrauterine experience the child experienced total union, which forever continued as the key motivation in a person's search for total fulfillment. He continues to long for this state, even as he experiences partial union in each relationship, and it is also anticipated in the hoped-for ultimate union after death. The birth experience terminated the original state of bliss and thus became such a traumatic experience that it became the origin of all anxiety, due to the fear of separation.

A second distinguishing feature of Rank's approach is the emphasis that he placed on educating the will. He called the will, "A positive guiding organization and integration of the self, which utilizes creativity as well as inhibits and controls the instinctual drives." By this he meant that man was not a victim of his instinctual impulses, but rather he was capable of directing these forces, either negatively for his own destruction or else he could organize them positively for creative self-expression and growth.

According to Rank, all emotional life is grounded in the present. In Will Therapy, published in German in 1929-31, Rank uses the term "here and now" for the first time in the psychotherapeutic literature: "Freud made the repression historical, that is, misplaced it into the childhood of the individual and then wanted to release it from there, while as a matter of fact the same tendency is working here and now" (page 39). This has become one of the cornerstones of Mind Development practice and courses. Beliefs were created in the past but they are held onto and recreated to provide solutions in the present environment. This connection to the past can be released when such outdated beliefs are recognized and revised in the here and now, with considerable relief and insight.

Instead of the term repression, which laid stress on the burying of past painful experiences within the unconscious, Rank preferred to use the term denial, a neurotic clinging to the past, in order to protect the person from truly experiencing the present. In France and later in America, Rank lectured on relational, experiential and "here-and-now" psychotherapy, art, the creative will, and "neurosis as a failure in creativity."

This leads to Rank's concept of creativity. For him the essential struggle of Man was not to achieve health or normalcy but rather to express himself creatively, so as to discover and express his own uniqueness and distinctiveness. Personal growth therefore becomes the process of taking responsibility for one's own life and to express one's will creatively in life situations. To achieve this an individual needs to face his own guilt and fear, which has resulted in a negative pattern of behavior, and break loose from this pattern and risk the courage to create.

At this moment the individual returns to the initial birth trauma, since every act of creativity is a rebirth process. He must relive the separation experience in every creative act. But now, instead of wishing for safety and union, he realizes that he must believe in himself as a self-reliant individual, different and differentiated from others, even at the possible price of being rejected by others.

There is evidence to suggest that Otto Rank was influenced by Adler and Jung. One of the most outstanding proclamations of Otto Rank was his absolute belief in the uniqueness of every human being. The most quoted statement of his (from "Beyond Psychology," page 267) says it precisely: "Will people ever learn... that there is no other equality possible than the equal right of every individual to become and be himself, which actually means to accept his own difference and have it accepted by others."

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MIND DEVELOPMENT COURSES 1-8
Study skills
Super Student - Mind Development Course 1

Many people have bad experiences at school and perhaps later in life, when attempting to study a new subject. It is easy to quickly get bogged down with new terminology, and often, new concepts and procedures seem unclear. This situation can quickly get out of hand as the student gets left behind and the subject either becomes an ongoing struggle or it is abandoned. But none of that is necessary; it is possible to succeed with the study of any subject.

With this course you will learn how to study a subject with maximum comprehension, with excellent recall, and with the ability to apply what you have learned effectively.

You will also learn how to take notes at rapid pace from books or live lectures, and how best to represent that information with key words, mind maps and flow charts that aid memory and understanding.

These abilities will be useful for your home studies, at college or work, and for your study of further Mind Development courses. You will indeed be able to succeed at studying effectively those subjects you are interested in, even those that were difficult before. The course is available freely online...

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Perception
Super Vision - Mind Development Course 2
The first course in the Mind Development system is "Super Vision," a home-study course to improve the mind's capacity for visualization and integration between left and right brain, boosting memory, creativity, natural eyesight and drawing ability. This is a new way of seeing - and being.

The practical exercises offered in this course help to develop visual perception, which is one branch of non-verbal communication, and address the subject of breathing and relaxation. Adequate oxygenation of the brain and a relaxed state of being is necessary for further developing the mind.

The eyes and the ears are the main channels through which one gains information about the world. As with listening skills, training in visualization and looking makes you more aware. When you are more aware, the subconscious mind has less influence. This means you are more relaxed, less anxious, less easily upset, a better memorizer - and your vision is improved.

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Communication
Effective Communication - Mind Development Course 3
This course teaches powerful communication skills that enable you to be more effective at work and in those situations of everyday life where better communication can make all the difference.

The Effective Communication course offers a series of practical exercises which develop the skills of communication and help the student to apply the fruits of his or her learning here and now - both to his or her personal growth and to the practical issues of personal relationships and business.

Improvement in our ability to communicate externally is reflected by a similar gain in communication between parts of the brain. The practice exercises enable development of all areas of the brain, even those which have been long under-used. They affect, particularly, the integration of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere governs a different way of thinking and seeing the world. By doing the exercises thoroughly, the student can bring both halves of the brain into mutual communication, so that he or she is freer to think holistically and experience the world from an expanded point of view.

Communication is the vehicle for all further techniques, so communications skills are a vital aspect of Mind Development. The Effective Communication course includes practical exercises to enhance the person's capacity to listen attentively and comprehend. Following that, questioning skills are practiced, which have relevance to communication, memory and understanding. This will help the student to maintain control of communication in practical, social and business situations. You will also learn about practical problem solving and how to achieve your goals in life.

