Analysis vs. reflection: and what it can teach you about yourself.

Health & Happiness

Analysis vs. reflection: and what it can teach you about yourself.

Analysis and reflection in a therapeutic context, are two fundamentally different things with different origins and purposes. This article is an attempt to distinguish the two terms and the underlying concepts from their origins. In addition, I provide you with a little type check and my personal recommendation for your type-appropriate personal development....

The word analysis comes from the Greek and means resolution. It means the systematic examination and "dissection" of the object of investigation (a person, a certain situation, a constellation, etc.) into its individual components, so that it can be ordered and evaluated. The focus is on the relationship to the individual components and their interaction. In other words, it is about the connections, about the underlying pattern.

Thus, psychoanalysis is originally about uncovering and becoming aware of the interrelationships of a particular condition. It is based on a variety of models that have, of course, expanded and evolved since Sigmund Freud founded them around 1900.

For the word reflection (or Reflexion) there are different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. In physics it means to reflect, in education it simply means to think about something. I like the definition from programming, where it is called the ability of a program to know its own structure and modify it when necessary.

Scientific research on reflection, in the sense of learning experience, was not established until around 1980, some 80 years later than analysis in the sense of human systems. 

What is the point of distinguishing these terms?

If you are interested in language, it might just be exciting how often people talk about analysis, although strictly speaking it is reflection, because there is no underlying model, or vice versa.

For me, as an analyst, however, another aspect is much more exciting. Based on these two, one could say, therapy concepts, two basic learning types can be distinguished: The analyst, who explains himself and his world from the outside via models, and the reflective, who tries to learn by reflecting on himself. And from this you can learn a lot about yourself.

Head or gut person?

Would you describe yourself as an analyst or a "head person"? Then you most likely have the tendency in you to analyze things instead of feeling them. You have many explanations, know many models, and have a quote from an author or the professional literature ready for most situations in your life. All of this helps you organize and give structure to your world. When something goes out of your control or doesn't go according to plan, you analyze why and make a change. This strategy will get you very far. If it weren't for those stupid feelings for which you have no model, perhaps there is no model, and which you can't explain to yourself. The preferred strategy then is to suppress the unpleasant feeling. This strategy usually doesn't work too badly, at least for a while. But the unpleasant feeling comes back. Maybe in a different context or in a slightly different dress, but it is certainly not gone. Because the physical experience, shock or trauma that is combining with that feeling is not resolved. Your challenge is to engage with your body and the feelings. Yoga, mental training, breathing exercises or meditation will help you train this. Integrative therapy methods that work with processing on the body - such as EMDR, wingwave, Psych-K and the like - address the issues at the root. 

Do you count yourself more as a reflective person or a "gut person"? Then the exact opposite is the case. You are used to feeling yourself. Every feeling, every thought is perceived and evaluated. Not only with you, but also with others. This leads to the fact that you can put yourself in others' shoes very well. Sometimes so much that you make their "suffering" your own. Your world is anything but black and white. It consists of all the colors of the rainbow, which makes it difficult for you to decide. Your themes are clarity and separation. You have probably been told this many times. Unfortunately, very little good advice comes with an instruction manual. I would like to try it therefore once with other words: You need models. Models provide a framework and structure. They help you to see the complex and therefore overwhelming world more clearly. They help you to categorize things so that your feelings and the feelings of others don't overwhelm you all the time. Coaches usually work with different models and may be able to help you access the world of analysis.

The most important tip for your everyday life is this. Your body needs strength! It has to endure a lot. Strengthen it and keep it fit. Nourishing regular food, strengthening physical exercises, a lot of movement (preferably in the fresh air) and breath work will bring the much needed energy into your body.

PS: This typing is, as always, a gross oversimplification and there are of course all sorts of hybrids. Nevertheless, you will probably identify more with one type. Because we are always instinctively drawn to people who are similar to us, my therapy suggestion will scare you off at first. But you know what? Do one thing and don't do another. I can only tell you to try it out. It will enrich your world and broaden your horizon. That's a promise!

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Analysis vs. reflection: and what it can teach you about yourself.
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