Since treatment driven by the People Systems Relational & Neuro-Developmental Approach to Human Dynamics focuses on the client’s significant relationships, the therapist is always focused on these significant relationships even if the client might not report to have any relational challenges.
In addition, there are many adult clients who seek individual therapy because their partner is unable to participate in the therapeutic process. With these clients, there is much work that can be done on the client, the partner who is unable to directly participate in the therapeutic process, and on their overall relationship. This approach was inspired by the Parent Relational & Developmental Neuropsychotherapy Protocol through which I developed to work on a child’s behavioral and emotional challenges through the parent. The active neurobiological ingredient of this approach is that before the brain is able to use the right prefrontal cortex to engage in relational dynamics with another person, the amygdala, which resides in the more primitive part of the brain needs to be downregulated. In essence, if the brain does not feel safe, we can’t use our human capabilities to connect. Instead we go into fight, flight or freeze in order to protect ourselves. When one of the two members of the dyad is able to self-regulate, the self-regulated member is now able to use their left prefrontal cortex to objectively evaluate the relational dynamics, and then use their right prefrontal cortex to show empathy and understanding. Many clients can’t believe the effect that their own self-regulation has on the ability of the other member of the dyad to self-regulate.
I have learned that even when both adults are engaged in individual therapy, they both find it useful to meet individually with me as part of the treatment for the couple since my approach when working with individuals is not focused directly on strengthening the ego, but rather on strengthening the person’s relationships.