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The Mind: A Psychotherapist’s Perspective

Let’s face it, the mind is a pretty vague concept. Unlike the kidneys, the liver, or the heart, practically no one has the same definition of what the mind is and what it does. The most common definitions describe consciousness/non-consciousness, self-awareness, and subjective experience. Granted, these are clearly important aspects of the mind, but they’re really not helpful when it comes to improving your mental health.

So, here’s what the mind is from my perspective. I borrowed this from a field called Interpersonal Neurobiology:

An embodied and relational, emergent, self-organizing process that regulates the flow of energy and information.”

That’s a mouthful! Allow me to break it down.

  • Embodied and relational. Your mind exists in your brain and extended nervous system. It exists between you and others. Yes, part of your mind exists outside yourself between you and others.
  • Emergent, self-organizing process is a mathematical term related to chaos theory. Which is the theory that explains how pretty much everything in nature happens. Namely, nothing directs the system from the outside. Instead, all the parts interact and a process emerges from those interactions. For example, the formation of clouds in the sky.
  • Energy and information are basically self-explanatory. Everything is energy, and information is energy that has symbolic meaning.  In this case, we are interested in the energy and information flow within your body and between you and others.

Now we have a definition of the mind as a regulatory mechanism; a process.

What This Means for You

To maximize your quality of life, you want your mind to be a flexible, adaptable, coherent, energetic, and stable process.

If your process is not all these things, then you have either rigidity on one side of functioning or chaos on the other. And sometimes, both. If you look at the mental health practitioner’s “bible,” called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, you will see that every symptom of every diagnosis is some version of rigidity or chaos. In fact, every behavior that is maladaptive is some version of rigidity or chaos. There are both severe and mild ways your mind can be rigid or in chaos. Consequently, disrupting the easy flow of your life, your relationships, and your overall happiness.

My mission as a mental health practitioner is to help you find your way to flexibility, adaptability, coherence, energy, and stability in your process.

The way I do that is by helping you integrate your systems of energy and information flow.

A few of these systems are:

  • Left and right hemispheres of your brain
  • The top and bottom of your brain
  • Your brain and body
  • The different memory systems
  • Your relationships

Utilizing a healthy regulatory process of your mind moves the different parts of your brain into integration. Likewise, the same goes for your relationships. When your relationships honor differences between you and others and at the same time promote connection, your brain circuits are integrated. As a result, your brain is literally changed.

You Can Change the Structure of Your Brain

Literally, your mind can change the structure of your brain through intentionally focused attention within yourself and from others to you. In this way, you get healthier. Make no mistake, this is not theoretical. This process is documented and proven. And the benefit to you is a practice to become more flexible, adaptable, coherent, energetic, and stable.

If you are interested in improving your life using the best science, call me. We’ll talk.

Leah Benson Therapy icon

Contact me now to set up your free 15-minute phone consultation.

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