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One form of understanding which is important from a meta theory viewpoint but is frequently given little regard, is the absorbing of atmospheres. Atmospheres are characterised by the fact that they are experienced similarly in different people (particularly impressive during natural spectacles such as polar lights, shooting stars, volcanoes, waves etc.) In atmospheres a situation is transmitted. The term is used a lot philosophically in the context of thinking about art and its action mechanisms (G. Boehme, N. Luhmann). Art, just like people, has an effect, for which other people are fundamentally receptive, i.e. they can resonate with it. The term ‘atmosphere’ seems helpful to describe the way in which the extensive, diverse and subtle sensory stimuli that use space and time exert an overall effect on many senses. He introduces, from a system theory point of view, a tighter coupling between people in relationship to each other. It is not so easy to escape atmospheres, provided one is initially receptive to them. At the same time, atmospheres can be described as ‘vague’. Vague is not arbitrary, nor ambiguous (definable). This is exactly what it depends upon here: the client imparts knowledge about himself through atmosphere(s), which, amongst other things, is (are) ambiguous, vague and, exactly because of this, highly change-relevant. The art of counselling includes the ability to understand the people’s atmospheres.

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