Collaborative, Integrative, and Holistic Conversations: A Neuroscience-Informed Approach to Psychotherapy
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It is a unique and exciting time in the world of psychotherapy when academics from various disciplines look to each other with openness to what the other might have to offer. There has historically been a tension between a medical, biologically-informed approach to mental health and a social science model that studies humans as complex, socially and culturally embedded beings. Increasingly, however, mental health practitioners are becoming aware of the bi-directional interaction between the physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual factors that impact a person. There is now increasing promise to be seen in the therapy room when therapists can resist simple, compartmentalized approaches and broaden the lens through which they approach the clients who come seeking help. This thesis attempts to support a balanced approach that acknowledges both biological ground and narrative construction. The emerging body of neuroscience research can very usefully support and inform therapeutic practices that are curious, and collaborative, welcoming the unique and complex aspects of client experience. This paper will address diverse aspects of human experience and seek to illustrate how neuroscience can usefully support therapeutic interventions that take a more broad and holistic approach to wellness and change. The role of relationships in human development and wellness is discussed as is the significance of spiritual conversations and practices. Additionally, the impact of traumatic experiences are explored to further illustrate the way that neuroscience can guide relationally embedded therapeutic practices that attend to the multi-faceted nature of a person.