chapter  9
12 Pages

Neuroscience Discourse and the Collaborative Therapies?

WithTom Strong

This chapter explores interpersonal neurobiology and its applications to a collaborative psychotherapy as an emergent yet influential discourse of practice. Sometimes neuroscience discourse presents explanations as singular and foundational for understanding and acting: “Discovering the biological mechanisms underlying social interactions is one of the major problems for the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience to address in the twenty-first century”. Most collaborative therapists work within clients’ languages, without correcting or discounting clients’ languages of understanding with expert discourse. Collaborative therapists tend to flexibly host conversations, using varied discursive resources to make sense of and address client concerns. Neuroscience discourse is commonly used to explain varied phenomena as “brain-based.” While usually innocuous, such as humans are “wired to connect with others”, this discourse is often replete with claims of what brains “allow” or “control”—claims Satel and Lillienfeld see as “mindless brain science.” Brain-based agency is a neuroscience sub discourse that locates agency in brain parts and biochemical processes in the brain.