A Relationship for Learning
by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Rebecca Shahmoon-Shanok, LCSW, PhD
How can something so soft – a relationship – penetrate so deeply? W hat happens between people when they earnestly communicate over time? How does one understand the process when one person is a learner and the other a nurturer? Between a daughter and her father? Between a supervisee and reflective supervisor?
This article integrates ideas about mindsight with the concepts of reflective supervision and practice in the birth-to-3 field. Mindsight is the ability to have insight and empathy for the mental experience of self and others, along with the ability to sense the patterns of shared communication of energy and information exchange within relationships. The authors explore how the flow of energy and information in the context of nurturing relationships through reflective supervision supports the capacity to develop mindsight. Mindsight also refers to the neural mechanisms beneath mental and relational life. Nurturing a resilient mind within reflective communication is both art and science. The authors propose that openness, objectivity, and observation create the ability to monitor and then modify mental life itself, an internal and interpersonal set of processes that promote healthy self -regulation and emotional balance.
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