6. Jun.

A prescription for art and culture

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When the doctor says: Visit the museum!

Why not go to the museum more often?
It is proven to increase mental well-being and your physical health!

What may initially sound like a marketing strategy for artists and culture professionals, has now been scientifically proven. In a long-term study London researchers have found that cultural activities have beneficial effects on people’s health. A regular visit to the museum, a theater performance or a concert, for example, reduces the risk of a depressive illness. Read more about it in the article
Your doctor recommends: culture in “Psychology Today” (German language).

Now, doctors in Canada are going one step further: working with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, they can now offer their patients a prescription for free museum visits. It has become clear to doctors since the 1980s that both the mental and the physical condition of a patient can be improved by the hormones released during a visit to the museum. In the case of prescribed art, several people are helped at the same time: the patient as well their companion benefit from healing and preventative measures.
Read the article “Doctors in Montreal can now prescribe a visit to an art museum“.

What has now been scientifically proven is what the Symbolon-Method® has been showing since 2000. With a reflective approach to art, not only new and unforgettable experiences and insights, but also the understanding of one’s own multi-layered personality and the understanding for other people become possible. Artworks provide a platform which, through the association method, provide each individual personality with the leeway to easily lead their own self-reflection processes.
So why not regularly go to the museum and get involved in art while floating from artwork to artwork with the help of newly released feel-good hormones?

With the Symbolon Art4Reflection, you can experience extraordinary tours through museums worldwide with various Symbolon specialists. You will encounter 3 selected masterpieces and immerse yourself in reflection processes that will make your visit to the museum unforgettable.

To professionalize your reflection skills, online reflection training is available for you.
Book a package, log in and independently experience about 14 hours of theory and practice.

Image: Christine Kranz, Symbolon Art4Reflection guided tour, 2018, Kunsthaus Zürich
(with approval of the participants)

This is a translation of the German blog article Kunst und Kultur per Rezept posted on June 4th 2019 by Christine Kranz

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9. May.

Achieve more with less

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How reflection helps to identify ballast and to leave the comfort zone

Personal and organizational developments require planning, patience, discipline and a clear vision. For this, we must recognize the meaning and the essential issues, usually bring high levels of commitment and be ready to give everything.

This is often difficult because our culture of prosperity and fear makes us lethargic and paralyzed. Fear of loss is nourished; potential development is prevented. Far too many “ifs” and “buts” stand in our way.
You might recognize statements like these from your own thoughts and feelings “I cannot do that because someone or something …”? Often blockages and failures are justified by external factors. But these thoughts or attitudes are immature and self-preventing. Because external and internal factors impact each other.

In the following film high goals are symbolized with the mountain and recognizing the hidden symbolized by the crescent moon reflecting. Even if the moon disappears from our view in the meantime, it is always there. With reflection we clarify the height and breadth of our actions and enrich it with depth and meaning.

 

Reflection helps in the overabundance of possibilities to remember that central changes are not primarily about what we amplify or augment, but what we reduce or eliminate. Efficient is who in cooperation encourages each other to create clarity and to throw unnecessary ballast out the window. Lightweight luggage allows agility indoors and outdoors.

In joint action, it is crucial for success to constantly make ourselves aware of blind spots, to allow self-responsibility and to leave the comfort zone with determination. This opens up new perspectives and powerful opportunities for the future. To also set high goals through reflection with others. To be optimistic and at the same time to expect that the desired may not be achieved.

Extraordinary goals, be it for yourself or your organization, need an innovative attitude and infectious inspiring spirit of optimism. After all, something not achieved is a smaller loss than a missed opportunity.

Let’s go with less, for more success!

Film: © shutterstock Wilderness Snow Mountain Peaks

This is a translation of the German blog article Mit weniger mehr erreichen posted on January 31st 2017 by Christine Kranz.

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15. Apr.

Reflection creates real and therefore efficient cooperation

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A team development in which patterns and core themes are addressed and solved.

“My management team does not really work together. For my department to be more successful, I need a top-performing troupe.”
On further inquiries, the divisional head of a group explains: “They are lone fighters. Everyone starts from his point of view. They all work well, they are top people, but when it comes to finding consensus where one or the other is said to be weak, there are conflicts and vanities that complicate daily processes. I’ve taken part in several development processes and workshops with them and they have helped with collaboration, but nothing hits the nail on the head. This lone attitude and the competitive thinking always lead to tensions and cost us time and money. We could be much more efficient if we approach each other differently and really work together.”

