REPORT FROM PROFESSOR'S SPENCER MCWILLIAMS WORKSHOP "MINDFULNESS, BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY & CONSTRUCTIVIST PSYCHOTHERAPIES"

During April, Serbian Constructivist Association had the honor and a rare privilege to host distinctive scholar from USA, Professor Spencer McWilliams. Dr McWilliams is professor of psychology at State University of California San Marcos and the current president of Constructivist Psychology Network (CPN), well known association of constructivist psychology in the U.S.A.

During the first day, students had the opportunity to learn about the long history of precursors of constructivism, beginning with a consideration of three perspectives from over 2000 years ago in ancient Greece, Rome, and India (Sophism, Skepticism, and Buddhism), and subsequently surveying more recent viewpoints from 19th and 20th Century Europe and America (Perspectivism, Pragmatism and Neopragmatism).

During the second day, Professor McWilliams has presented the theoretical roots of mindfulness in Buddhist psychology, beginning with the Middle Way theory of Mādhyamika Buddhism, which demonstrates the interdependence, impermanence, and emptiness, suggesting that psychological phenomena, although constructed as real, lack an inner essence, or inherent reality. The concept of self was considered from this perspective of emptiness, applying the understanding of “no-self,” and emphasizing how psychological dysfunction arises when we reify conventional concepts such as self and treat them as having inherent existence. Subsequently, Professor McWilliams has offered students an opportunity to practice the basic meditation techniques. The workshop then continued with a rationale for the use of mindfulness in psychotherapy, describing examples of mindfulness methods and techniques from various psychotherapy approaches.

A special illustration of understanding “no self” came from the learning of “General semanticist” Alfred Korzibsky and his teaching about E-prime orthe use of English language devoid from the verb “to be”. That gave the audience a rare opportunity to try “speaking constructively” – using the mode of speech germane with recent constructivist ideas.

During the lecture, students looked as bewitched and enchanted, both with the lecture and lecturer. Very inspiring and interesting share of ideas followed during discussion, which appeared as highly mutually rewarding -both for the SCA students, as well as for the Professor McWilliams. Two days have passed unbelievably quickly, leaving a strong impression on every single person who has attended.

What could be the better proof of the sincerity and honesty of this report than the fact that it comes written in E-prime mode which was only one of the numerous gains and benefits from this lovely and memorable workshop?