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Integrative Health, Psychology and Relationship Support

Mind-Soul vs. Brain

Posted by: Dr. Tina Morse PsyD, MFT

Topic: Mind

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Do you believe that your mind-soul is part of your body, or that it is a separate entity from the physical body? 

Science and life experiences support both theories. Hippocrates was 1st to say that the mind is in the brain, while Aristotle postured that the mind was in the heart. The fact is, your mind-soul is in every part of you. It is thought to come into the physical body at birth and emanates from a very sensitive point that is just past the eyes, and directly in between your ears.

As babies, we begin to mimic what people around us do. If we as parents smile, our baby smiles, …but do they really comprehend? Babies don’t understand what we say to them, they understand our inflections, our tone-of-voice and the energy behind the words and behavior that we mirror to them. The same is true for our animal friends. Your new puppy (or pony) can’t understand, nor will they ever comprehend the words you are using. The good news is that how you say (what you want to get across), and your behavior is what matters when communicating with animals or infants.

Then something happens when we humans turn 2 years old. The left hemisphere of our brain changes and it grows in a different way than the right hemisphere of our brain. It begins to analyze details more carefully and the content of words. It begins recognizing names, numbers (and as time goes on) the deeper meaning of what we hear verbalized.

Hemispheres in the brain are highly interconnected while processing information and distributing it. The right hemisphere of the brain supports us to function creatively and the left hemisphere of the brain supports us verbally. Both sides of the brain work in unison; helping us communicate and make sense of what is going on around us.

Left vs. Right Brain 

Your right hemisphere of the brain controls your left side of the body and your face. Your left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body.

When you look directly at someone, it is the mirror opposite.

Right Brain             Left Brain

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The left-hemisphere of the brain governs

  • language, content of words, literal meaning
  • what’s rational, logical
  • name recognition
  • math
  • analyzing facts and details
  • content
  • one-after-the-other and in a sequential, in a linear fashion
  • masculine – yang energy

The right-hemisphere of the brain is known to be

  • the supportive hemisphere
  • feminine – yin energy
  • seat of feelings and emotions, Eros
  • supporting ones athletic abilities due to spatial & perceptual skills
  • musical and artistic abilities
  • helps memory, recognize faces, pictures, patterns, and intonations of voice
  • circular or curvilinear
  • helps synthesize parts into a whole

When things go wrong

When a persons brain has been damaged through an injury, where brain lesions develop, or if the corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres has been severed, the human brain cannot communicate and function at it’s best. Adults who have had trauma in their childhood are often challenged with learning, as well as making everyday decisions. They may have been born to parents who where alcoholics, suffered from an injury relating to abuse; injured in an accident or fallen down a staircase when they were learning how to walk. Emotional abuses and witnessing traumatic events cause future challenges as well.

History reflects that it’s better to have a stroke or damage to the left hemisphere of the brain rather than the right hemisphere. Jan Berry, from the legendary duo Jan & Dan suffered traumatic brain injury to the left hemisphere of the brain in a car collision. He was famous for some of the greatest surf hits of the 60’s – Dead Man’s Curve and The Little Old Lady From Pasadena. What’s notable is that while he was recovering he could no longer speak the words to the songs that made him so well known. He could only sing them with the help of the healthy and supportive right-brain hemisphere.

Disturbances in the asymmetry of the brain are another factor and key to psychopathology. The degree of lateralization of the brain (or a loss of cerebral asymmetry) is found in people with Schizophrenia and remains striking in all psychotic illnesses. Perhaps this populations sensitivity and ability to perceive goes beyond what we are able to comprehend.

We are much more than our brain

In the material world, our sense of objects is not necessarily the truth under the best of circumstances. We may stare up at the ceiling, frozen in fear while thinking “spider,” when it may in fact be a harmless smudge of paint. Sometime in the 1600’s French philosopher Rene Descartes coined the term, I think, therefore, I am! He went on to say, “I can doubt my senses, (and perceptions) but I cannot doubt the I who is thinking them.” This is one way that we differentiate our mind-soul from our brain. Can you think of others?


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