Who do we think we are? The myth of the individual mind
A declaration of interdependence: Freud, neuroscience & the relational roots of identity
Speaker: Dr Sarah Sutton
6-6.45pm wine reception
6.45-8.3pm Lecture and Q&A
About the event
In today's social and political context it seems more important than ever to understand not just the mechanisms but the roots of mental disturbance. Evidence from a number of disciplines, child psychotherapy alongside child development research, neuroscience, physiology and social studies clearly points to the formative nature of relational experience.
It becomes increasingly untenable to think of minds as an individual possession, each of us in the driving seat of our own little self vehicle (Eagleman, 2011). Yet as a society, we tend not to acknowledge this. The myth of the individual holds sway.
Here, I want to challenge this myth and show how it obscures the relational context. Gene research (Rose, 2016) has made nonsense of the idea that there is 'a gene for’ any particular human characteristic. There is an alternative, more coherent way of making visible how minds are made. We are in fact social animals, in continual emotional and neurobiological call and response with the people around us. This makes evolutionary sense. We are born ready to adapt to the social and cultural norms of the world in which we find ourselves, and though a degree of brain plasticity continues, this adaptation sets our navigational course, our sense of meaning, informing the story of our lives.
Dr Sarah Sutton writes and teaches on the interface between neuroscience, development research and psychoanalysis. Her book, Being Taken In: The Framing Relationship, is published by Karnac. She has recently been appointed co-editor of the Journal of Child Psychotherapy and is working on her next book, Missing People, reframing mental health symptoms and revisiting psychoanalytic concepts in the relational context twenty first century neurobiology illuminates.