Issue #6 (July-September 2014)
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 quarter we are focusing 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 electromagnetic 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?
Heart-rate variability (HRV) appears to be a major indicator for internal and interpersonal coherence, and no one has a better grasp of this subject than internationally recognised authority Rollin McCraty. Dr. McCraty is featured in this issue with two articles explaining how the heart–brain connection modulates our emotions and our connection with others. Also inside is an interesting interview between McCraty and Dr. David Van Nuys about the work of HeartMath—a leader in heart–brain research. We are fortunate to have contributions from several other distinguished experts: Dr. Paul J. Rosch, Dr. James Lynch, and Prof. Abdullah Al Abdulgader.
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 my 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.
When you tell a client that you “hear” his or her “heart”, you are probably being more literal than you realise. And bear in mind that your client can likely “hear” your heart just as loudly.
WHY THE HEART IS MUCH MORE THAN A PUMP
Dr. Paul Rosch, MD, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College, walks us through the history and most recent developments in our understanding of the human heart.
Dr. Paul Rosch
THE ENERGETIC HEART
Dr. Rollin McCraty goes in-depth on the heart’s ability to generate electromagnetic fields that not only permeate every cell in our body, but may be an important part of a signalling process both within and outside our bodies.
Dr. Rollin McCraty
HIDDEN THERAPEUTIC DIALOGUE
Dr. James Lynch explains the language of the heart from a scientific perspective, placing it at the centre of human dialogue, much like Aristotle, yet with some sophisticated tools to back up our intuitions about the heart.
Dr. James Linch
GOOD-HEARTEDNESS IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEART
Richard Hill explains the important connections between the brain, the heart and the vagal nervous system for our well-being.
HEART-BRAIN NEURODYNAMICS: THE MAKING OF EMOTION
Rollin McCraty argues that the heart is the seat of emotions, playing a central role in our emotional life.
Dr. Rollin McCraty
HEARTMATH – AN INTERVIEW WITH ROLLIN McCRATY
Dr. Dave interviews Rollin McCraty about his role and some of the advances made at HeartMath—a think-tank, scientific lab, and centre for education and wellness.
David Van Nuys
- Neuroscience – SABINE AUST AND MALEK BAJBOUJ
- Mechanisms of Change – HALEY PECKHAM
- Integration – ALLAN SCHORE
- Consciousness – KRISTA HILLIS
- Applied Neuropsychotherapy – RACHEL KOVACEVIC, PIETER ROSSOUW AND STEPHEN McCREA
- Spotlight – MYRON THURBER
- Speculation – ARCHIBALD BOWER
- From the Editor
- News in Brief
- Prefrontal Muse
- Book Reviews
- Last Word