None of us exist in isolation. Humans grow as communicants from the infant’s first cry or gesture of focussed interest, and the responses they bring from an attentive parent. In the cry we see human vulnerability, and in play a wish to share experience, the beginnings of participation in communicative exchange.
Significance is found in our closest relationships as we engage in a spiral of communication. Language entwined with feeling allows growth in the sense of significance over time. Our nervous system is to be understood as providing a facilitating interface with the environment. Such facilitation involves the guiding of body movement and reception of feedback from the outset. Complex neural networks underpin a system of exchange that always has feeling as its representative in consciousness, a touchstone for well-being of self. The expansion of consciousness and the growth of self necessarily involve a gift for engaging in language. The singularity of self may be understood as an embodied text. We develop as living symbols in stories of relation to one another. We have evolved through care, play and conversation. Role transformations have evolved as age-related transformations to support these functions. In healthy relationships there is an element of giving in the exchange between two compassionate selves. We grow in conversations of feeling.
This talk will begin with an overview of the book with emphasis on the centrality of language to human development and culture. The second part of the talk will focus on a psychotherapy session and processes of exchange in the therapeutic conversation.