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Popular Topics : Brain

There’s a Jungle in There: We’re Not as Evolved As We Might Think
By Lou Cozolino
September/October 2008

Brain to Brain: Applying the Wisdom of Neuroscience in Your Practice
By Bonnie Badenoch
September/October 2008

Our Serotonin, Our Selves: Can the Brains of the Dead Give Hope to the Living
Charles Barber
September/October 2008

Alice In Neuroland: Can Machines Teach Us to be More Human?
By Katy Butler
September/October 2005

Visionary or Vodoo? Daniel Amen’s Crusade Has Some Neuroscientists Up in Arms
By Mary Sykes Wylie
September/October 2005

Mindsight: Dan Siegel Offers Therapists a New Vision of the Brain
By Mary Sykes Wylie
September/October 2004

Mirror Mirror: Emotion in the Consulting Room Is More Contagious than We Thought
By Babette Rothschild
September/October 2004

Altered States: Why Insight By Itself Isn’t Enough for Lasting Change
By Brent Atkinson
September/October 2004

 

 

 

Content Search Overview: Therapists, social workers, counselors and others found these articles helpful in learning more about the emerging field of brain science and its application to therapy practices; as a way of understanding the brain within a treatment program for adult patients as well as teenagers and children. People searching for information on the following terms and concepts found these articles helpful:

Brain Science
Brain Imaging
Mirror Neurons
Neurotransmitters
Serotonin
Dopamine
Neuroplasticity
Lateralization
Meditation
Mindfulness
Neurofeedback
Interpersonal Neurobiology
Neurobiology
Neuroscience
Triune Brain
Brain Evolution
Brain Stem
Cerebral Cortex
Limbic System
Mammalian Brain

 

Sample from: There’s a Jungle in There: We’re Not as Evolved As We Might Think
By Lou Cozolino

...The potential for miscommunication among the networks of our brains might not be so bad if we lived in isolation, but our brains are social organs, which require sustained connection with other brains. At birth, we're totally dependent on our caretakers for our survival. If an average reptile is born knowing how to perform the basic tasks of survival—getting food, fighting, and mating—we're born dumb, so to speak. Our saving grace is that as babies we know how to attach to our parents and stimulate them to attach to us.

For human babies, survival doesn't depend on how fast they can run, climb a tree, or tell the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms: it depends on their abilities to detect the needs and intentions of those around them. Throughout the millennia that we Homo sapiens have inhabited the earth, if we've been successful in our early relationships, we have food, shelter, protection, and a decent shot at eventually producing children of our own.

Our prolonged dependency allows for an increasing amount of brain development to occur after birth, making each human brain an experiment of nature—a unique blending of genetics and experience. Our parents are the primary environment to which our baby brains adapt, and their unconscious minds are our first reality. Their nonverbal communications and patterns of responding to our needs when we're babies shape not only our perceptions of ourselves and the world, but also the architecture of our brains. Because the first few years of life are a period of exuberant brain development, early experiences have a disproportionate impact on the shaping of our neural systems, with lifelong consequences.

From Psychotherapy Networker magazine, September/October 2008

 

Sample from: Mindsight: Dan Siegel Offers Therapists a New Vision of the Brain
By Mary Sykes Wylie

...Academic psychiatry during the '80s, it turned out, was exactly the wrong place for someone eager to develop a holistic, integrated view of the mind and brain. An increasingly reductionistic biological (i.e. psychopharmaceutical) psychiatry had just begun its relentless push for dominance. With the advent of DSM III and the torrent of new medications pouring out of the pharmaceutical pipeline, psychiatry grew ever more inclined to define emotional and mental problems as purely medical illnesses reflecting biochemical imbalances in the brain. Diagnosis became a game of parsing DSM categories and subcategories, and treatment a matter of prescribing meds to amp up or dampen down the synaptic exchange of neurotransmitters. The last thing that interested these scientist-psychiatrists was a vaporous, 19th-century concept like mind. "There was no understanding that subjective human experience--feelings--was an objective scientific reality," recalls Siegel. "Psychiatrists were supposed to be experts on the brain, and all they were interested in was knowing how neurons fire--they weren't interested in feelings."

Siegel found the emerging infatuation with the DSM 'n Drugs combo deeply distasteful and a betrayal of what he considered the deeper mission of psychiatry. "I hated to see colleagues and trainees seeing patients for half an hour for a meds check, then sending them off until their next appointment three months later," he says. For him, the self-conscious scientism of the new psychiatry was a crabbed, distorted version of real scientific inquiry: "The only brain mechanisms we ever really talked about were neurotransmitter receptors."

One case from this frustrating period that underscored biological psychiatry's lack of imagination sticks in Siegel's mind. He was seeing a young woman in therapy who was suffering from unresolved grief and guilt at the loss of a parent. Eventually, she got better, and when she was ready to leave, Siegel asked her what had been most helpful about her treatment. She thought for a minute and then said, "When I'm with you, I feel felt. " Her remark about what is a perfectly commonplace experience in good therapy contrasted for Siegel with the indifference to relationship that he saw all around him. "She could see that my inner emotional state was affected by her inner emotional state, and that profoundly changed her experience of herself, which gave her hope that she could change." But the scientist in Siegel also wanted to know what exactly the objective brain mechanisms were that resulted in this profoundly healing interpersonal experience.

From Psychotherapy Networker magazine, September/October 2004

 

Last modified on Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:20

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