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Dr. Dan Siegel on Reflective Communication

Rcfl cctiYc C ommun ication Cult iuat i ngM indsight Thr oughl{ ur t ur ing Relat i onships DANIELJ. Siegel . Mindsight Institute, Los Angeles;UCLA SchooLof Medicine R E B E C CA SHAHM OON- SHANOK. lnstitute for Infants, Children & Families, JBFCS, New York, New York supewisionisarelationshipforleatming(Fen ichel,ry92).Thepattnershipnwtures aprocessof and memory. They embracethe experience bering, reviewing, and thinking out loud about a specifc child, thepeoplewho sutvownd that child, ofhopes, dreams,attitudes, and desire. happens,or doesnot, that reJlectiue supewistonenhancesuision, An individual's mental life also involves whatis seenandevenwhatissee-able.}

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Transcription of Dr. Dan Siegel on Reflective Communication

1 Rcfl cctiYc C ommun ication Cult iuat i ngM indsight Thr oughl{ ur t ur ing Relat i onships DANIELJ. Siegel . Mindsight Institute, Los Angeles;UCLA SchooLof Medicine R E B E C CA SHAHM OON- SHANOK. lnstitute for Infants, Children & Families, JBFCS, New York, New York supewisionisarelationshipforleatming(Fen ichel,ry92).Thepattnershipnwtures aprocessof and memory. They embracethe experience bering, reviewing, and thinking out loud about a specifc child, thepeoplewho sutvownd that child, ofhopes, dreams,attitudes, and desire. happens,or doesnot, that reJlectiue supewistonenhancesuision, An individual's mental life also involves whatis seenandevenwhatissee-able.}

2 In arealsense,theeffectofreflectiuesupewisi onisthatit the experienceof perception, recognition, "supervision"-the ability to seefurther,deeperandmore (Shahrnoon-Shanok, zo06, $). understanding,knowing, and awareness. Although eachindividual may possessthese mental elements as a familiar part of her ('sef1"-a ow can somethings6 relationship- life, the abiliryto perceivethem as mental penetrateso deeply?What happensbetweenpeopie when they earnestlycommunicateover time? How does one understandthe processwhen one person is a learner and the other a nurturer? Betweena daughter Abstract and her father?)

3 Between a sunerviseeand Reflective This article integrates ideas about mindsight with the concepts of suoervisor? Reflective supervision and practice in I thisarticle,webeginwith relationships of the brain are readyto growwith experi- the birth-to-3 field. Mindsight is the and explore how individuals know ence,shapingthem from the earliestdaysof ability to have insight and empathy r person and the nature of commu- people'slives. Relationshipswith others that for the mental experience of self and ion between people that nurtures the focus on the internal nature ofmental expe- others, along with the ability to sense laye skills of socialand emotional intelli- rience promote these mindsight circuits to the patterns of shared Communication .

4 At the root ofthese abilities is a central increasetheir connectivity and function. of energy and information exchange calledmindsighf,whichis how an Whether an indMdual is sensingher own within relationships. The authors idual seesthe internal world of the mind inner mental life or empathically attuning explore how the flow of energy and I,t999,zotoa). Mindsight is a funda- to the internal world ofanother person as a information in the context of nurturing al skill that permitsindMdualsto "see" supervisor does in Reflective supervision with relationships through rettective the ntal world within themselvesand individuals or small groups,mindsight sums supervision supports the capacity to wit others.

5 Combining insight and empa- up the capacityofpeoples'brains to make devetop mindsight. Mindsight also thy, ndsight also enablesthem to envision the imagesthat representthe world of men- refers to the neural mechanisms rel ps ashow two minds connect- tal activities, aswell as the mental actMties beneath mental and relational [ife, and to know how the brain oleach asthe processcalledmeta- Nurturing a resilient mind within comes to resonate with the nervous cognition involves thinking about thinking, Reflective Communication is both art sysr s signals from the other. While exter- mindsight entails a form of metarepresenta- and science.]

