Skip to main content

Science, Story & Psychotherapy


by Jude Treder-Wolff & Nicholas Wolff



At last week's World Science Festival in New York, some of the most powerful scientific minds of our time discussed some of the Big Questions being answered by scientific advances. What is consciousness? Where is the "self?" How much of our personality is determined by genetics? What was Einstein referring to when he spoke about "spooky action at a distance?" As mind-blowing and exhilarating as it was to listen and learn about the astonishing knowledge available and its rich applications in our daily lives, something theoretical physicist and writer Brian Greene said really got our neurons firing. In a workshop titled "Science and Story: Cutting Edge Discovery For a Literary Public" Greene said that after doing years of research into string theory - which speaks to the possibility of other universes - he would be very excited if string theory was proven wrong! If there are multiple universes, as string theory suggests, what a remarkable development, he said. No multiple universes? This means we have new pathways to go down. He follows the story that scientific discovery is telling. His emotional attachment is to the process. That openness to the truth as it emerges - even if it upends and rewrites the truth we are accustomed to - is the spine of the scientific method.
      The power of the stories we tell ourselves about reality, of our thoughts to shape our experience as well as the functioning of our brain was woven into the narratives about cutting edge science at the festival. Research affirms the human creative capacity to change, which is the spine of the psychotherapeutic process. To let go of a story about our identity - or belief or idea of who we should be - that life reveals to be flawed or untrue can be deeply unsettling but ultimately liberating. Change is disruptive and produces unpredictable tensions. But letting go of assumptions that have been proven wrong also means there are new, untried, possibilities we are free to pursue. There are new paths to go down. We may think that we're taking a journey, but its possible the journey is taking us.

 Read Brian Greene's New York Times Op-Ed "That Famous Equation And You" about all the ways e=mc2 impacts your daily life.

 Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP is a consultant/trainer and writer/performer. Her storytelling show Crazytown: my first psychopath was selected for the 2013 Midtown International Theater Festival. Performances are July 17, 20, 22, 25 & 30 at the Jewel Box Theater. More information.

Nicholas Wolff, LCSW, BCD, TEP is a psychotherapist in private practice and Trainer, Educator and Practitioner of Psychodrama and Group Psychotherapy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Improvisation Games & Exercises For Developing Emotional Intelligence

Since September Lifestage has been offering a monthly training workshop exploring the use of improvisation to develop Emotional Intelligence. These workshops have been geared toward the work done by clinicians, educators and trainers who guide the process of personal change or professional development, but as it turns out we have enjoyed some interesting diversity among the participants -  managers, business owners with both employees and customers, community activists, and performers. 
    Below is a collection of the exercises we have used in the workshops, accompanied by some studies that supports their use. 


Why Improvisation?
Improvisation is a powerful way to become aware of mental habits and patterns. Reflecting on our inner experiences after engaging in an improvisation exercise provides an opportunity to decide whether our mental habits are effective and useful or self-limiting and obsolete. The tensions of the creative process and this kind of interpersonal interaction are a fa…

WARM-UP EXERCISES FOR GROUP WORK - For Therapeutic, Educational or Training Groups

Nicholas Wolff, LCSW, BCD, TEP, Director of Training at Lifestage, Inc and Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP, Trainer/consultant and writer/performer. Follow on twitter @JuTrWolff


   “To begin assembly one must have the right attitude,” goes a Japanese instruction for assembling a particular object, as quoted in Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. The "right attitude" is one that best serves the action we are preparing to engage in, just as an athlete warms up his/her muscles before using them in the stress of a work-out or game. Psychological and emotional "muscles" that are properly warmed up will perform more effectively and make it less likely that we will experience strain or allow fear to produce a shut-out when things get rolling.
    The right warm-up makes everything learned in a training situation or classroom more accessible and immediately useful to the trainee/student. New skills and knowledge - in education, personal growth or a professional train…

Improvisation Training Makes The Science Of Human Connection So. Much. Fun.

There is an improv warm-up game called "Mind Meld" in which people pair up, are given a suggestion, count to three out loud and then say the first word, at the same time, that comes to mind. After a beat, they do it again: "One. Two. Three. Word." After another beat, they do this again. It usually takes only a few beats for both players to say the same word at the same time. Some people find this a remarkably easy and intuitive thing to do. Others find it weird and struggle to stay with it long enough to get results. Somefind themselves doing a rapid assessment of their partner's face and predicting what he/she might say. When I use this exercise in training workshops with therapists and educators, there is often a great need to know "how to get to the mind meld moment" and reflexive self-criticism about having "done it wrong." The exercise can raise anxiety, resulting in a brain freeze for one or both players. But there are no "right&…