paper on interpersonal neurobiology

Philip Carter phil.carter at
Tue Jan 6 17:28:19 UTC 2015

The further good news is that the ‘social self’ schema in the brain is far more than the empathic mirror neurons. It is highly likely to e the internalised social and cultural atom of the person. It is the physical home of what we concretise if we accurately follow the protagonist’s script (something that is not done so often) and that accurate production has an immediate and profound affect as does external mirroring of a phantom limb. Held consciousness and identity can be released from traumatically frozen memory. And that is without role reversal, doubling, empathy… of course, all those things can have amplifying effects, embedding new and expanded behaviour, and so on. The key bit is accurate externalisation can liberate without doing any of the psychological and psychotherapeutic interventions and meddling that goes on.

From: blatneradam at [mailto:blatneradam at] On Behalf Of Adam Blatner
Sent: Wednesday, 7 January 2015 4:25 a.m.
To: Philip Carter
Cc: Buds; Adam Blatner; Grouptalk
Subject: Re: paper on interpersonal neurobiology

Dear Philip,
    Yes, you have made an interesting start by noting that the mirror neuron system may include the dynamic of theatre.
     This is part of why collaborative group work -- in contrast with competitive group work--- works. It's yes-and  rather than no-but. People flash on each other.
     Psychodynamically, most people are a bit unsure of their creative processes, and they should be. These processes are tentative, emerging, mixtures of wacko dream ideas and practical reality-testing. When an external figure---another person---says yes-and, reflecting and reinforcing some facet of this preliminary over-production, that increases the focus and also offers validation. Ah! Feels good!
    People who are more than 79.2% narcissistic, who don't doubt the preciousness of their creativity, like Moreno, don't need this feedback but the rest of us do.

Most folks are not sure at first, and interpersonal validation is therapeutic. If it can be one other, good. Five others? Better. Beyond 15---well, we know that beyond 15 or so, they're only seeing the performance. In smaller groups they also see the vulnerability and process.
    So yes, thanks for linking this to learning and neuroscience.
- -

On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 12:23 AM, Philip Carter <phil.carter at<mailto:phil.carter at>> wrote:I’m appreciating the appreciation. Thanks! What would really float my boat, have me feel successful, would be if folk got the key insight and that provoked/evoked/invited further ‘experimentation’ with the method. The key insight is that:

 when some part/aspect of the internally held social self schemas are externalised with some accuracy on the stage and it is experienced through the senses as external, there is an extraordinary and immediate affect.
    AB: yes. It need not be a stage. Theatre is a more elaborate way to do this, but also potentially inhibiting, because more than 10-15 people are going to misunderstand the subtle interplay of complex emotions. The larger the audience, if the goal it to reach them, psychodrama becomes melodrama, roles are excessively simplified and caraciturized.
PC  We all know that through our own experience.
 AB: But not consciously, explicitly. That is why your paper is valuable. It lays it out there.

PC  The permission is to play with that. Which we have also done. Already we   (the larger field of methods related to psychodrama?) have many varieties and flavours (TSM, Souldramas, Intergenerational, Clayton…) and going further out (sandplay, Family Constellation work, drama therapy, ethnodrama, and many, many others).

  AB: I'm glad to read your inclusion of parallel efforts! I call all these, that share in elements of improvised enactment, creative collaboration (i.e. group dynamics of a supportive type rather than a competitive type), and psychodramatic-like methods, imagination enhancements, ---
     I call all these "action explorations"
PC   In all there is a common mechanism. A simple one. Grasping that, I experienced a liberation. I could play more. For example, I invited a protagonist without any words (from anyone) to use group members to layout their significant others, no role reversal. Big impact.
AB yes!

This thing I’ve highlighted in the paper may seem mechanistic, something that serves a more profound thing such as the autonomous healing centre that Ed is so keen to wake us up to, but in its heart there is a deep mystery of mirroring and the holographic nature of the material world, the inner with the outer, the inter-operation of tele in our interpersonal fields like the interpenetration of ripples on a pond….
AB: Well, awaiting other principles, I'll return to what I said above: We're not sure what we're doing, most of us; and when someone else says yes-and, well, that helps us. People are very socially sensitive!
PC  My main hope is we will continue to see great value in many different varieties, that we will continue to experiment and inquire into what works.
   ab yes

PC That we will become more alert to emotional entanglement and work hard at being individuated.

ab unsure what this means

PC That we will be more comfortable with distress and not have to come in so quickly to soothe.
      AB: well, now, there's a balance. More unsure people---at least 40% and maybe 60% of us, need encouragement, some soothing.
         not doing it for us, but letting us know you're with us.

The psychoanalytic silence that follows a vulnerable disclosure can be more than the implied injunction :Be comfortable with your distress.  It can be heard as a mocking, "What a fool you are" or worse.
     This brings up a discussion to be had about what is over-protection (too much) and what is unconscious sadism  (Buck up, you weakling!)

    Just some further ideas building on your efforts. Thoughts?  Warmly, Adam

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