Implicit and Explicit Selves: Emotion, the Body and the Therapeutic Relationship
July 2-6, 2012
NOTE: This is a corrected course description. This version replaces a course description which was displayed here previously. Apologies for the error.
Implicit processes of body-to-body dialogue, right-brain to right-brain communication and affective state sharing strongly determine the quality of human experience. Early relational interactions shape the functions and processes of our experience-dependent brains, refine innate movement sequences, and determine the template for all future relationships. Non-conscious beliefs, affective biases and regulation are reflected and sustained by the movement and postural habits of the body, and vice versa. We detect the states, goals, and intentions of others through implicit awareness of their movements and we come to know ourselves and predict relational outcome through the unintentional, non-conscious movements of our own bodies. Because these patterns are rarely under the purview of the conscious mind, they cannot be impacted through verbal interchanges alone, but require interventions that facilitate direct experiential and affective knowing of the embodied implicit self.
Drawing on principles of interpersonal neurobiology that emphasize integration and affect regulation theory, and in light of current research that confirms the reality that most communication is non-verbal, this workshop will delve into the question of how to go beyond explicit communications to address implicit processes in clinical practice. Through the lens of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, we explore how we can come to know and process implicit memories, emotions, and relational patterns in our patients, and in ourselves in the role of therapist. Illustrating concepts with video analysis of sessions with adults, children and adolescents, experiential exercises, and lecture, we will elucidate explicit interventions from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy--our therapeutic strategy, what we’re conscious of, can talk about, and can communicate to our patients—to bring implicit processes to light, thus making the unconscious conscious. Highlighting “embodied mentalizing,” non-conscious emotion, and affective transference/countertransference entanglements, we will also address the role of the implicit selves of both therapist and patient and the inevitable therapeutic enactments that often contribute to growth in both patient and therapist. Thus, attending to safety and attunement as well as empathic failure and risk, we will explore two simultaneous therapeutic tracks: What we think we’re doing as therapists, and what we’re doing when we’re doing what we think we’re doing. We will conclude with an exploration of the role of the body in expanding the regulatory boundaries of the window of tolerance to foster the embodiment of playful states and other positive affects.
- History as Embodied Prediction
- Mirror Neurons and Motor Knowledge
- Basic Movement Sequences
- Tracking Movement and Posture
- Dimensions and Qualities of Rhythm and Movement
- Embodied Mentalizing
- Three Bottom-Up Treatment Targets: Affect Regulation, Procedural Learning and Sensory Processing
- The Role of the Therapist: What we think we’re doing and what we’re actually doing
- Explicit and Implicit Dialogue
- A Somatic Perspective on Collusions, Collisions, and Enactments between Patient and Therapist
- Evolutionarily Prepared Psychobiological Action Systems, their Emotions and Movement Sequences
- Patterned Emotions and Action Systems
- The Role of the Body in Play and Increasing Positive Affect Tolerance
- Capitalizing on Play, Vitality, and Joy in Clinical Practice