Changing Minds in Therapy. Metaphor, Metamorphosis and the Neurobiology of Emotion

October 30, 2009 - October 31, 2009

Friday lecture 7:30-9pm
Chair: Tina Stromsted
Speaker: Margaret Wilkinson

“This evening we will explore the way in which metaphor stimulates brain activity and facilitates change and development in the mind-brain-body being. Earliest experiences of emotional states arise out of bodily experiences in relation to the primary caregiver. Research has made clear that nature and early nurture, template and the realization of potential through the stimulus of a caring other, combine together to shape the mind that arises from the developing, relational brain. In therapy that focuses on the relational new neural connections will be made in the configurations of both mind and brain of client and in therapist as a result of working with early painful experience that is revisited in the consulting-room. In doing such work I have come to appreciate the value of metaphors as the heralds of the emergence of early painful experience into mind. Cozolino comments ‘Abstract notions are tied to our bodies through metaphor, thus connecting our minds to the world through the experience of our bodies’ (Cozolino 2006:73) and suggests that ‘our ubiquitous use of physical metaphors to describe our inner experience may also betray the sensory-motor core of both our subjective experience and abstract thought'(2006:190). Pally observes that ‘By containing within them sensory, imagistic, emotional and verbal elements, metaphors are believed to activate multiple brain centres simultaneously’ (Pally 2000: 132). The presentation will include description of evolving metaphor in clinical work with patients. There will be ample opportunity for discussion.” (Margaret Wilkinson)

Saturday morning 9:30am to 1:30pm
Empathy, Neurobiology and the Supervisory Process
Presenters: Margaret Wilkinson & Tina Stromsted

The morning will be used to explore the neuroscience that underpins the supervisory process, particularly with regard to early relational trauma. It will explore the dynamics of supervision both in individual and group settings. A neurobiological perspective of the supervisory process enables a deeper understanding of the critical factors that operate at implicit levels of the therapeutic alliance, beneath the exchanges of language and explicit cognitions. The phenomena of mirroring, resonance and empathy underpin the experience of ‘parallel process’, an essential part of the supervisory process, in which communications occur at an unconscious level in the triadic dynamics between supervisor, supervisee and patient. As the morning progresses, through discussion centering more on clinical vignettes, we will explore the implications of the insights presented for supervision of the individual and the more complex dynamics of the group supervisory process.


Margaret Wilkinson is a professional member of the Society of Analytical Psychology, London and an assistant editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. She teaches neuroscience research reading seminars for The Northern School of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and at The Society of Analytical Psychology, London. She lectures internationally on contemporary neuroscience and its relevance to clinical practice. She is the author of numerous papers, her book ‘Coming into mind. The mind-brain relationship: a Jungian clinical perspective’ was published by Routledge in 2006. Her forthcoming book ‘Changing Minds in Therapy. Emotion, Attachment, Trauma, & Neurobiology’ is to be published by Norton in 2010. She is in private practice in North Derbyshire, England. Her email address is [email protected].

Tina Stromsted, Ph.D., MFT, BC-DMT, is a Jungian analyst and dance/somatic psychotherapist with a private practice in San Francisco. With three decades of clinical experience, Dr. Stromsted leads workshops in the U.S, and internationally, integrating body-oriented, Jungian, and creative arts therapy approaches to healing and development, informed by contemporary neuroscience and approaches to working with trauma. Past co-founder and faculty member of the Authentic Movement Institute, she teaches in the Somatic Psychology Doctoral Program at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and with Marion Woodman and her team in BodySoul Rhythms leadership trainings. Her numerous articles and book chapters explore the integration of body, mind, psyche and soul in clinical work.