TU144: The Case of Feli, an Awkward Goose
Therapist on censored brings you decades of experience with interpersonal psychotherapy relational neuroscience modern attachment in anything. Else they think will be helpful and healing humans. Now your co host. Dr anne kelly and sumeria marriott hey ladies and gentlemen and every other beautiful person on the gender continuum spectrum welcome. We're going to be doing something a little bit different today. I want to share with you. A case and the cases can eliminate some of the stuff. We've been learning about with attachment. And after i share the story. I'll say more about some of the things that it highlights. mainly it is the balance of fear an attachment. You can kind of listen for that in the in it. But i think i'm gonna leave that part to the end so that we can jump right into the story and the case is about a goose named felicity quick context. I learned about it from dan. Stern wrote a paper entitled a felicitous meeting of attachment and relational psychotherapy now. If you haven't heard of dan stern he is a pre eminent psychiatrist and psychoanalytic theorists he wrote the interpersonal world of the infant particularly about subjectivity. And infants you know rather than things being linear stages of development that baby goes through. He helped move us to the interpersonal world about baby mother together. You know what happens in between and so that is true for psychotherapy or close relationships in general that it's about what happens in between turkish gives you some context of who he is and the case. The woman who wrote the original article is named helga. Fishermen bola she worked at conrad. Lorenzo's lab conrad lorenzo. You might recognize as the gentleman who did all the work with geese and imprinting. He's the one who discovered the you know within a couple of days geese and ducklings imprint on their mothers. That's why you see the line goslings following the mama super cute so he did a lot of research there and of course that was the some of the precursor to the thinking around attachment. Okay so this. Little goose was one of conrad's lorenzo's lab and it was determined that this would be a experimental subject. So the some of this is gonna be sad you guys. I'll just tell you the truth but it's powerful and one of the reasons. I wanna share it with you. Besides the fact that a listener reminded me to thank you for that is that i shared this probably fifteen years ago. A group that i lead and still to this day. Some of the clients talk about. How much impacted them. So snuggle up. I hope that it can touch you as well and bring you could things so was a little goose that right upon being hatched was placed in isolation so for some time she had no interaction with any geese or humans or anything. The only thing that would happen would be a machine would feed her at regular intervals and the only kind of spontaneous thing that would happen. Was there'd be noise when the thermostat would turn off and on and she developed a symptom which is when she would hear it click. She would run to that area to thermostat like seeking it but then woodhead. Bob almost like she's saying no and then she would run away. This symptom ended up persisting for poor felli throughout her life. Actually so pretty soon they introduce her into the group of geese the flock and right off the bat. She didn't fit in to say to the edge of group at the edge of the flock for example when they would feed she would wait till the end and then run in and eat whatever was left and then run away when a goose would come up behind her when she was eating and scare her she would and his the way that Goose normally response to a predator. You don't really see this within this species with each other. She did have this. You know multiple funny symptoms of kind of approach. Avoid should go in circles. couldn't quite subtle but she also did have some rudimentary skills. That are probably inborn. And should i begin to do some nests building so the research got the idea to see if we could impact her attachment. You know her bonding with the other. Geese by putting some goose eggs under her you know in the nest and she didn't know how to sit on them but she didn't quite on them enough in the first round of eggs. They didn't hatch so they try again and this time she's getting better. She sits on them. They hatch but when the little babies hatched felicity was scared to death of them and wouldn't go near them and unfortunately all of these little hatchlings died then they had the idea that baby geese are very dependent and kind of demanding of their parents but ducks are born more independent so they put a clutch of duck eggs underneath her and she was able to sit on them and warm them and they hatched and this time she didn't take care of them. She didn't cuddle them or you know. Protect them but she also didn't totally reject them. She just stayed away from them. And because these little guys are more resilient they were able to kind of walk down to the water into the pond themselves and themselves for the most part at night they would sleep together as a group but not underneath felicity. She wouldn't allow that but one night there was a really bad storm and the little babies curled up the scoop up underneath her and she let them and she put her wings out and she kept them warm and the next morning. You know how you see the momma leading the ducks. The next morning. She was at the end of the line. She followed the little baby ducklings down to the water and then she would follow them back to the shelter and all of these stocks survived and they went on moore fine and because of this experience felicity begin to be a little more accepted. She kind of knew a little bit more about approach. She was less scared but she still continued at the edge of the flock when male geese. Try to court her. She did not know what to do and basically it wouldn't work. The relationships didn't form but one day there was a goose and outlier and a little funky and they found each other and this time felicity let the courting happen and they bonded the sweet part of this as that. They stayed a pair for many many