What Is Interpersonal Neurobiology?

The human mind is a complex and remarkable piece of matter. It is responsible for all human activity, such as interpreting senses, initiating body movement and controlling behavior. Our brains make us who we are.

Despite the significant role our brains play in our behaviors, many people lack the knowledge to understand how their unique biology contributes to their emotional regulation or dysregulation. More often, people feel defeated by their emotional distress and accept defeat instead of realizing that there is power in knowledge. This realization is particularly important to recognize when it comes to understanding how our biology plays a factor in our ability to control our emotions and behaviors.

When individuals are exposed to the consequences of their addiction, they will likely experience feelings of guilt, shame or regret that perpetuate their addiction. Addiction can cloud a person’s perception of themselves and their ability to quit substance use altogether.

What is Mindsight?

Mindsight, coined by Dr. Dan Siegel, describes the process of learning how to “name and tame” our own emotions. Instead of letting emotions overwhelm us, mindsight encourages us to identify with feeling certain emotions instead of being certain emotions. For example, when we say “I am angry,” we identify with the limiting state of being an angry person. When we say “I feel angry,” we instead identify with the temporary emotion without feeling overtaken by it.

Humans have a natural capacity to perceive the mind of self and others, but only when shown how to access it. Mindsight teaches individuals how to access this personal insight that lies within each of us.

Mindsight is a lens that can help us to understand our unique, individual lives with more clarity. This unique perspective enables us to recognize the power in our mind, enhancing our relationship with ourselves and others. Instead of living life on autopilot and responding to situations out of habit or ingrained behaviors, mindsight encourages us to rationalize and label our emotions. Mindsight is a form of mindfulness that requires us to practice full awareness of the present moment.

What is Interpersonal Neurobiology?

Mindsight and interpersonal neurobiology go hand in hand. Interpersonal Neurobiology, also coined by Dr. Siegel, describes the process of understanding the mind and how it affects our mental health. It recognizes that humans are wired to grow stronger and healthier among a community of people. The main three aspects of interpersonal neurobiology include the brain, the mind and relationships, which create the triangle of well-being.

Brain activity creates the mind, the mind makes physical changes in the brain, and both the mind and brain affect our relationships. In turn, relationships affect the mind as well as the physical structure of our brain (Siegel, 2007).

At its core, interpersonal neurobiology emphasizes that we are who we are because of our relationships. Although developmental psychology tells us that our early childhood experiences shape and define who we are, interpersonal neurobiology validates that our brains constantly change because of our relationships with others. This field of study also connects that healthy relationships create a healthy mind.

Mindsight, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Addiction Treatment

Effective addiction treatment must address substance use at its core. What led to substance use to begin with? Is there any unresolved trauma or mental health disorders contributing to substance use? We know that addiction leads to impulse control, but how can power be taken back?

When mindsight and interpersonal biology approaches are utilized in addiction treatment, people can feel motivated and empowered to learn what motivates their behaviors and emotions. Treatment must focus on personal mindfulness training, such as meditation, and have access to social support resources and a sense of community to support their long-term recovery.

How to Engage with Mindsight and Interpersonal Neurobiology

After a person becomes aware of the brain’s innate ability to heal itself, they become empowered to make personal changes and growth happen in their life. Mindsight is a teachable process that can be attained through mindfulness training. Mindfulness, in general, is the ability to be fully aware of the present moment. This awareness includes tuning in to your personal environment and looking in on your emotions and senses.

Mindfulness involves several components that aid in the healing process. Some of these components include:

  • Acceptance
  • Non-judgment
  • Gratitude
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Awareness

When alertness is paired with compassion and gratitude, individuals can look more closely at their emotions and respond to situations kindly and empathetically. People who engage with mindfulness training regularly can shift away from avoidance and move toward challenging situations, which increases resilience in general. Mindfulness training is more effective when completed through a treatment program rather than on your own, as a treatment program can keep you motivated and accountable.

Cliffside Malibu recognizes mindsight and interpersonal neurobiology as two critical approaches to facilitating personal healing and success in addiction recovery. We do not subscribe to the idea that addiction is a disease that requires treatment. Instead, we believe in loving a person with an addiction into treatment. We will have faith in you and in your recovery until you are able to accept it for yourself. To learn more about our treatment programs or mindsight or interpersonal neurobiology, call us today at (855) 403-5641. We look forward to walking alongside you on your unique journey to healing.