|Trauma David Schnarch Men in Therapy The Future of Psychotherapy Mindfulness CE Comments Ethics Anxiety Alan Sroufe Narcissistic Clients William Doherty Symposium 2012 Couples Therapy Challenging Cases Diets Gender Issues Linda Bacon Clinical Excellence Attachment Theory Future of Psychotherapy Mind/Body Clinical Mastery Etienne Wenger Wendy Behary Mary Jo Barrett Couples Brain Science Community of Excellence Attachment Great Attachment Debate|
|Complexity Choir - Page 5|
Now the qualities of an integrated flow spelled a universally memorable word: faces, for Flexible, Adapt-ive, Coherent, Energized, and Stable. We can say that any healthy complex system has a faces flow. In other words, when the self-organizational movement of the system is maximizing complexity, it attains a harmonious flow that is at once flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable. This is the feeling you get from our amazing and graceful complexity choir.
I like to imagine the faces flow as a river. The central channel of the river is the ever-changing flow of integration and harmony. One boundary of this flow is chaos. The other boundary is rigidity. These are the two banks of the river of integration.
Sometimes we move toward the bank of rigidity—we feel stuck. Other days we lean toward chaos—life feels unpredictable and out of control. But in general, when we are well and at ease, we move along this winding path of harmony, the integrated flow of a flexible system. We sense the familiar but are not trapped by it. We live at the threshold of the unknown and have the courage to move into new and uncharted waters. This is living a life as it unfolds, moment by moment, in a flowing journey between rigidity and chaos. This is the faces flow. An old, dear and now-departed friend, the poet, philosopher, and all around wonderfully wise John O'Donohue, captured the essence of this emergent flow when he said that he'd love to live like a river, carried by the surprise of his own unfolding.
The Eight Domains of Integration
In my practice of psychotherapy, eight domains of integration have emerged as keys to personal transformation and well-being. These domains do not necessarily develop in a linear fashion, and you'll see that they sometimes emerge in combination. How we experience a "sense of self "—a feeling of who we are over time and of the patterns of energy and information that unfold in our inner lives—will be directly shaped by the degree of integration in these domains. Here is a brief map of the domains.
The Integration of Consciousness
How we focus our attention is the key to promoting integrative changes in the brain. With the integration of consciousness, we actually build the skills to stabilize attention so that we can harness the power of awareness to create choice and change. This is why the integration of consciousness is the foundation for the other domains. Creating what I'll call a "hub of awareness" enables us to acknowledge troubling states without being taken over by them, and to see things as they are, rather than being constrained by our expectations of how they "should be." It also opens us to the full range of our perceptions—to information from the external world, from our bodily states, from relationships, and from the mind itself.
For millions of years, our left brain and right brain have had separate but complementary functions. The right side develops early and is the realm of imagery, holistic thinking, nonverbal language, autobiographical memory, and a host of other processes. Our left brain develops later in life and is responsible for logic, spoken and written language, linearity, lists, and literal thinking. If the linkage between the sides is blocked, one side may dominate, and we can lose the creativity, richness, and complexity that results from both sides working together. Harnessing the power of neuroplasticity to integrate the brain can give us a newly coherent sense of our life story and deeper insights into the nonverbal world of ourselves and others.
Our nervous system is vertically distributed, ascending from the body proper through the brainstem and limbic areas and finally arriving at the cortex. From head to toe and back again, vertical integration links these differentiated areas into a functional whole. Vertical integration can be impaired in response to trauma or in adaptation to living in an emotional desert. In this cut-off state, we ignore what our senses and bodily sensations are telling us and live a life of flattened feelings and perceptions. Bringing our sensations into awareness enables intuition to blossom and sometimes can offer lifesaving information.