Issue #13 (April 2015)
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Thank you for joining us once again on our eclectic journey towards understanding and practising true integration through the paradigm of neuropsychotherapy. This month brings the Easter season, and I hope you are able to set time aside from work to do some self-care (that thing your supervisor is always harping on about) and to explore some of what we have for you in this issue.
This month I’d like to make special mention of our very brief report on the work happening at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and a breakthrough technique for dealing with the neural mechanism of dementia – it’s outstanding! (Disclosure: I might be forgiven for being a bit proud of The University of Queensland, my alma mater and home to the QBI as well as the researchers behind the highly successful cervical cancer vaccine).
Also in this issue, philosopher, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Georg Northoff introduces us to his understanding of consciousness, a concept that is more difficult to get a handle on than many may realise. Since most therapists are dealing with clients who are conscious, it is prudent to understand what this state actually is. After all, the distinction between what comes into conscious awareness and what remains veiled in the unconscious realm is a salient one for psychotherapy.
I contribute this month with an article highlighting a subject that is underresearched and has had little focus in mainstream mental health – that of child perpetrators of violence in the home. Behind closed doors, and often hidden by lack of reporting, children, mostly adolescents, are perpetrators of verbal and physical abuse. Their parents, ashamed of the circumstances, keep it all quiet. I introduce some of the most pertinent studies to date and explore the dynamics involved in this difficult yet surprisingly common problem.
How is the Brain’s Neuronal Activity Transformed into Mental States? – Unlocking the Brain
As a philosopher, neuroscientist, and psychiatrist, Georg Northoff has thought a great deal about consciousness. Here he shares the essence of his understanding of how consciousness comes about.
A Theoretical Commentary of Parent Abuse and Intersibling Violence From Both Neurobiological and Social Perspectives
Hidden behind closed doors is a disturbing behavioural trend that has gone largely unreported in mainstream mental health: parent abuse and intersibling violence. This article outlines the problem from the few studies that have been conducted and calls for greater attention to the issue.
- From the Editor: Matthew Dahlitz
- Review: Martha Stark, Matthew Dahlitz
An Issue of the Heart
Hard copy book now available from Amazon.com:
The Neuropsychotherapist Special Issues are anthologies of articles that have been published in the monthly magazine The Neuropsychotherapist.
This special issue is all about the heart... A wonder of complexity is the human being—something that continues to be a source of fascination and frustration for those of us who have set ourselves to understand human behaviour. This special issue focuses on the heart, an organ with a profound influence over our mental lives.
We are all familiar with the heart in its classical biological role as pump circulating vital oxygenated blood through the body. But how many are versed in its neural and bioelectromagnetic influence upon our brains? Research has revealed the heart even radiates an influence on those around us via electromgnetic fields. In the past such claims might have been dismissed as mere New Age fancy, but with ever more sophisticated and sensitive instruments, formal studies in recent years have demonstrated that our bodies have amazing multidimensional fields of awareness and influence. These findings about the heart continue to add weight to the argument that in the counselling room it is the therapist’s unconditional positive regard, warmth, and personal coherence more than any technique that make for effective therapy. It makes one wonder what the focus of training should be for new therapists—will courses become more focused on students developing personal coherence, practising attitudes of genuine care and compassion, and understanding what they are radiating to clients from their hearts?
Neuropsychotherapy, and the multidisciplinary integration that it stands for, is part of an important paradigm shift in medicine. Likewise, the focus on matters heart–brain in this issue reflects an important shift of understanding in the broader field of health. The study of any one bodily system—even the central nervous system in the case of psychologists—leaves us in the dark on many levels for many phenomena. It is our hope that you will come to appreciate the wonderful, so often implicit influence the heart has on our emotions and relationships, and that we will become more conscious of being authentic and coherent—for our clients and also for ourselves.