If your clientele is heavily weighted with business people, here is a secret you want to know about. This serendipitous conversation shines a bright light on the serious—and secret—inner conflict that one in three, outwardly successful business people experience.
I recently participated in an online conversation with Mark I. from the U.K., and Maria Engström Eriksson from Sweden—both executive coaches with extensive experience, and experts in business NLP.
With more than a dozen year’s consulting experience and many more in business development, Maria is a business developer, lecturer, author, leadership expert and executive coach to business people who have a relentless personal desire to develop and succeed. Her book focuses on how to translate insights from brain research into everyday leadership skills.
Mark, who began this conversation with the provocative question below—reflective of his experience as a highly regarded executive coach—is known for his passion for business and individual excellence, and is an executive vice president at a large company based in the U.K.
Mark I. • Is it enough to be “reactive” in coaching, to deal with the presenting issue/challenge? Should we be seeking to help our clients break through the facade they (we) wear and BE in their true identity?
Maria Engström Eriksson • Hi Mark, good question. I guess sometimes people just want to get the presented issue solved and not put in the energy of a deeper journey. I think we should respect that and sometimes we can perfectly well help on the surface or that logical level. I find however that sometimes the deeper structures are [...] Continue Reading…
Has the Theory of “Dual Personality” Been Disproved…, Really?
In the early 1960s, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, Roger Sperry discovered that each hemisphere of the brain, the right and the left, has its own stream of consciousness, independent of the other.
In his work with “split brain” patients, he further demonstrated each hemisphere is intelligent in its own way, cognitively aware, uses different methods for processing information, has its own beliefs and preferences, and each experiences emotions such as frustration, irritation, anger, impatience, and… embarrassment—again, all independent of the other. Further, Sperry and other researchers have demonstrated that each hemisphere can carry out a different complex task—independent of the other—simultaneously—as if they are two people! 1
In these articles, I have put forward the idea, based on my experiences with many hundreds of clients, that Sperry’s findings have profound implications for understanding intrapersonal conflict—conflict within the mind—in a revolutionary new way. No one experiencing inner conflict need ever again feel they are strange—that how their mind works is some anomaly of nature—or feel flawed. Inner conflict is based in the very architecture of the brain, not in some aberration of mind.
Sperry’s work offers a never-before-possible glimpse into the actual mechanics of intrapersonal conflict. This new look at inner conflict opens the door to an also new and profoundly beneficial self-understanding for millions of people suffering with it… who have believed, in their inner confusion, that they were somehow defective. The way is open to anyone to create a personal strategy for resolving their inner conflict, and filling [...] Continue Reading…
Roger Sperry’s Nobel Prize Winning Brain Experiments From More Than
50 Years Ago Are the Key to Understanding Intrapersonal Conflict Today
In the early 1960s, Sperry rocked the world of neuroscience with his discoveries working with “split brain” patients. (There is detail about these experiments in past articles below this one, and in the upcoming one.) He, and others after him, demonstrated through empirical and repeated behavioral experiments that each hemisphere of the brain—of which everyone, thanks to the popularity of Sperry’s work, now commonly knows there are two—has its own stream of consciousness independent of the other. These two streams of consciousness are full-fledged personalities, and when they disagree, there is Inner conflict.
I first learned of Sperry’s work in 1993, and—because of my work with many clients experiencing problematic intrapersonal conflict (inner conflict)—I have been hooked on studying this “dual consciousness” phenomenon ever since.
In this article I’ll lay out the reasons Sperry’s work is vital for understanding inner conflict in a revolutionary new way—that its roots are in brain structure, NOT in some aberration of mind. There are four forms of problematic inner conflict, and also in this article you can find out if you have one of them. No one with significant or severe inner conflict need ever again be confused by it, nor think they are some anomaly of nature because of it, nor ever again feel alone—distressing inner conflict is rampant in every developed country in the world.
There Is Opposition to the “Dual Personality” View
While many in the world of neuroscience and [...] Continue Reading…
We Think We make Decisions Logically. Do We? Decisions Actually Have
To Do with Interplay Between the Right and Left Hemispheres of Our Brain
The woman, for a fleeting moment, sees a picture of a nude, her face colors and she begins to chuckle with embarrassment. It is a beautiful California day. Can you guess exactly where she is? Strangely enough, she is a test subject—to preserve her personal privacy let’s call her Sue—in the highly respected psych testing facility at the California Institute of Technology, near Los Angeles.
Sue, in most every way, is just like you and me, with two exceptions. She has epilepsy, and has had her corpus callosum surgically severed―the large band of neural fibers that connect the right and left hemispheres of her brain―in a last resort attempt to cure her intractable epilepsy. She is a “split brain” patient. These patients provide, in my view, spectacular insights into the different functions of each half of our brains, and especially… how these two halves interact, or don’t, in daily moment-by-moment, real-time activity.
Finding Clues in the Lab
At Cal Tech with Sue is Dr. Roger Sperry, now renowned, and awarded a Nobel Prize in 1981, in part, for the groundbreaking research work he did with Sue, and other “split brain” patients like her during the 1960s. With their corpus callosum “disconnected,” all cross-talk and sharing of information between their right and left cerebral hemispheres ceases to exist for these patients. Originally, it was thought that performing such an operation―a callosotomy―would prove catastrophic for any [...] Continue Reading…
You’ve heard of automatic writing. The man is in a university psych lab for testing. He is with the tester when his left hand, as if dis-embodied with a mind of its own, begins “automatically” drawing a crude picture. Is this some test for psychic ability?
This man, in almost every respect is an ordinary person just like you and me, except for two things. He has epilepsy, and in his brain he has had the corpus callosum severed—a bundle of 200+ million fibers that connect the two hemispheres of a normal brain—in an attempt to eliminate or reduce his seizures. He is a “split brain” patient.
From the start of my career in 1988, working with corporate clients as an executive coach, I had a pretty good toolset. I was successful with most, but not all, of the clients I worked with. The ones I was not successful with were mostly hard-nosed corporate types, men and women. That one third puzzled and perplexed me no end—they were tough to work with—and I took it on as a mission to discover the key to success with that group.
At first, I saw no similarities, no common patterns across this group, except… the one third ratio jumped to two out of three at the more senior management levels. But I kept looking. As I gathered clues, patterns emerged. I found I was up against intrapersonal conflict—secret conflict within the mind. Each of these clients had various manifestations of chronic inner conflict which I eventually categorized into four forms (acronym RISC): Repressive, Impulsive, Self Abusive, and Compulsive.
I began to be consistently successful with [...] Continue Reading…
What would it be like if you could put one hemisphere—one half of someone’s brain—to sleep and be able to have a conversation with just the other, awake hemisphere of their brain, all by itself?
And then reverse that and have another conversation with just the other half of their brain, all by itself? “Absolutely amazing!” is what I would say. That is what the Wada test does.
I first learned of the Wada Test back in 1994, and, please forgive my exuberance here,
I was absolutely blown away! This test was devised by Dr. Juhn Atsushi Wada, a Japanese-born, Canadian neurologist, just after World War II while he was still in Japan. He is today a highly respected leader in epilepsy research.
When considering neurosurgery to cure severe epilepsy, doctors perform a number of pre-operative evaluations as part of their planning for the surgery itself. Since the mid-1960s, the Wada test has been used as one of those pre-operative procedures for a surgery called a cerebral commissurotomy, where the corpus callosum is severed. The corpus callosum is a thick bundle of fibers, more than 200 million of them, located between the hemispheres and connecting the right hemisphere of the brain with the left hemisphere. From this central position, between the hemispheres, these fibers reach deep into both hemispheres connecting the neurons of the left hemisphere with those in the right hemisphere.
The “Split Brain”
Patients who have had this procedure done are called, among the cognitive neuroscientists who study them, “split brain patients.” These [...] Continue Reading…
The History of Inner Conflict, in Legend and Lore, Fiction and
Film, Has Fascinated, Captivated, and Terrified Us for Centuries
Inner conflict—or more accurately, intrapersonal conflict, defined as conflict solely occurring within the mind of an individual—has been storied by Robert Louis Stevenson in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Carl Jung in his concept of the animus and anima within each of us, and by modern neuroscientists in their revelations of the dominant and sub-dominant hemispheres of the brain.
But today, the story of intrapersonal conflict is much more personal and immediate for the many millions who suffer with it right now, and the many more millions who live and work with them.
In my 20+ year career as an executive coach working with nearly 4,000 clients, I have learned that intrapersonal conflict is a deeply held secret by those who suffer with it. More times than I could ever count my clients have told me that, until working with me, they had never discussed their inner conflict with anyone, not even their spouse.
There are a number of reasons for keeping their torment secret. Among them are the fact they feel all alone—that no one else has what they have, that their inner behavior deeply confuses them and that must mean they are somehow flawed, that they feel no one could ever understand, they don’t even understand and revealing it would be a humiliation, and that nothing could ever be done about it anyway. These reasons keep the true endemic incidence of intrapersonal conflict and the damage it [...] Continue Reading…
ARIC is an open forum primarily for NLP practitioners and mental health professionals to share information, experience, and expertise in working with intrapersonal conflict in clients who suffer from it. However, it is open to anyone with an interest in self-discovery, personal growth, and learning about inner conflict and related brain science.
in▪tra▪per’▪son▪al con’▪flict n. Conflicts that occur solely within the psychological dynamics of an individual’s own mind. The term is interchangeable with, more simply, inner conflict.
Working Definition of…
Inner conflict is the presence of conflictive inner dialogue, opposing thoughts, feelings, preferences, beliefs, and/or values solely occurring within the psychological dynamics of an individual. It reaches the level of problematic inner conflict when an individual experiences it as a pattern with enough frequency, duration, and distressing intensity as to strongly wish they didn’t have it.
Serious and devitalizing intrapersonal conflict is vastly under-recognized as a source of human pain and suffering, and as a major obstacle to individual fulfillment, satisfaction and enjoyment. At least 1 in 4 adults and teenagers in developed countries suffer with it. The purpose of this group is to create greater awareness among practitioners about intrapersonal conflict phenomena in their clients, in these five areas:
It’s prevalence and pervasive effects
The challenges it presents practitioners in working with clients who have it
The functional source of intrapersonal conflict in the structure of the brain
How to recognize it in its different forms
Effective approaches in helping clients resolve it