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Concentration
Educating the Will - Mind Development Course 4
This course teaches the skills of concentration as a means of educating the will. Often, when we put our mind on something, we think of something else and this, in turn, reminds us of something else. The mind wanders from one thing to another by associations, until the original thing is forgotten. 'Concentration' means putting all one's attention on something, and keeping it there for as long as one wishes to. So if you concentrate on a book, you are aware of the book and you are not thinking, looking or listening to anything else. If you are concentrating you are awake and aware. In much of everyday life, most people are effectively day-dreaming - at worst they are sleep-walking automatons. Their minds flip mechanically from one thing to another, never resting on anything for very long or intentionally. This process may go on for the whole of their lives and they never learn or achieve anything of consequence.

Unless we can wake ourselves up from this mechanicalness and sleep, we cannot begin work on ourselves and we cannot get things done in life. We must learn the mood of concentration - of actually BEING in the Here-and-Now, noticing and observing, and focused on our actions.

Concentration is a means to develop the will, so that life may be lived purposely and creatively, rather than as a reaction to the flow of sensations. Because you will not flit from one thing to another, like a butterfly, you will be able to choose to focus your mind on things, e.g., study or work, and will increase your skills and knowledge in these areas. Most importantly, you will be able to focus more clearly on your vision of what you want to achieve.

In short, your mental life is both intensified and broadened. The ability to concentrate is, therefore, a valuable skill which will enhance all other skills. Almost all the drills and exercises of Mind Development help develop your ability to concentrate. But are there are ways to improve your concentration directly? Yes, and this course teaches the best of them.

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Reading skills
Power Reading - Mind Development Course 5
This home study course can double your reading speed and supercharge your brain's capacity to digest, remember and implement huge amounts of information... essential ingredients to success in your professional and personal life.

We all learn to read at school, after a fashion. But for most of us, this is not an optimal use of our brain power. In this course you will learn to better use the left brain's focused attention combined with the right brain's peripheral attention, in close harmony. Good communication between the brain hemispheres is a prerequisite for creative thinking and also a sense of well-being, where thoughts and feelings are integrated.

Reading may be defined as an individual's total inter-relationship with symbolic information. Reading is a communication process requiring a series of skills. As such reading is a thinking process rather than an exercise in eye movements. Effective reading requires a logical sequence of thought patterns, and these patterns require practice to set them into the mind. The methods currently used in schools do not touch on the issues of speed, comprehension and critical analysis and indeed all those skills which can be described as advanced reading techniques. In short, most of your reading problems have not been dealt with during your initial education. By using appropriate techniques, the limitations of early education can be overcome and reading ability improved by 500% or more.

The course teaches in-depth reading techniques that greatly improve literary intelligence, so that you can clearly perceive the ideas and values that the writer is expressing and relate them to those of other authors and so be better able to make objective conclusions.

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Memory skills
Creative Memory - Mind Development Course 6
In most civilized societies the development of language centers in the left hemisphere of the brain will produce dominance on that side, while spatial, visual and intuitive problem-solving skills, which are based on right-hemisphere relational processes, will be underdeveloped.

Though a highly developed memory and intuitive skills are not essential for life in modern society, they were important survival skills for primitive man who had no reference books to look up when he forgot something, no maps to guide him on long journeys, and was often in perilous situations where intuitive insight made the difference between life and death. To further evolve, we need to reclaim this heritage, which depends on the restoration and integration of our right-brain processes.

Without memory there is no knowledge, without knowledge there is no certainty and without certainty there is no will. We need a good memory to be able to orient ourselves in a rich network of all that we know and understand, to make sense of it and to move forward to attain goals that are based in reality and true to our selves.

You will learn advanced memory techniques in the Creative Memory Course that utilize the amazing powers of the right brain, which enable you to "file away" any new piece of information so that it is readily accessible for future immediate access.

As you continue to use the methods of cumulative perception taught in this course, this kind of random access memory begins to become second nature. Many memory experts call this the "soft breakthrough" because it happens almost imperceptibly at first, instead of hitting you like a mental bolt of lightning. Everything you find important is given its own unique mental file. Just like the executive whose desk has been buried in paper for years, who suddenly discovers his computer can do a much better job of storing and arranging information, a filed, organized mind suddenly begins to perform impressive recall tasks on demand.

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Sprinting
Zen & the Art of Sprinting - Mind Development Course 7
This course by Gregory Mitchell is on the periphery of Mind Development but nonetheless illustrates how closely mind and body function in co-ordination.

Using these techniques Gregory was able to run 100 meters in a time that nearly matched the then British champion, with relatively little physical fitness preparation (60% or less compared with a typical athlete). You may not personally want to increase your sprinting speed, but the principles described here have many applications both for physical and mental development.

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No-Mind
Zen & the Art of Calculation - Mind Development Course 8
The Goal of Zen is the state of 'No-Mind'. This is an intuitive way of dealing with the world. The aim of this course is to enable a student to turn on a particular form of 'No-Mind' consciousness that can be applied to a practical task - that of arithmetical calculation. Habitual responses are set up which are the inverse of linearity. Several parts of the calculation have to be handled simultaneously; the result will be obtained about five times as fast, so it appears to be instantaneous.

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