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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