New Baum Test :The Essence of Hermeneutic Counseling
By Dr K.Loganathan

By counseling we mean here, the attempt of a person X to bring about the reduction of IGNORANCE of self of a person Y  and thereby solve the personal problems  through facilitating the gaining of LUMENS about himself or herself. The lumens are gaining visions about one' own unconscious and through that LIGHTING up the deeper recesses of the mind that has remained unaccessed hitherto.  When a person is depressed, anxious, troubled beyond normal control, he seeks counseling from another person with the hope of  redeeming himself from such disturbed and somewhat annoying  ways on Being.  Access Tests along with Freudian Jungian types of studies indicate that the sources of psychic disturbances remain, for the most part, UNCONSCIOUS and it is the duty of the counselor to unearth in an archeological way these hidden elements so that  a real UNDERSTANDING of the sources of the problems is gained by the person.  The person is helped along to gain consciousness of these hidden and concealed factors and through that GAIN A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of self itself. This necessitates the use of Access Tests, interpreting for the person, alert him about the unconscious factors that are the root causes of his problems and thereby gain a better understanding of the MEANING of EXISTENCE and so forth.

 We shall illustrate this through the application of New Baum Test and how through that a person was helped to overcome the psychological disturbances and discomfort that interfered with normal functioning. The person involved is a young Indian woman, an undergraduate student , 22yrs old  when she came to see me with her problems. Neeta(false name of course) was the NBT as described in the earlier article . We must here, again perhaps, the 4 Baums in their sequence A to D , captures the HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING of the person, i.e. how he understands the past , the present and projects into the FUTURE. While Baum A is definitely about the past and D about the future, B and C overlap  with respect to the present. The possibility of gaining an understanding  of what lies AHEAD for the individual can easily mislead a person into thinking that Baum Test is akin to palmistry, astrology and such other pseudo sciences. It must be noted that  definitely this is NOT THE CASE in Access Testing. What this test brings out is the hidden future possibilities that lies ahead of the person and which are RELATED to what he is doing right now. The FUTURE of the historical understanding that the NBT captures has NOTHING TO DO with the star clusters and the configuration of the planets in the heavens. It also appears unrelated to the lines on the palms though I have not looked into this possibility systematically to say anything definite. The future that lies ahead and about which the person is dimly aware is determined by what he is DOING RIGHT NOW just as much as what he is right now is determined by the actions he did in the past, influenced of course by unconscious factors at work without his knowledge. One important  consequence of this view is that the FUTURE that lies ahead as distinct possibility for oneself, can be avoided if found NEGATIVE and UNSAVORY by changing the present modes of behavior to which it is related. A person has in a way control over his own future and is not entirely at the mercy of the stars and planets. The actions of a person become of paramount importance in determining the mode of existence of oneself. Hermeneutic Conseling centres on yhis and invites a person to ponder over his/her  own actions and change them, if necessary, to change the FUTURE tha awaits him/her.

The Baum Test is an important tool in the task of unfolding the course of actions a person and what lies ahead, perhaps unknown or only dimly known, to the subject himself. The Baum Test, let me repeat here, captures the HISTORICAL understanding of a person i.e. how he interpretes the past, understands the present and pjojects into the future. This historical understanding which determines his attitudes values and actions, is actualy the root cause of  the miseries he may be suffering now. Though interpreting the BAUMS and make him aware of own historical understanding, how he SEES and hence BEHAVES, we help him to reformulate it so that a more authentic understanding come to prevail. Where the understanding is MORE AUTHENTIC or closer to the TRUTH, i.e. free of prejudices, illusions, fantasies and so forth, the miseries also disappear. It is apprehension of TRUTH that serves as the medicine to cure the ills of the soul and this is what Hermeneutic Counseling  is concerned with.

 One more important point about Hermeneutic Counseling. We found that the function of Baum D that discloses the FUTURE  possibilities of a person  is enormous  here. Without any preaching or advising  or philosophizing as such , when a person is alerted as to how the present COURSE OF ACTIVITIES  OF HIS OWN has led to possibility that is disclosed by D, he is also made RESPONSIBLE for his OWN FUTURE, that unless he chooses to correct his own future by reforming himself right now  he has no choice but to suffer the negative possibilities that awaits him. In this way Hermeneutic Counseling makes the person RESPONSIBLE for himself/herself . While the Unconscious is attended to , its shaping is related to the ACTIONS of the person and ultimately the WILL of the person.