When is a management team really a team? What makes the difference between a collection of individuals and a team?
The quality of the connections to each other, the relationships. If they are superficial, the cooperation is also superficial. If they are binding, the cooperation is also binding. The way of dealing with each other shows the quality of relationships and vice versa. Missing interpersonal connections are usually compensated with a counterproductive hard gait and selfish behaviour. For a successful strategy and team building the relationship level must therefore be tackled:
– What does the management team stand for?
– Do the managers know each other?
– Do the managers know what strengths and weaknesses the others have?
– Can the managers empathize with the others?
– Is there a mutual level of understanding?
– Do the managers know what the others need or what they can handle only with difficulty?
– Do they treat each other with respect and appreciation?

All these questions are addressing the relationship processes and how they treat each other. By reflecting and answering such questions, one’s own personality development and interpersonal quality become visible. Obstacles, misunderstandings and tensions are illuminated honestly. What are the core topics? What repeats, what are the patterns in the collaboration of the team? All participants face the core issues that can be solved.

In the reflection process, the managers see where they are similar and where they are different. Suddenly one recognizes with respect to his colleague: “Now I understand why you block when I push! I always thought that you did not want to give me the information. It’s just the pressure that you dodge. We are different and approach our work in a completely different way.”

In order to achieve such “aha-experiences”, it requires protected development spaces and time to immerse in reflection processes. The different needs and intangible issues of how to get to work are made visible without assumed value. Due to the resulting clarity, the findings of these processes are transferred into everyday life. The quality of relationships is more genuine and therefore more binding in every respect.

The joint coordination and cooperation will improve efficiency in the long term. The managers develop appreciation for themselves and others. The reflected and thus clearer strategy-orientation causes everyone to strive towards the supra-personal goal. The new and stronger WE-feeling motivates to achieve top performance and pushes everyone forwards.

Image: ©shutterstock

This is a translation of the German blog article Reflexion schafft echte und somit effiziente Zusammenarbeit posted on January 28th 2013 by Christine Kranz

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9. Apr.

How Schiele’s artworks show psychological compensations

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Lead authentically and differentiated with high level of awareness

In the context of leadership and career, mental illnesses such as depression, ego weakness, personality disorder, burnout syndrome and narcissism are often used as a matter of fact. This led to the concept of resilience meteorically gaining prominence. What is quickly and superficially thematized and put into boxes, can in no way do justice to those affected. The inner life and the resulting external effect are the result of a long, incomparable life journey. The sum of all experiences makes the uniqueness of people. With all our unprocessed weaknesses, strengths and applied potential.

To expose the inner potentials, a profound personality development is required. This includes reflecting on one’s own psyche. As self-evident as body care and hygiene are embodied in our culture, the treatment of mental stability requires differentiated attention with a focus on self-development. Anyone who neglects or even negates the “psycho-hygiene” with its contained fears, patterns and weaknesses risks becoming mentally and physically unstable and unwell over time.

100 years ago, the Austrian artist Egon Schiele presented psychological content with the most intense expressiveness. The following digression with two of his self-portraits shows profound topics and development potentials with the help of symbolic translation and associative contemplation. Not Schiele’s thoughts are interpreted, but rather attention to the symbolism and his own feelings are paid, which triggers the depicted. If the viewer leans on personal associations, he succeeds in bringing inner patterns and processes to light.

This self-portrait created in 1910 symbolizes the expression of the intellectually controlling abilities as well as the power of action and locomotion through the concise shaping and intensive coloring of the head, the hand and the leg indicated on the lower edge of the picture. The angular lines, the strong expression of the face and the red eyes represent insecurity as well as dominance. Schiele renounced entirely on the painting of the robe. This associates a reduced body or a floating shell which, in contrast to head and limbs, has an incredible effect.

This emptiness symbolizes people whose inner personal areas of feelings, needs and instincts remain empty and unfulfilled. They have lost contact with each other by identifying with performance and successes in the outside world. Usually these people are dependent on the feedback of others and therefore function reactive and undifferentiated.

