ABSTRACT

We are in the era of neuroscience. Clinicians are increasingly fascinated with the neural activity that underlies subjective experiences and overt behavior. Brain imaging methods such as positron emission tomo graphy (PET) allow scientists to map the areas of the brain that “light up” simultaneously to a particular subjective experience, including events and experiences that occur in psychotherapy. But human beings have evolved with sense organs that are directed primarily outward; sight, smell, hearing, and touch are sensory functions all more sensitive to stimuli external to the body than within it. Humans are “wired” to respond to their external environment subjectively and behaviorally (Bowlby, 1988a). Neural activity is represented in subjective experience as self-awareness. This self-awareness inhabits a representational world composed of selfrepresentations and object-representations that are ineluctably linked together by interaction scenarios with each having a characteristic affective tone (Beebe, Lachmann, & Jaffe, 1997; Mitchell, 1988; Sandler & Sandler, 1978). This internal representational world begins to be populated in infancy through internalizations of perceived interactions with the outside world. Although this representational world is laid down as personality structure, it must be replenished continually from interactions with the world, especially people.