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About “working through”

On November 6th covering ,

A few thoughts on the title of the blog: “working through”. I have snagged the domain, and I will be moving to workingthrough.com at some point have moved from Typepad to workingthrough.com. This is a happy development, and it is much better than the dozens of unavailable domains I tried.

You may recognize the term, which comes from Freud’s 1914 essay “Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through”. Freud used the German durcharbeiten, and his translators were wise enough this time to render it simply in vernacular English. It refers to the real work of the analytic process, the unglamorous long slog for which Freud rightly gives the patient most of the credit. This is how hard-won self knowledge is brought home, learned and relearned until it’s in the person’s bones. In working-through, the whole person is involved — it requires thinking and feeling together, where many therapies emphasize one to the exclusion of the other.

It is in working-through that Freud comes as close as he ever does to allowing for a striving for health. This is how we can escape being prisoners of our past. I like the term because it says what it is — it is work. It is not magic, or inspiration from the Muse, or a flash of insight and a cinematic wash of emotion that leaves a person all better.

There is another implication of “workingthrough” that works for my purposes. I am interested in work and the workplace, in organizations, leadership, creativity. Work is one of the important ways we define ourselves in relation to the world. It is one of the big domains of life, and therefore one of the big areas where frustrations occur and where life can be improved.

There is a long tradition in my field of applying what we learn to the world of work. I’ll be talking more about that soon. I am using this writing to work through other ways of applying what I know: working through consultation with organizations, their denizens and leaders, or through other methods.

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