When Neeta came to see me, she drew Baums that can be described as follows(Later this article will be published in AG Campus with scanned copies of the Baums)

A: a moderately thin tree with branches of various thickness branching out  like a fan from a point with more branches on the right hand side. Each branch ends up with large leaves and round ring-like fruits . One such a fruit has dropped and is on the ground. Worm-like   lines inside the trunk. Grassy ground.

B. Similar to A but no grassy ground and worm-like  lines inside the trunk. But where the branches branch out there is a round dark patch. No clear  cut leaves but cloudy formations on the branches. The fruits now in the shape of bunches of grapes.

C. Entirely Different from A and B. the Baum is a Christmas Tree with cone formations one inside the other. Ring like fruits again all over. The trunk is a bit broader with  vertical  lines  running right along giving the impression that the trunk is breaking down.

D. Different from C, like a coil of rope raising up like snake. It goes up and then turns down and coils below again like the letter S

The essential meanings are as follows. The first Baum indicates worries of a mild sort concerned with studies rather than anything else as indicated by the over-development of the right side of the crown and dark ring-like fruits. In BauM B we have bunches of grapes which are indicators of desire for sexual enjoyment , something aroused within here by the steady attention of young man and which became a source of worry and annoyance for as shown by the dark patch on the top of the drunk. Furthermore the attention of the young man was short lived causing worries of a different sort. In BaumC we have a clear indication of anxiety, worries tension and so forth. It is at this point the she came to see me for counseling. When I told her about the several sorces of her anxiety: wanting to have boyfriend but at the same time woried about consequent neglect of studies; woried that she is not attractive enough to make a young man love her deeply etc, she began realize the enormous complexity of the problems and the real sources of her anxiety. The Baum D is clearly the SNAKE, the arousal of the sexual libido, the Kundalini , the coiled power of the Siddhas. What really frightened her was this sexual arousal and consequent loss on independence to a young man. There was a vaguely felt FEAR of this possibilty for which she was psychologically ready. As I related the meanings of Baums she listened attentively agreeing most of the times and disagreeing here and there whenever something negative was mentioned. But I could feel that I was really opened up her eyes to see her now as a young woman about to enter married life that awaits her but for which she is quite ready. Her present concerns and interests are sexual rather than matured love .

Three months later she came for her second analysis. The second set of Baums indicated that she has overcome the fear of losing freedom in falling love. More confident and with the understanding that having a man as a life-partner is inevitable for her, she now is with a different sort of problem: doesn't know whom to choose among two young men who are attracted to her. Baum D indicated that she is not afraid of falling in love at all and that she knows the difference between infatuation and genuine love. She rejects both the young men  currently interested in her as she feels both of them are interested only in sex and not so much in love. Her third  counseling session was very positive: she finally found a young man who genuinely loves her and is contemplating marriage with him.  With this happy development, the problem is solved and counseling comes to an end, at least for the time being. ( Who can say there will be no problems later?)

With this brief decription of the essences of hermeneutic Counseling , I want to draw the attention to the following features:

i. The counselor is simply a facilitator, helping the subject to UNDERSTAND better the sources of her anxiety which results as a consequence of powerful forces working within and with which she is putting up o loosing battle.

ii. The real source of anxiety is her reluctance to face the sexual side of her  and accommodate herself to it.

iii. She is not clear yet about the relationship between LOVE and Sexual Enjoyment and part of anxiety was related to this

The counselor draws attention to these matters and through forcing her to THINK about these issues make her gain  an UNDERSTANDING about them . This provides a CLARITY with which she is able to make the CORRECT decisions or at least decisions with some confidence.

Because the counseling is essentially concerned with bringing about a BETTER UNDERSTANDING of self, which simultaneously solves the problem, it is called HERMENEUTICAL.