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