Intro to Intersubjectivity (Repost)
On this week’s repost, we tune into Melissa, Bridger and Caleb discussing the concept of intersubjectivity and how this is relevant to therapy interventions and research.
What is Subjectivity?
- Occurs when two or more people bring their collective experiences into the space between them.
- Bridger’s book example (10:59).
- Everyone has objective roles they play (therapist, researcher, academic, parent, friend).
- Placing our subjectivity into an object serves many purposes.
- Such as hiding ourselves, finding safety somewhere, or gaining approval and validation.
- “Inter” in the word “intersubjectivity” is used to give language to the space between the two subjects: the third
- Melissa’s example of going home (14:30).
- Remember, words spoken by one person may mean something totally different to someone else.
- Also, “relationship” doesn’t specifically speak to the space between
- Notably, relationships can happen between objects or between a subject and an object.
- Importantly, intersubjectivity highlights the universality in the interconnectedness of our species.
- Check out George Kelly’s construct theory.
Intersubjectivity, Early Attachment, & Cultural Influences
- Daniel Stern’s Interpersonal World of the Infant
- The relationship between infant and primary caregiver builds the concept of self.
- The caregiver’s attunement to the child’s emotional needs forms templates for how the infant will encounter others.
- Lastly, the parent creates a third space, bringing in their emotional experience within the relationship.
- As a culture, we minimize the right hemisphere.
- This causes a lack of embodiment of our personal concept of self.
- Check out Ken Wilber’s Integral Psychology
- Commonly, we’re placed into the objective “it” or “its.”
- Notice the felt difference between “we” and “its”.
- Reflect on all the times throughout life that there was a longing for “we.”
- Melissa remembers her desire for a subjective mother (46:14).
Intersubjectivity in Therapy:
- Firstly, when we invite intersubjectivity with a client, there’s a stimulation of the right hemisphere that causes activation.
- Often, this feels anxiety-provoking, yet exciting, because it’s something that the person has been longing for.
- There are differences between a witnessing object and a witnessing subject.
- Remember, many of us were trained as therapists to be objective, not subjective.
- Importantly, we are not suggesting that working in the intersubjective space requires self-disclosure.
- Instead, it’s about present moment awareness of the experience of the other human.
- Lastly, it’s about the feeling evoked in the experience with the other.
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Need more content?
- First, listen to our past episodes of EBT here
- Then check out more Beyond Healing podcasts
- Notice That – An EMDR podcast
- Beyond Trauma – geared towards clients
- Burnt Out Educator (coming soon!)