2 Comments

  1. 1

    Kate Scharff

    Pauline: I’m a mental health professional trained in Object Relations Theory (ORT), an outgrowth of classic analytic thinking. ORT holds with the common-sense notion that we are born with the inherent need to be in relationships, and that our early relational patterns form templates for later modes of relating– the more trauma contained in these patterns, the more rigidly predictive they become. Treatment is based on the idea that (within the context of a safe therapeutic container, and by using the relationship to the therapist as both a laboratory and a change agent), these templates can be modified. So I’m used to thinking about how patterns are laid down in the psyche– but the brain science is mainly new to me. Your article is incredibly helpful in underscoring the neurobiological underpinnings for our experience of powerfully affective moments in a Collaborative case in which the trauma of the moment becomes a re-traumatization– not only for the client in question, but for others in the room whose own internal relational worlds are (unconsciously) activated. Your work is important for many reasons, not the least of which is that it offers empirical support for the crucial notion that while moments in which our clients are emotionally flooded may not be moments in which they can think rationally, but they are the moments with transformative potential.

    And speaking of the internal worlds of the professionals: not a revolutionary thought, but I do see the traditional adversarial construct as an elaborative intellectual defense against the threat of reactivation of our own trauma posed by the upsetting content of our work.

    Thank you for the ways you continue to push us the edge of our capacities to integrate new ideas, expand our paradigms, and up our games. I’m generally not a fan of the word “inspirational,” but I can’t think of a better one.

    Kate Scharff

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  2. 2

    D. Pavlova

    What a great article. I think practicing neuro-literacy is important for all individuals, but especially those that have to interact under very stressful and emotionally-volatile circumstances. It is natural for divorcing people to act on their emotions, but often those emotions have no actual reason in reality. Once you understand the reason for – instead of simply acting on – the emotion, you gain a level of consciousness. For lawyers, I think that the most important way to describe the importance of understanding the other’s feelings and not unloading emotions on each other during a process such as collaborative divorce, is to teach their clients to “rationalize their emotions.” By rationalizing why you feel a certain way, instead of mindlessly acting on it, you become conscious and neuro-literate – important in divorce, conflict and everyday life.

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