Written by Bonnie Badenoch,

Using the Brain to Explain the Psyche

Review by Gunnel Minett

Bonnie Badenoch is a marriage and family therapist and President of the Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies and Executive Director of the Cener for Hope and Healing. In her work she uses two approaches which, she argues, work very well together. She uses a model of how the brain works as well as sand-play in her therapy.
The neurobiological explanation of the brain corresponds well with diagnostic categories in psychotherapy. She has found that explaining how the brain works at an early stage of the therapy tends to have a very positive effect on the healing process. By using the hands as a model of the brain to explain which parts are involved in creating behaviour and mind states and how the different parts work together, the patient can get a different perspective on their problems. Throughout the therapy the patient is encouraged to return to the brain model to get a different perspective on the processes that are involved in creating the various mind- states.
In the sand-play the patient is provided with a large number of figures which they are encouraged to place in a tray filled with sand. The purpose can be to illustrate a certain situation or feeling. Once the scene is set in the sand, it provides an opportunity for both patient and therapist to go through the interpretation of the various figures and their respective places in the tray. With the sand-play as a completely contrasting feature to the brain theory, the two approaches have been shown to have a very healing effect.

W.W.Norton, 2008 http://www.wwnorton.com ISBN 9 780393 705546