My work as a psychotherapist is very much informed by interpersonal neurobiology (IPN). This is an interdisciplinary field which weaves together research from a vast range of disciplines including biology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and psychiatry (to name a few). IPN has identified a definition of the mind and its components necessary for mental health.
Under the umbrella of IPN, Dr Daniel Siegel has coined the term “mindsight” to describe our human capacity to perceive the mind of the self and others. It is a powerful lens through which we can understand our inner lives with more clarity, integrate the brain, and enhance our relationships with others. Mindsight is a kind of focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. It helps us disengage the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses. It lets us “name and tame” the emotions we are experiencing, rather than being overwhelmed by them.
Mindsight defines health as the integration of mind, (embodied) brain, and relationships. The premise is that energy and information flow within the brain-body system, and between people through communication. When integration is impaired, it means that the flow of energy and information is impaired, which will lead to chaos at one end of a continuum or rigidity at the other. Symptoms of chaos might include hyper-arousal of the nervous system, erratic emotions, turbulent relationships. Symptoms of rigidity, might include hypo-arousal of the nervous system, disconnect from feelings, social isolation, or stuck relationships.
I use my knowledge of IPN and Mindsight to identify impairments to integration and support my clients as they travel towards an integrated flow of energy and information within the brain-body system and in their relationships.