Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I now pronounce you....

In the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge the author recommends that those of us who help others by bringing about change in the nervous system call ourselves Neuroplasticians. A great name! But, what kind of neuroplastician am I?

In "Musicophilia," Oliver Sacks describes going to a concert and seeing the crowd move in unison to the music and being overtaken by the urge to move himself as well. He said it was as if the music joined together the nervous systems of the entire audience as one. He called it Neurogamy, which means the joining of 2 (or in the case of the concert, many) nervous systems. Sacks goes on to describe how this is one of the many amazing qualities of music.

I began to think about other examples of Neurogamy. Diane has often spoken of 2 nervous systems interacting during the patient encounter and I can also recall David Butler describing the patient's nervous system is processing you just as yours is processing them. It seems important for happy Neurogamy to take place during therapy. But what about unhappy Neurogamy? There are plenty of unhappy marriages in the world, why would the marriage of nervous systems be any different? Driving in traffic. A similar task forces a neurogamous relationship with strangers who have limited communication abilities with eachother. When this relationship is bad we see road rage.

I think that we could come up with many characteristics of good and bad Neurogamy that would be useful in the context of therapy. In the meantime, I'm happy to have thought of a name for my breed of Neuroplastician. We are clinical neurogamists!

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