Melissa, Bridger and Caleb discuss the concept of intersubjectivity in this first episode of the series.

Learn more about our healing retreats by clicking here!

Check out our previous episodes over shame by clicking here.

Also, join our Patreon by clicking here!


What is Subjectivity?

  • Occurs when two or more people bring their collective experiences into the space between them. 
  • Book example: two books on shelf vs. two authors together that created the books
  • “Inter” in the word “intersubjectivity” is used to give language to the space between the two subjects: the third


Why “Intersubjectivity” and not “Relationship”:

  • George Kelly’s construct theory
  • What words are spoken by one person may mean something totally different to someone else. 
  • Also, relationships can happen between objects or between a subject and an object.
  • We must speak in a way that can be understood- language matters. 
  • The language of intersubjectivity- the language that was developed to explain the human consciousness in relationships.
  • The neurobiological development of a human organism relies on intersubjectivity.
  • Highlights the universality and interconnectedness between all humans.  


The First Relationship:

  • Daniel Stern- author of a book on intersubjectivity
  • The relationship between infant and primary caregiver is the foundational experience that builds the concept of self. 
  • The caregiver’s attunement to the child’s emotional needs
  • Lastly, the parent creates a third space, bringing in their emotional experience within the relationship. 


Left-Brained Dominated Culture:

  • Firstly, as a culture, we minimize the right hemisphere. This causes a lack of embodiment of our personal concept of self as body and emotional being. 
  • The confrontation between the use of the therapist’s body and the invitation of the client’s body. 


Allan Schore’s article- The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Intersubjectivity (2021) 

Click here to access the full article.

Frontier psychology:

  • All of Schore’s work focuses on the subjective nature of the human organism. Particularly, found in the primary development of the right hemisphere. 
  • Provides a robust introduction to the theory of intersubjectivity
  • Establishes a foundational framework for how we view the human organism


The Quadrant of I, It, We, Its:

  • Firstly, the felt difference between “we” and “its”.
  • Reflecting on all the times throughout life that there was a longing for “we” but received “it” or “its” instead. 
  • What does it mean to work with the intersubjective space in the present moment?
    • A gentle but consistent monitoring of whether or not I’m pushing this encounter towards “it” and “its” or “I” and “we”.
    • Giving language to an experience that felt constant 


Intersubjectivity in Therapy:

  • Firstly, when we invite intersubjectivity with a client, there’s a stimulation of the right hemisphere that causes activation deep into the body. It provokes the affect states that have been dissociated. 
  • Secondly, this feels anxiety-provoking yet exciting because it’s something that the person has been longing for. 
  • Thirdly, there’s differences between a witnessing object and an witnessing subject. 
  • Also, we are trained as therapists to be objective, not subjective. 
  • We are not suggesting that working in the intersubjective space requires self-disclosure. It is about present moment awareness of the experience of the other human.
  • Lastly, it’s about the feeling evoked in the experience with the other.