Re: Insight and recovery

Bob Green (
Sun, 27 Jul 1997 07:55:37 +1000


I read your response with interest.

What I found particularly interesting was your description of the outcome of
having insight/real insight/genuine real insight etc:

SNIP > I think the latter [i.e., genuine new insight] is an outcome of
>experimentation and testing in the context of action (best understood in
the >context of the Experience Cycle).

>Nonetheless, teaching the client how to manage successive creativity cycles
>seems to be necessary for significant change and movement and is highly valued
>by Kelly.

Insight is often valued by mental health professionals because it suggests
improvement or a more positive prognosis. It would seem that insight in
these terms is more than self understanding, it is seeing things as others
see them.
Rather than judging whether a person has insight or not, or whether having
insight results in some beneficial outcome, you have suggested alternative
criteria for evaluating capacity for change or ability to adapt; i.e.,
ability to manage creativity cycles.

>>I think one of the difficulties involved in discussing 'insight' and 'genuine
>insight' relates to the question of 'reality contact'. Reactions against the
>latter notion seem to be behind most of the discussion so far about denial,
>resistance and lack of compliance, and lack of insight. I find this topic
>really difficult. On the one hand, Kelly (and I agree with him )clearly
>the imposition of one's interpretation of reality on another.

>On the other
>hand, Kelly held stubbornly to the search for truth as based in ceaseless
>experimentation and committed experience. Viability and boldness of venture
>were indications to Kelly that we were on the path to truth. In this sense,
>'genuine' insights were those that stood the test of reality, or at least were
>not confronted with disconfirming evidence and took account of as wide a range
>of ther 'data' of expereince as possible.

The issue of disconfirming evidence and construing is an interesting one and
featured in the discussion on schizophrenia. I have been thinking of
seeking others views on what the opposite pole to schizophrenia is, so as to
explore this a bit more.

In the paper today, there was an article refering to a judge who was
described as someone who sought the Truth. Even this Truth is relative.
For example, there is a criminal (beyond reasonable doubt) and civil (on the
balance of probabilities) standard, which has to be met to establish that a
person did or ommitted to do some act. These are two legal standards for
disconfirming evidence, undoubtedly individuals have their own standards and

>In terms of 'insight' and 'remorse' I think, therefore, that the question is
>not so much differentiating them, but rather seeing to what extent they enable
>the person to comprehensively anticipate their existence. Thus, if by
>'remorse' is meant a comprehensive construction of one's actions and an
>empathic understanding of their effects on others, AND this allows the person
>to move on in their [mutually viable and rewarding] relations with others,
>this would be a geniune insight in Kelly's terms. But if the remorse
>implications which arouse excessive levels of guilt, then the new insight may
>lock the person into hostile 'resistances' which do not enable the person to
>play effective roles in relation to others.

What about the implications of a lack of remorse for a relationship?

>I'll stop there I think before I dig too deep a hole for myself!

By all means keep digging,