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Showing posts from May 9, 2014

Why We Need Each Other

Human beings need other humans to help us process and regulate our emotions; this is the primary 'intersubjectivity' we all seek from others, the underlying need that bonds us together. Starting at approximately 3 months of age, well before the acquisition of language, the right hemisphere of an infant's brain is employing the body—via gestures, sounds and facial expressions—to send out social cues indicating its basic states—excitement, fear, surprise, etc—which the primary caregiver reads and reflects back. This exchange is vital for the infant's social development and sense of security.

However, the primary caregiver does more than simply 'mirroring' back an infant's emotional state; a caregiver, as part of the empathetic, sustained, resonant exchange, helps the infant regulate its early emotional states. It's an unconscious process, where the caretaker either decreases or amplifies a mood via reassuring facial gestures and body language; even from th…