6 The authors propose that nal viors are perceived by the eye, ear, or tion inthat it reveals howthe mind seesitself. openness, obiectivity, and observation SE oftouch and individuals' sensesenable Beyond having a thought, mindsight permits create the abitity to monitor and then t to see,hear, and feel physical objects one to see directlythe qualities ofthinking as modify mentat tife itself, an internal and r motion in the world, the internal life a form of mentai activiry. and interpersonaI set of processes that of mind is perceived through a different Mental actMties include the familiar promote heatthy setf -regulation and set neural circuits.

7 Theseneural regions capacitiesof thought, feeling,intentj on, emotionaI batance. 6Ze t o T h r e e N o t e m b e r zo to activities-to know individuals are thinking o r f eclinga ndn otjust b ecom inglos tin a t rrrinof thought or an emotionalsurge- is sometl-ringthat may require learning and can improve with practice. That is what Reflective supervisionis for, the development o f rnindsig hte sa skili of kn owingabouta provider's own-and her ciients'-mind. In the world of researchand theory terms such as intersubjcctivity, mentalese,men- talization, mind-mindedness, Reflective firnction, and theory of mind havebeen r-rsed, along with mindsight, to capture this notion tl-ratir-rdividualscan conceiveof a mind- t heirown,rswell u so the rs and not jus t huveone.

8 QSecbox Tcrms for the Abiliry to Conccive of C)urOwn and Others'Minds.). Thcse conccpts l'ravel-relpcdilluminate the naturc of devclopment, pointing to importance of reflecting on the internal naturc of mental lif'easa c^rucialcompo- ncnt in sccurc parent-child attachmcnt-in ,in parent, arrdin early rclational devel- Secure attachment in the earlyyears leads to far better child and parent outcomes many opmerlt, irswell (Fonagy& Tilrgct, 2oo5; years later. Gricr-rcnbcrgcr,S1adc,& Kcl1y,zoo5; Sieeel, r999;Sladc,zoo5). In thc attachment world, this capaeity to nrcntalizc;-rs rttclsuredby rcflective function has bc'enproposed to be thc cruciirl underlying mechanism of secure attirchmert (fonzrgy,Gergely,Jr-rrist, rrrt l roo r r AsArir'ltr Sl adr ' hlt s t at c d: Theseare retatedtheoreticaL constructsas we|'Ias observabte,evidence-based capacities M t'trt,tI i : a t i tttt rrrf ct|d I ('.

9 {r|r k rro r|i i rg associatedwith the development of secureattachmentin the f irst 2 or 3 yearsof [ attachmentis rootedin the quaLity of affectiveinterchangeinitiatedby the parentto support lhttt ott'tlf ditc('(o!]lrlivc(lt?d,ljtctruc;rt ,lrr her chitdandthe capacityto perceiveandrespondto the menta[life of the chiLdbeneath cffcct, tltc cttpttcity to tltit'tk aboutfe cling and outwardbehavior. tofccl ttltout tltirtkirtg(M. Targct,ltctsotml corttnunic tttiott,D cccntltcr tt, zo o3). Mentalese: it t rfrt t in ttnrl 'lrt n"' rtxrtrit'. b "'lv c l) lo' t ' s s ' Usingwordsthat refLect suchas "feeting,".))]}

10 The mentaIactivitiesbeneathbehavior, "thinking,". or tttuttcly an in div i du al's tut tl er st anding. ln "remembering"(Fodor,1975). ,it is a ntctacognitiucproccssttkin Mentatization: to ltcrspectittc t aking, atd " ntctttcogt'Lititc Theabitityto havea "theoryof mind,"to thinkin termsof the mentaLworldthat drives ntonitorhtg" (Mttitt, t99t).Itt the langttagcof y T a r g e t1, 9 9 7 ) I, t i s t h e 'p r oce ssb y behav io rasn di s w i t h i nt h e s e l fa n dt h e o t h e r( F o n a g &. l)sJt/iu(r/?( , if | At whichwe realizethat havinga mindmediatesour experience of the world" (Fonagy, Gergety, tltc st'nnctitne, it t'cfcrs to tut etnotional process, Jurist,& Target,2002,p.))


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