Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Dan Siegel - Integral Neuroscience: Nine Forms of Integration


I would love to see how Dan Siegel would integrate his interpersonal neurobiology model into the AQAL model - I think it's halfway or more there - and it keeps growing. Included here are some notes from Dan Siegel's lecture at Upaya Zen Center - I never actually posted this podcast. In the later episodes, her elaborates in detail on these nine forms of integration.
Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pt 1 of 9)

Speakers: Roshi Joan Halifax & Dan Siegel
Recorded: Thursday Jul 8, 2010

Dr. Dan Siegel and Roshi Joan Halifax kick off the Mindsight retreat by asking the question, what is awareness and why does it matter? Dan goes on by saying that if you’re interested in change, awareness is the place to start. Without awareness, things happen without choice and change occurs without intention. Dan introduces the triangle of the human experience, which consist of our awareness of relationships, body/brain and the mind. He states that in order for change to be long lasting, there needs to be synaptic change.

That is pretext for this - these are my notes, not direct quotes. I did this while flying to Oakland - sleep deprived - so I might need to come back and edit a bit.
Dan Siegel - Integral Neuroscience: Nine forms of integration

Adapted from Dan's recent book: Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (2010)

1. Integration of consciousness - Awareness of the body, mental/emotional, relational, and outside world. Openness to things as they are.

2. Bilateral integration - Left and right hemispheres working in synchrony. Left hemisphere is logical and linear, very literal. Right side is more creative, metaphoric, and symbolic.

3. Vertical integration - Body up, including lamina-1, from the brainstem through the midbrain (hippocampus) and into the cerebral cortex. [ME: Also look at the role of the vagus nerve in vertical integration.]

Gut, heart, and lungs all have neural networks that seek to communicate with the brain. Too many people are disconnected from the awareness from our bodies.

4. Memory integration - Implicit and explicit memory integration. When traumas become implicit memory, a schema, we are stuck in the past. To integrate memory, we make implicit memories explicit.

5. Narrative integration - Wiographical memory, needs to be included. Run into the trauma, not from it. When ag dog tries to bite you, stick your fist down it's throat - it'll gag and release. We get wounded, but not as bad as if we pull away and the dog's teeth tear the flesh from our hands.

6. State integration - we are multiple selves sharing a body. Three parts: We need to learn to honor our states (intrastate), interstate, honor that we have different needs at the same time and we need to pay attention to that, and interpersonal states, maintaing my own states while in relation with others.

Other states - such as gross, subtle, causal, nondual?

7. Interpersonal integration - Honoring and supporting the differences in each other promotes neural integration in the brain. Mind is energy and information flow. Talking about thoughts and feelings gets you nowhere. It's about nurturing energy.

Communication of feelings, not about feelings, can be integrative for the brain - promotes integrative fibers in the brain. Parent-child interactions that create healthy attachment work in this way.

8. Temporal integration - Making maps of time. Connected to narrative - we seek certainty, but change is the only constant. We also become aware of our eventual death.

Differentiation and linkage, chaos and integration. We need to differentiate before we can link, and we need to recognize the chaos before we can integrate.

9. Transpirational integration - The identity of a bodily self expands beyond the boundary of the skin - we sense our interconnection time, place, and people. Integration of integration. We Space consciousness.

* * * * *

Siegel seeks to understand brain function through 1st and 3rd person perspectives, but he does not reject the 2nd person "we" space, in fact it's the highest form of integration.

He looks at interpersonal neurobiology through examining the brain as an object, through our unique subjective experience, and through interpersonal enactment.

Mindfulness is intrapersonal attunement - secure attachment is interpersonal attunement.

Mind is an emergent property of brains and relationships, embedded in time and place.
This is a relatively integral model for a neuroscientist. He also has the nine functions of the prefrontal medial cortex, which have some overlap with attachment functions (well, ok, almost all of them overlap with healthy attachment). I found this on the web someplace - I didn't create it.
The Nine Middle Prefrontal Functions
Adapted from “The Mindful Brain
Daniel J. Siegel MD

Body Regulation:
Body Regulation is achieved by the Autonomic (automatic) Nervous System. This system generally works without conscious control and regulates functions like heart rate, breathing, digestion, vascular tone, inflammation and immune response etc.

Attuned Communication:
Attuned Communication is defined as the coordination of input from another mind with the activity of one’s own, a resonance process involving these middle prefrontal areas. This is distinct from other resonant functions such as those achieved by the mirror neurons in the motor cortex that automatically interpret the motor actions of another as one’s own.

Emotional Balance:
Emotional Balance in this context is defined as being able to balance between rigidity and chaos. In other words, being able to keep from being overwhelmed or becoming inflexible in one’s emotional response.

Response Flexibility:
Response Flexibility is the capacity to pause before action. Such a process requires the assessment of ongoing stimuli, the delay of reaction, selection from a variety of possible options, and the initiation of action.

Empathy (Mindsight):
Empathy is defined as conscious awareness and sensitivity to the mind of someone else. It is the putting of oneself in someone else’s shoes.

Insight, or self-knowing awareness:
Insight links the past, present and future. The middle prefrontal cortex has input and output fibers to many areas. Insight means integrating cortical representation of autobiographical memory stores and limbic firing that gives emotional texture to the emerging themes of our present awareness, life story, and image of the future.

Fear modulation:
Fear can be modulated from the middle PFC via neurons that enervate the amygdala, a limbic structure that registers threat and opportunity. These neurons can release calming neurotransmitters (GABA) and can be consciously reprogrammed.

Intuition in this context means registering the input from neurons from the heart and gut. In other words, respecting one’s gut feeling.

Morality in this context means the ability to think of the larger social good and enact those behaviors, even when alone.
OK, now that you have read this - these are nine attachment functions, and when that attachment is secure, i.e., positive and safe, the nine forms of integration are what result.

Pretty cool, huh? But wait, there's more. If your attachment was not the best (like mine), all is not lost. In fact having healthy adult relationships - where we are seen and appreciated and feel loved and valued - can help heal the faulty attachment. This is interpersonal attunement, and it's important for all of us.

More importantly, we can do it ourselves, too. Through mindfulness practice, we can bring our loving awareness to our wounded selves and by paying attention in a loving way, in a mindful, loving-kindness way, we can heal those faulty attachment wounds. This is intrapersonal attunement, and it's powerful. It rewires the same areas of the brain as does early attachment.


Unknown said...

Really nice information. Self-Regulation of attention recycle pic shows everything about this. Thanks for sharing nice information. awesome post.

Unknown said...

I like Dan Siegel, but he is not constructive developmental...that is the biggest stumbling block...

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Bill! I LOVE the trail that Siegel is following. He's elucidating some very important functions and issues.

I'm hoping to scrape together enough money to see him with Jack Kornfield in October...The Wise Heart & the Mindful Brain...woah!

As ever, thank you so much for sharing everything that you do.
Amanda Grace

william harryman said...

Your welcome Amanda - my pleasure.


Siegel holds to development throughout the lifespan, although that isn't his field (The Developing Mind is being rewritten to reflect the new science that has emerged since its publication, which may include some developmental stuff).

I suspect that he might not have an issue with Kegan's model - in fact, I think some of his Mindsight stuff explains the neuroscience of the subject/object shift - bringing awareness to the self allows us to experience it as an object, which creates an opening for a new subjectivity.

I would LOVE to see Siegel and Kegan get together over beers and hash out a merging of their models.

That's my take on it - I'll have more to say on this as I develop my perspective in my head.