Life is a complex affair: family, work, health, finances, our own mind. Moreover, it’s not just about making sure we keep adrift of all the different people and domains of our lives, but also ensuring that they interrelate in ways that feel coherent and satisfying – being human is a full-time job. Thankfully, there are maps to navigate with our complexity, both at the level of all the parts of our being and lives, and also as a whole. Systems’ understanding provide key insights into some of the fundamental principles of our human experience, orienting us towards simple practices – complexity theory made simple – but not too simple! NeuroSystemics cross-fertilizes contemplative practices of embodiment, a strong sense of selfhood with psychological frameworks and community-building to provide a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts.
My main mentor for group processes is Irvin Yalom, who has spent over 50 years researching and practicing in this field. In my personal sessions with him, he would often ask me: “Boaz, tell me, how are we doing today?” He was pointing to a shift between the parts that we were individually, to the whole: us, our whole, we as a super-organism, greater than our parts. I learned to see the dance between the different parts of our being and graceful moments of wholeness – I was invited to tune in, to listen to the music, as Rumi advised, and dance.
May you be well, be free and dance.
Couple conflicts have wide-ranging negative physiological, psychological and relational impacts on both members a couple. Emotions play a key role in conflicts and in particular, negative emotions have been found to escalation conflicts, whereas positive emotions will help a couple spiral toward resolution.
Since it is established that emotions can be trained (i.e., Klimecki, Leiberg, Lamm & Singer, 2012; Bolier, et al. 2013; Schumer, Lindsay, & Creswell, 2018), the purpose of the current study was to investigate experimentally which training methodology, between compassion training and cognitive reappraisal training, was the most effective to increase positive emotions and reduce negative emotions among couples. Couples were trained and tested in their emotional expressivity using the integrative coding methodology of the Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF; Gottman, McCoy & Coan, 1996; Coan & Gottman, 2007).
The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant. However, the ratio for compassion training was numerically superior which seems to suggest that, although not significant, it seems to induce greater levels of positive emotions and reduced levels of negative emotions in comparison to cognitive reappraisal training. Differences in psychological and psychosocial mechanisms involved in the two training approaches are discussed. Future studies with a larger sample size and sufficient statistical power would be required to help clarify the difference in impact on compassion and cognitive reappraisal training methodologies.
If you would like to further your grounding in the foundations of Soulmaking Dharma and that whole paradigm, Rob Burbea would suggest that you consider joining Catherine’s online Foundations of Soulmaking Dharma course (Oct 20 – Dec 20 2019; see Barre Center for Buddhist Studies BCBS program for more info). The intention for Catherine’s online course is to give a comprehensive, systematic grounding in those foundations through a guided supporting framework.
Completion of this online course is a prerequisite for the Soulmaking Dharma residential program at BCBS January 10-16, 2020.
Applications Open: August 1
Applications Close: September 24
Initial Accepted Applicants Notified: October 1
Pre-course Interviews and Registration: October 6-10
Enrollment Period: October 13-16
Fall 2019 Course Dates: October 20-December 22 (no meetings held the week commencing 24/11)