Marc Levin, Psychologist and Jazz Musician 🇬🇧🇩🇰
Marc Levin, Psychologist and Jazz Musician 🇬🇧🇩🇰
It's possible that you came to this page with the expectation that I would present the techniques and widely recognised therapeutic schools I apply in my work, and, though I’ve referenced a few quotes with people with whom I’ve studied or by whom I’ve been influenced, the actual schools and techniques generated by the client and me are, in that sense no different than the existing and acknowledged ones, which are also the products of interactions between people in therapeutic settings, that have influenced theories and models for schools of practice.
The therapeutic interaction, though purporting to have a scientific basis, varies widely among practitioners regarding viability and adherence to such a foundation and is more fairly presented as a tradition, with anecdotal and formalised bits of theories and episodes, perhaps parallel to or supplemented by applied research.
The term and notion of psychotherapy is as broad as it is high, full of many terms and definitions, often confusing and difficult to consistently apply by the health care professionals trained in it. It can require agreement in interpretation, not only of the language, but how it relates to the case or situation at hand.
After years of experience and training in theoretical and applied psychology with masterful teachers, supervisors and clients, the world of psychotherapy, has brought me to several valuable conclusions and lessons:
Regarding techniques and schools, it is not them that create self-empowerment, and solutions to the challenges of living.
I don’t believe that using Picasso’s brushes will make me a master painter, though using them might inspire me and, if of appropriate quality and context, could give me a better chance of expressing and creating beauty.
Good professional and personal skills and experiences, unabashed curiosity, genuineness and honesty are among the tools, brushes and paint pots that masterpieces of life-quality are made of.
The magic comes when therapist and client meet each other as two or more artists with their toolboxes and energy, with shared visions, values and intent in their process; and with dreams and miracles being outrageously encouraged where possible and appropriate.
“….You meet the patient, she/he presents her symptoms, you fall in love with them, embrace them, knowing that they have another side that heals….”
“…..Be humble, vigilant and prepared to be of service to the client as their witness, at times offering to hold their burdens until they’re prepared to integrate them as enhanced empowerment…..”
“The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action”
And, perhaps most important:
"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."
Regarding his work, musician/composer Miles Davis referred to the role of attitude as 80% of the [musical] creative process and notes as the remaining 20%, and, though his notion of attitude is more vernacular than clinical, his observation illustrates the its importance in creativity and effective outcomes in the vernacular world shared by the therapist and client.
Taking the role of attitude further into the therapeutic space, one can see it as a combination of one’s beliefs and root values (what’s important for an individual or group). If attitudes resonate between or among the participants, and trust and security emerge and prevail in the communication, then the authenticity and conditions for generative growth in the therapeutic space are insured
“Reparative” therapy, where fixes and solutions can be suggested (sometimes called 'gaffer-tape' or 'quick fix' therapy), can be upgraded to “generative” therapy, where the client and the therapist discover solutions and perspectives, not only for the challenges presented, but for others to come. Lessons are learned, peptides make new cell connections, the psychological immune system, so to spoke, is enhanced.
Traditional views of psychological problems as pathological, where the therapists’ study, wisdom and authority can be expected to give answers and advice to reduce mental and existential distress, can be ethically redefined in the space of discovery, where, indeed the therapist can witness and hold the burdens of the client at times (Schneider) while still acknowledging, the courage of the client whose symptoms have another side that heals (Gilligan).
So there you have it. That’s what I could come up with at this time.
So much more awaits us. You know how to contact me with your comments, questions or supplemental information.
The best for now from here,
Nearly all practicing psychologists in Denmark are Danish, trained in various branches of the Danish national universities, and are members of the Danish Psychologists’ Union. Many are either authorised by the government’s board of psychologists (psykolognævnet) or are going through the long and rigorous process of attaining that authorisation, typically followed by a specialisation.
The Danish culture is very homogenous and appears to value conformity, predictability as vital elements of security that they define and strive for. I say much of this because we non-Danes as well as many Danes, seem to struggle and at times be mystified the growing homogeny seen in many examples, such as the evaporation of dialect, the standardisation of language, accepted practices and, in the case of the psychology curricula, content which might well be developed internationally, while “foreign” psychologists, often with Phd’s and other advanced training and experience, even some involved in developing the material that the Danes study, are denied access to membership in the Danish psychologists union without “upgrading” their degree or, in some cases, having to start from the beginning or near-beginning if they, as foreigners are even able get into the university, despite holding advanced degrees in the field.
In addition to the above factors and more, one must first be a member of the Danish Psychologists Union to be considered for authorisation. Such membership almost always requires a Danish academic degree, with little or no credit or merit given to the one one has, even if it’s more advanced.
This has also been my experience but not my outcome as I have been a Danish authorised psychologist since 1998 and apparently one of very few in the country whose fundamental and advanced degrees were earned outside Denmark.
The reasons why this is so in my case and not for others who are as well or more qualified than I, and the broader elements of exclusiveness in this and some other academic and practical skill-areas in Denmark will be addressed in other writings later, as I take more time to reflect and research this issue and its challenges and conflicts with my and others’ shared vision of the psychologist’s role and function as a universal witness to, student of and catalyst for healing of othrs.
In the face of this situation, mixed-messages and confusion can arise about the qualifications of foreign-trained psychologists and other professionals. The problem is generally less relevant in the private sector than in government healthcare activities, which I’ve learned by having worked extensively in both.
In addressing the question “Why are my qualifications shown here?” The answer is to solidify my selected credentials despite a prevailing double-bind criticism, that if you list them, you might be regarded as bragging and if you don’t, you might be considered less-well-trained than a Danish psychologist, despite the assessment of the Danish Board of Psychologists and others.
It should be said that my reflections and shared ’self-talk’ posted here, are not meant to provoke for provocations sake, but to try, along with colleagues of many nations and persuasions in Denmark and beyond, to encourage true diversity in a culture that often has branded and marketed itself as tolerant and welcoming, yet in some areas, such as academic psychology, is accepting, training and recruiting candidates who, while possibly reflecting some form of internally-defined “danskhed” / “Danishness,” can be building learning experiences, models and habits in a limited direction that may not reflect the flexibility, curiosity and interest in growth, that is in fact characterised by multi- and interculturality not just among foreigners, but in subsets of the ethnic Danish population as well.
Danish values and true interculturality, as I understand and experience these terms in my personal and professional life needn’t be mutually exclusive.
As a working musician and composer as well as psychologist, I often visit friends and colleagues at various music conservatories and orchestras here, being refreshed and inspired by diversely trained international students, professionals and virtuosi studying and performing together in the universal language of music, and wishing, hoping and, where possible, working toward a similar confluence of psychology students and practicing professionals ‘performing’ and celebrating the courage of sister and brother humans as they navigate life’s challenges in the daily unfinished symphony of life.
Wish me/us luck🙏🏽💖
Who are these gentlemen and what are they doing?
What are some differences between coaching, counselling, training and psychotherapy?
What are the characteristics of an effective coach and coachee interaction?
Answers to these and other questions will be coming in Updating from January-March, 2022, though you’re always welcome to contact me.