» «

this just in: it helps to put your feelings into words

On February 15th covering ,

When did it happen that nothing we know about human nature counts until a brain researcher says so? This article reports on, to be sure, an interesting and worthwhile study. What we know about the mind from the inside (through psychoanalysis and all the rest) is converging with what we know about the brain from the outside — and that is really something.

BUT, it seems that the brain researchers have become the go-to explainers of human nature in a way that can be strained and ridiculous. I notice my patients seem to increasingly talk about one part of their “brain” feeling or doing something — when they’re really using “brain” as a metaphor for “mind” — because they’re talking about how they experience their mental life, not about how the hardware is configured.

This says something about where we are as a culture. It is a flight from trusting our own experiences: the evidence of our eyes and ears, what our reason, memory and feelings tell us. It’s reflected in how journalists write up the mass-media story. (I have no problem whatever with the researchers who are doing this wonderful work). But …

Lieberman said he is now doing studies to see how putting words into feelings might help people who fear spiders or have anxiety disorders.


Leave a Reply

Formatting: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .