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Sander, L.W. (2002). Thinking Differently: Principles of Process in Living Systems and the Specificity of Being Known. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(1):11-42.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(1):11-42

Thinking Differently: Principles of Process in Living Systems and the Specificity of Being Known Related Papers

Louis W. Sander, M.D.

As a way of integrating emerging knowledge of biological systems, developmental process, and therapeutic process, we identify principles in the process of exchange between organism and its context of life support that are present at all levels of complexity in living systems, from the cellular to the organization of consciousness. These principles range from specificity, rhythmicity, recurrence, and pattern to coherence, wholeness, and a relative unity in the organization of component parts. By proposing that these principles are also governing the exchange between mother and infant as they negotiate a sequence of essential tasks of adaptation, or “fitting-together” between them over the first years of life, the author suggests that the biological level becomes integrated with the developmental. A sequence of adaptive tasks extends from specificity of recognition in the newborn state, to recognition of inner awareness, purpose, and intention—shaping conscious organization. The bridge to the therapeutic level is constructed as therapist and patient build increasingly inclusive and coherent moments of recognition between themselves at the level of conscious organization, which act as corrective experiences, bringing the patient's own senses of “true self” and of “agency-to-initiate” to new levels of validity and competence.

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