Creating Connections 2016 Online - How Defining the Mind Can Empower Your Therapeutic Practice
- Download Available by December 1, 2016
- Presented by
- $49.00 per person
- 1.5 CE Hours (available for $20 after the event through R. Cassidy)
How Defining the Mind Can Empower Your Therapeutic Practice
This workshop will examine the odd finding that the field of mental health has no definition of the mental or of the health. We not only train our students and organize our treatment strategies around the naming of disorders and the reduction of their symptom profiles, but we lack a definition of the mind or of a healthy mind that might perhaps help us focus on the creation of well-being in people’s lives. Have we lost our mind?
By diving deeply into the science of the mind, we come to see that we are not alone. Academic fields from anthropology to psychology, psychiatry to neuroscience, lack of definition of mind short of the statement that “the mind is brain activity”. Could that statement, made over one hundred and twenty-five years ago by William James, actually be the whole truth about our experience of feelings, thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, intentions, and memories? Is the subjective experience we sense within consciousness also “only neural firing” as is commonly stated? Neural firing involves the flow of energy and information, and when this is referring to the brain, it involves the flow of electrochemical energy in the head. But if our mental life “emerges” from this energy flow, where does energy flow end? Is it limited by the boundaries of the skull? If not, then perhaps the mind is best seen as fully embodied. And if the flow is not limited by the skin, perhaps the mind is not only embodied, but it is also relational—as we share energy and information flow with one another. By viewing the mind as not limited to neural activity in the brain, we come to see it as perhaps an emergent property of energy flow. One of those emergent properties is self-organization. What does self-organization do? It regulates that from which it arose. The proposal we’ll explore in this workshop is that defining the mind, in part, as the embodied and relational, self-organizing process that emerges from and regulates the flow of energy and information. Self-organization is optimized with a process of linking differentiated parts—something we call “integration.” With integration, a system moves in harmony; when not integrated, it moves toward chaos and/or rigidity. The implications of this proposal are supported by the findings that all symptoms of the various psychiatric disorders are examples of chaos, rigidity, or both; and so far, all studies of individuals across a wide range of disorders reveal impaired integration in their brains. Psychotherapy can be seen in this light as a process of integration. In this workshop, we’ll explore the profound implications of these views for understanding therapeutic change, the role of neuroplasticity to increase integration, and the practical ways in which evaluation, treatment planning, and interventions can be applied to transform therapeutic practice.
- Define the Mind
- Describe how Integration is the fundamental basis of Mental Health