In the outward-looking business
world of superlatives of more, faster and bigger, the inside look is pushed completely to the side. The inner voice is silent and meaningful questions remain unanswered. The original source of life and energy is drying up. Psychology offers ways inwards and gives answers to psychodynamic processes that work in people and are constantly triggered from the outside. Because everything that moves a person, be it in a pleasant or unpleasant way, has to do with oneself. With a low level of awareness, one’s own problem is projected onto others and the potential for conflict is increased, which in turn makes it difficult to find constructive solutions. For example, critical feedback might be met with defense. With a high level of awareness, it is possible to reflect the subjective insult and to understand that, for example, the lack of self-esteem led to the pain and the defense. The self-responsible analysis of the triggered inner pattern and the potential for development contained therein is dealt with. For example, this can lead to a healthy self-awareness. Accordingly, the event is dealt with objectively by all participants and an adequate further development and design of the work situation is possible.

In this self-portrait, which was painted three years later, Schiele emphasizes the use of gesture and color in contrasting ways, as in the previous work. The orange robe stands for a strong, personal relationship to the emotional, physical and instinctive life force. The sensual expression with the closed eyes represents the attention directed inwards. Through the forehead wrinkles the inside look does not appear passive at all but rather a search and struggle for deeper essential insights.

If a person directs the self-critical discussion too much inward with too little distance to the subjective feeling, this can have an inhibiting effect on the spontaneous development of potential. Constant self-doubt and questioning absorb the power that would be necessary for a lively exterior design.

The balanced psychological confrontation with oneself is an invaluable benefit for executives and decision makers. Because everyone has their sunny sides and shadow themes, which are destructive, preventing and exhausting in displacement. Even if a very difficult person gets along relatively well with themselves, they usually pose an unbearable burden on the environment, especially in their role as superiors. If they are also taken over by a selfish omnipotence, they can be unaware of the responsibility they have and the burden they put onto others. When too many stress factors come together in the individual, the psyche compensates with counter-reactions or breaks down.

The development of inner processes should be accompanied by coaches and counselors with high psychological competence. Their own reflection competence and personality development play a decisive role here. For only those who have explored and integrated their own depths can surely accompany others in their deep development of personality and potential. The way inwards is not only worthwhile for those affected. The companies also benefit. Executives and decision makers get through the serious, individual confrontation with strength and support. They are clearer, more decisive and more authentic in their attitude and all their actions. An immense amount of valuable potential lies on the inner levels, waiting to be activated and used on the outside.

Images:
Self-portrait, 1910, Egon Schiele, privat collection;
Self-portrait in orange jacket, 1913, Egon Schiele, Albertina, Vienna

This is a translation of the German blog article Wie Schieles Werke psychologische Kompensationen aufzeigen posted on January 27th 2015 by Christine Kranz

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19. Oct.

Pure analysis overlooks essentials — reflection goes deeper!

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The time has come that the business community understands and uses reflection processes.

The economy and training systems increasingly deal with reflection and self-reflection. Often it is not understood how effective reflection is in the world of business. Only a few know the exact difference between reflection and analysis. The time has come to explain what is to be gained by the inclusion of reflection processes and to provide clarity in the differentiation between the two. Only in this way the reflection competence can be specifically measured, developed, applied and utilized.

Analysis is an active thought process in which you combine numbers, facts, occurrences, put them into context, derive results and draw conclusions. You almost exclusively use your intellectual and factual approach to the world.

Reflection is a passive and sensing process, in which you perceive impressions, intuitions, moods, … you approach and realize them and gain insights. You almost exclusively use your intuitive and emotional approach to the world.
When analysing, you personally stay on the surface, on the outside, at a distance, with those aspects which are measurable and visible. The process of analysis itself is fast and extensive.
While reflecting, you personally go beneath the surface, to the inside, get in contact with aspects which are intangible and invisible. The reflection process itself is slow and pervasive.

The differences between reflection and analysis can be understood with this artwork by Claude Monet. Imagine yourself standing on the bridge in the picture, looking at the scenery. You analyse every visible plant and animal. When you walk of the bridge towards the bank and look into the depth of the water, you only see a blurred vision of what inside. A reflection process corresponds, to the situation, when you take time to get a closer look. Gradually, you can see what is happening below the surface more clearly.