years and ended up successfully basically being able to connect and bond and he'll some of that attachment and security eventually the lab lawrence lab was closed down and the geese removed to another area. And i can. This is sad but the mail was flying over a lake. in switzerland. swiss hunter shot him and killed him and felli grew depressed and she died not too long afterwards but she did actually quite well considering her early upbringing the whole of her life was in some way surprisingly successful. So just take a little scan of how you're feeling. And if there's any of this year might be relating to some people can really relate to feeling so awkward socially and scared maybe having symptoms sort of painful self soothing symptoms when it comes to interpersonal relating. So why did i tell you that. Story that poignant and painful hopeful story. The point of this case was really looking at how through relationship we can sneak up on attachment and so basically those ducks snuck up on her. And she couldn't do the relationship's directly like the courting but those babies were able to kind of get it in under her defense and then once that happens fear went down. Her approach behaviors began to come online and able to be a real true shift in how she was able to relate this ties into just attachment in general this balance of fear which we need to stay safe and be you know monitoring ourselves but also our desire to be close. It's kind of the balance of that that you know if it's balanced well that's another way of thinking of security if we're too scared right. We can't let people get close if we hang onto tight. It's also not secure relating another way to think of it. Is that fear behavior when it comes to relationships again this is just for those of you who may have your own attachment disruptions or injuries or hurts so that getting close to people sometimes scary. Well it creates a voidance behavior right. You want to flee want to move away from an. It's not something that you feel approaching so if you notice one of the things that happens in the case is that by this rather artificial introduction of the ducks to phillies life. The researchers were able to sneak up on that escape behavior that she was doing and reduce for fear and then that allowed her to have more approach behaviors and be able to let people get closer. Let people you can see how. I'm totally relating to this goose. As a as a person the beauty of this is that there's hope when ways to understand some of her sometimes was to think of it as again. It's approach avoidance. It was a strategy so she tries to close to that little sound and then she runs away. She would try to get close to the other giessen and she runs away so you can see that the attachment was still in there like she wanted to go towards but the fear then would become overwhelming and she'd run away and i think a lot of people can relate to that feeling of wanting to be close to people but declining of a -tations are looking away or just being too scared to stay open to that person's gays or to the compliment or to the good nourishment and nutrients that are coming towards you enter personally like to use this case to invite everybody to think about felli as hopeful. We can sneak up on it. If you don't have a pet and you can relate to any of this. I would encourage you to get one. That is one of the ways if we go back to steve porches and political theory and fear and threat that if you can connect with doesn't matter what it is you know your puppy your kitty your salamander your parents. It does not matter. But that's a version of sneaking up on the attachment system and helping you feel safe with approach and the savory filled with approach. Then that's going to encourage more approach unhealthy attachment system kind of come back online. So why don't you scan inside yourself for your own escape behaviors. Sometimes it's our work. Sometimes it's our church. Our religious practice sometimes are religious. Practice is what helps connect us to ourselves into our community and two are close people men other times we can use it as a wall as a way to push people away. What other escape might you have if you think about it. Food sugar sex shopping. Maybe by thinking about felli fell whose bravery of letting herself get close. It changed her life. It changed the rest of her life and part of it had to do with the ducklings. Not rejecting her the ducklings you know pushed past her defense and crawled up under there and that helped her kind of kick in and be protective and let them approach. So who are the ducks in your life. That could help you. You know her the folks that are safe enough that are kind of hanging around and would like to get closer. Just need you to let them in just needs you to let them kinda skin so hope you enjoyed this case. We're all animals for all part of the animal kingdom and sometimes we can see things more clearly looking at another species. And i hope you enjoy felli. If you'd like to read the whole case. Like i said it is in the show notes. Dan stearns article is in the show notes. And then i also have the reference to the original research on fully city. So i hope you all enjoyed that story. And if founded impactful feel free to share it with someone who might need it as hope of being able to shift our attachment strategies and overcome fear and get close with people if you enjoy this kind of material and you would like to study it more deeply or just join the community of folks that are discussing and learning together. Please join us on. Patron dot com slash therapist censored. We are now beginning to offer. Reading groups appear lead reading groups of our community. It's really cool again. Share freely one of the best things you can do to support us. If you'd like to jump on and give us a review it helps discover ability and that way people all over the world can learn more about this incredible attachment science and use it to reduce their escape behaviors and let people get close and promote security across the world thinks lessening. see around the bend. Therapist uncensored is ann kelley in sue marriott. Podcast is edited by jack anderson.