Want to connect with your spouse?

I’ve recently become kind of a neurology nerd, particularly in the area of how our brains function in relationship to other people.  I’m most interested in how our brains go haywire when we’re upset by our spouse, partner, kids – our most loved family members. I’ve become a nerd for this neurology-applied-to-family-therapy stuff.  I love it, and it’s a growing field of cutting-edge knowledge that helps us to understand why we do what we do in moments of distress in our relationships.

And one practical area of this body of knowledge is the concept of Mindsight, a concept coined by renowned professor and psychiatrist, Dan Siegel, MD.  It’s a powerful tool for understanding the perspective of another. Imagine that – you can understand their perspective.  How would that change your next fight or disagreement with your spouse?  

Mindsight is awareness of our internal world (thoughts, feelings, motivations, bodily sensations – ME MAP), and accurate awareness of the internal world of our spouse or loved one – their thoughts, feelings, perceptions, etc (YOU MAP).  

Mindsight combines the concepts of  insight, mindfulness, and intervention.  As Dr. Siegel explains, having mindsight is to be present in the moment, tracking what’s happening in you (ME MAP), aware of what’s happening in the person across from you (YOU MAP), and the desire to modify the interaction into something more connective between us (WE MAP).  

Thorough ME MAP + Accurate YOU MAP + Injection of EMPATHY = Connection

If we can understand what’s happening in us and the other person, and we inject those insights with a load of empathy, we have a much greater opportunity to connect with the other person.  For spouses, this is hard. When your spouse does something that doesn’t make sense to you (poor YOU MAP), it’s easy to dismiss the spouse as stupid, mean, or crazy. But when an accurate YOU MAP is combined with Empathy, there’s a much greater chance for understanding the spouse’s experience in a new way, a way that can even make sense given their MAP.  And… ahhhh… the interaction softens into a connective dialogue rather than a combative argument.

Want to connect with your spouse?  The concepts and skills of mindsight are fundamental for human connection.  Want help with using mindsight? Call me.

You can reach out to Dr. Matt Morris at 504.655.6008, or use the contact form below.


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