For one’s own personal development, it is important to know the difference between self-analysis and self-reflection. During self-analysis, you think about yourself, without having to enter an intimate relationship with yourself. In self-reflection you dive into your inner personality levels. There you will find your strengths and weaknesses and at the same time your needs and drives. You meet yourself authentically, without changing artificially through a behaviour control. Understanding turns to insight –knowledge becomes certainty.

For example, a manager has determined through self-analysis that she has trouble getting in lane and adapting. This knowledge is nothing new for her. Despite her efforts she did not manage to resolve the tensions, which she created through her behaviour in her work environment.

Through self-reflection, she could see that she has a fundamental problem with proximity and distance and that once her decision space is limited, insurmountable resistances arise in her. The manager realized that she needs a clearer definition of her area of responsibility to increase her efficiency and that, whenever appropriate, she needs to communicate her inner “No”. In this way, she can prevent tensions and resistances, which otherwise would arise in her and others. The manager has achieved clarity in which suggestions she will communicate to her supervisor in order to change the working conditions so that her work environment fits her optimally. She took responsibility for her situation by considering her own strengths and associated weaknesses. She decided to change, which was based on certainty by her inner personality and was implemented in a solution-oriented way.

If you have developed your skills for self-reflection, you become clearer and more confident in your realizations. Expand your skills as leader, decision maker or specialist by activating your access to self-reflection. In many ways, your life will become richer and more successful, not only for you but also for your environment.

Images: Pen and calculator on paper, Evlakhov Valerity, Shutterstock
Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte, 1899, Claude Monet (1840–1926), Musée d’Orsay, Paris

This is a translation of the German blog article Reine Analyse übersieht WesentlichesReflexion geht tiefer! posted on November 25th 2010 by Christine Kranz

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8. Oct.

How Art contributes to Self-Knowledge

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Draw new knowledge for the business world by reflecting and contemplating art

With increasing pressure in the business world, the individual need for approaching the inner core grows. Inwardly directed questions arise: What is my uniqueness? What is important to me? What is the meaning of my doing? True self-knowledge offers fundamental answers to these questions. The gained inner clarity of a self-knowledge process releases energy for change and sustainable development. In this process, art can help. Artwork forms a unique platform to facilitate self-reflection without any detours. They invite the viewer to look beyond the limits of his or her thought and action patterns and to grant him/herself new space for development.

Art causes cultural change

We are surrounded by art and richly gifted with a variety of ways to experience it. Many companies recognize the importance of artwork beyond the material value and allow their employees to design their workplace with self-selected art. Art adds colour, vitality, movement, expression to the world and the workplace.

A huge selection of museums and public collections offers a wealth of creative works from many centuries. Artists have always shaped the spirit of the times and are an integral part in the development of civilization. Companies and people are also in constant cultural change. They need stimulating and strengthening influences, which open up forward-thinking options and enable holistic personality and corporate development.

Reflection work with paintings

Each type of art carries messages and triggers individual impulses. If art is applied for gaining insights the observer dives into his or her own inner world of images. Without even being artistically gifted, the observer takes on what is depicted and starts his/her own creative process. This happens in different ways, because the viewer relates his/her own life-experience to the artwork and therefore creates an individual relationship with it. The contemplation of art enlivens thoughts and feelings. In this process, every artwork becomes a newly created work, that never existed before and in exactly this one way is only perceptible for the observer.

Art in business

Using art is especially helpful in business since factual and analytical aspects are dominant in everyday work life. The imagery adds colour to black and white perspectives and highlights nuances. Observing art and reflection does not require an intellectual investigation of brushstrokes or art epochs. What is needed is an “open yourself up” attitude for new ideas. There should be no interpretation into the artwork or the artist because it is not about the assessment of this artwork. For the desired insights it is all about the artwork that has been created inside the observer. How does the image affect the observer? What thoughts are triggered by the symbols portrayed in the artwork? The associations stand in direct relation to the current situation of the observer. To follow the mental trails and transferring them into the current job context, immediately leads to new awareness and thus creates new actions and decision scopes. By reflecting artwork self-knowledge grows.

This is a translation of the German blog article Wie Kunst zur Selbsterkenntnis beiträgt posted on May 21th 2016 by Christine Kranz

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