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Knowing about neuroscience is invaluable for therapists, not because it offers specific new techniques or clinical theories, but because it provides a deeper understanding of the biological power of the "talking cure." As a social organ, the brain has evolved to be affected and changed by other brains, and psychotherapy relies upon the power of relationships to trigger the neuroplastic processes necessary for learning and growth. In effect, psychotherapists are pragmatic neuroscientists, who alter the functioning and structures of clients' brains, whether or not those brains are aware of these underlying biological processes.
Information about the brain and how it evolved helps us communicate with clients about their problems in an objective and non-shaming manner. Adding a neuroscientific perspective to our clinical thinking lets us talk with clients about the shortcomings of our brains, instead of the problems with theirs. Learning about what's happening in their brains and how these billions of neural events have shaped their emotional lives and behavior is more likely to inspire interest and curiosity in clients than defensiveness and feelings of inadequacy. Identifying inherent problems in how the brain processes information and developing methods to circumvent or correct them is a solid foundation upon which to base a therapeutic alliance.
Some therapists bristle at the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy, calling it irrelevant or reductionistic. If you have a model of therapy that works, they seem to be saying, why bother with the brain? Would Carl Rogers or Heinz Kohut have been better therapists if they'd been trained as neuroscientists? Probably not. But it's hard to grasp how the brain could be irrelevant to changing the mind.
We carry within our skulls the entire history of the brain's evolution, from its primitive origins in the fishes, up through the early and later mammals, to the unimaginably complex organ of today's Homo sapiens. And evolution hasn't stopped! The human brain will probably continue to grow in size and capacities, barring the potential catastrophes that this amazing organ can create for the world and itself, on a scale inconceivable to our ancestors even a few hundred years ago.