In the first post of this series, we looked at the idea of fishing and metaskills. In the second post, we explored the idea of fishing in the context of individual therapy. In yesterday’s post, we looked at this idea of fishing in the context of couples’ therapy and group therapy. In today’s post, we’ll look at implications for future research and wrap up the paper.
Mindfulness. Fishing can be a very important tool in the therapist’s toolbox. Since Mindell’s publication on fishing (1995), there has not been any research conducted about fishing. It is possible that what Mindell called fishing, some people call mindfulness. According to Krasner (2004), “Mindfulness-based interventions ask of the participants to consciously shift that locus of control internally . . . and apply wise attention . . . to the present moment” (p. 208). Mindfulness asks the client to be conscientious of one’s own processes and fishing is a way for the therapist to acknowledge these processes in the client. In mindfulness, the person sits with unhurried attention and notices what is happening inside them at that moment. In fishing, the therapist is sitting with unhurried attention in an effort to notice what is going on inside the client. Comparing and contrasting the mindfulness techniques to fishing could yield practical results for therapists who use either of the techniques. A study of like this could determine if it is more advantageous to be mindful solely on one’s own or if it is better when someone else (a therapist) is being mindful of one’s processes. In the next section, implications for future research on fishing within the field of transpersonal psychology are explored.
Transpersonal psychology. According to Mindell (1995), “At present there is no one unified system of techniques which all practitioners of transpersonal psychology employ” (p. 36). This can make it very difficult to categorize the techniques used by transpersonal psychologists who have a private practice of therapy. As stated by Hammer (1974), “Transpersonal psychotherapy concerns itself, ultimately, with helping consciousness transcend its identification with the various limiting and relative self-defined personal labels, concepts or images which comprise the apparent and illusional ego and awaken to itself” (p. 202). Given that there are conflicting viewpoints, it would be essential to conduct a study to discern the techniques that are the more effective techniques used in transpersonal psychotherapy. After having witnessed a transpersonal therapist conduct a psychodrama at a transpersonal graduate school where the technique of fishing was utilized, it would be appropriate to include fishing as one of the techniques in a study of transpersonal psychotherapy. There are many different techniques used in transpersonal psychotherapy, but it is possible that much of the techniques are derivatives of fishing. Transpersonal psychology is known for focusing on more than just the person. It includes what is beyond the person. Meaning, transpersonal psychotherapy includes the spirit in therapy. In order to be able to notice the spirit in the client, it is important for the therapist to sit with unhurried attention, much the same as a therapist using the metaskill of fishing would. In this section, there have been ties made between transpersonal psychology and fishing. In the next section, there are connections made between fishing and massage therapy.
Massage therapy. Up to this point, fishing has been referred to in the context of mainly talk therapy applications. If during therapy, the therapist notices an instance where the client’s words are not congruent with the client’s actions; this could be considered a fish. However, the concept of fishing could be applied to a discipline that is mainly a touching discipline. According to Moyer, Rounds, and Hannum (2004), “Massage therapy (MT), [is] the manual manipulation of soft tissue intended to promote health and well-being” (p. 3). Within massage therapy, the therapist does not necessarily have to speak to the client in order to administer the therapy. In most massage therapies, the client lays face down on the table, and the therapist massages their neck, shoulders, and back. It is conceivable that the therapist could go into a state of consciousness where their hands are not moving by their own will. In this state of consciousness, similar to unhurried attention, their hands could be ‘fishing’ on the client’s body. The therapist could be massaging the client in one area and have a sense to move to a specific part on the client’s body. This would be very similar to fishing. In moving to this new spot, the client’s body could give the therapist feedback telling them that this spot is a good spot to continue working with or a spot that they need to move stop working with immediately. In this section, there have been implications for how fishing could be researched further with the topics of mindfulness, transpersonal psychology, and massage therapy.
Initially, there was a description of metaskills and the fundamental metaskill of fishing. Within the comprehensive explanation of fishing, there were details on recognizing a fish and determining fish from non-fish by way of the feedback given from the client. There were explanations of individual therapy, couples’ therapy, and group therapy, which contained examples of how fishing is present in all three kinds of therapy. There were also areas for possible further research that tied fishing to mindfulness, transpersonal psychology, and massage therapy.
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Hammer, M. (1974). The essence of personal and transpersonal psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 11(3), 202-210.
Krasner, M. (2004). Mindfulness-based intervention: A coming of age? Families, Systems, & Health, 22(2), 207-212.
Mindell, A. (1995). Metaskills: The spiritual art of therapy. Tempe, Arizona: New Falcon Publications.
Moyer, C. A., Rounds, J., & Hannum, J. W. (2004). A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychological Bulletin, 130(1), 3-18.
Oei, T. P. S., & Green, A. L. (2008). The satisfaction with therapy and therapist scale – revised (STTS-R) for group psychotherapy: Psychometric properties and confirmatory factor analysis. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(4), 435-442.
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If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.