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Sharkey, I. (2011). Wilkinson, Margaret. Changing Minds in Therapy: Emotion, Attachment, Trauma, and Neurobiology. New York, London: W. W. Norton, 2010. Pp. 228. Hbk. $ 32.00/£22.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(2):269-270.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(2):269-270

Wilkinson, Margaret. Changing Minds in Therapy: Emotion, Attachment, Trauma, and Neurobiology. New York, London: W. W. Norton, 2010. Pp. 228. Hbk. $ 32.00/£22.00.

Review by:
Ira Sharkey

In his essay ‘The transcendent function(1957), Jung articulated the idea that minds (attitudes) were changed by the ‘collaboration of conscious and unconscious data’ (1957, para. 167). In the same essay, Jung observes that ‘consciousness is continually widened through the confrontation with previously unconscious contents’ (1957, para. 193). Here Jung is imagining connections within the mind and positing a mind capable of making those connections. A main point of Margaret Wilkinson's Changing Minds in Therapy is that the conditions that make possible a generative confrontation between consciousness and unconscious contents are relational, and mainly have to do with experiences of affect regulation. Drawing on the fields of developmental neurobiology, attachment and trauma theory Wilkinson shows how positive early relational experience fosters connection areas within the brain while early emotional trauma fosters divisions between the brain's various structures. ‘Early traumatic interpersonal experience affects what is available to be encoded, as well as the processes of encoding and recall of the memories associated with it…Such experience becomes encoded in implicit memory, unavailable to the conscious mind’ (p. 65). If early relational trauma can alter brain structure influencing how emotional experience is stored in memory, it can also leave a mind deprived of the structures necessary for adequate affect regulation, thus promoting further divisions in the form of dissociative defences.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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