Essay about Rossi: Psychology and Messenger Molecules

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The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy: Towards a Quantum Psychology of Mindbody Healing (2001-2008)1

Ernest Lawrence Rossi, Ph.D.

The Milton H. Erickson Foundation of the California Central Coast (MHE CCC) C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles

The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy may be defined as the exploration of mindbody experience, communication and healing all levels from the cultural and psychosocial to the cellular-genetic-molecular and the quantum. It is a highly integrative approach that greatly expands the traditional domains of phenomenological, analytical and cognitive-behavioral psychology to include new insights into creativity, consciousness and the human condition as they are continually updated by research in biology, physics and mathematics. It seeks to break through the Cartesian dualism between mind and body by exploring questions such as these. How is it possible for thoughts, emotions, imagination and personal experience to influence physical health and vica versa? We know that our genes are expressed in our behavior, for example, but to what extent can we have a “psychobiological dialogue” with our genes to modulate how their information is expressed in self-creation and the process of physical healing? How do we facilitate our daily work of synthesizing the organic structure of our

Published in Rossi, E (2001). The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy. In Corsini, R (Editor) Handbook of Innovative Therapy. 2ed Edition. Pp. 155-165. NY: Wiley

Republished in Rossi, E (2007). The Breakout Heuristic: The New Neuroscience of Mirror Neurons, Consciousness & Psychotherapy, Phoenix: The MHE Foundation Press.

brain to optimize relationships with ourselves and our neighbors in harmony with the evolutionary informational dynamics of consciousness and cosmos?

Rossi: The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy

The history of The Deep Psychobiology of Psychotherapy began with the author’s exploration of the implications of early research in the 1960’s and 1970’s that documented how the psychological experience of novelty and enriched environments was encoded as new memory and learning in the organic structure of the brain on a molecular level (Rossi 1972/1985/2000). This led to the formulation of the dreamprotein hypothesis: “Dreaming is a process of psychophysiological growth that involves the synthesis and modification of protein structures in the brain that serves as the organic basis for new developments in personality.” Within this perspective the essence of psychotherapy becomes a process of facilitating “creative moments” that are encoded in new proteins and neural networks in the brain. But what is a creative moment? Such moments have been celebrated as the exciting ‘hunch’ by scientific workers and inspiration by people in the arts. The creative moment occurs when a habitual pattern of association is interrupted. There may be a spontaneous lapse or relaxation of one’s associative process. There may be a psychological shock, an overwhelming sensory or emotional experience; a psychedelic drug, a toxic condition or sensory deprivation. Yoga, Zen, spiritual and meditative exercises may likewise interrupt habitual associations and introduce a momentary void in awareness. In that fraction of a second when the habitual contents of awareness are knocked out there is a chance for pure awareness and an experience of new awareness or heightened consciousness. This fraction of a second may be experienced as a mystic state, satori, a peak experience or an altered state of consciousness. It may be experienced as a moment of fascination—or falling in love— when the gap in one’s awareness is suddenly filled with the new that has been created in a semi-autonomous manner within the deep psychobiology of our being. From this perspective the new that appears in creative moments is the basic unit of original thought and insight as well as personality transformation.