New Identify Process

New Identify Process
Interview with Candace Pert, Ph.D

The New Identify Process (NIP) and other forms of emotive psychotherapy embrace the healing tradition of catharsis - intense emotional expression is elicited within a contained therapeutic environment. This emotive therapy follows in a direct line from the earliest forms of ancient healing arts through recent scientific studies exploring the link between body and mind. The challenge for clinicians in answering the criticism about the use of catharsis is to conceptually bridge past and present in evaluating emotive methods.

Happily, an unexpected voice has joined the debate about the importance of emotional therapy. Candace Pert, Ph.D., researcher and pharmacologist, may help point the way to a resolution of a problem that has faced clinicians using emotive methods for the last 100 years. In adding her biochemical research perspective to the discussion of the meaning and value of catharsis, she is addressing a weak point and the biggest problem that exists in the field of emotive, experiential psychotherapy. She is helping to formulate, for the first time, a unified theory of emotion.

Psychological textbooks published only thirty years ago state, "Emotion is virtually impossible to define . . . except in terms of conflicting theories" and "No genuine order can be discerned within the field." As long as emotion remains an abstraction, lacking a unified theory base, it is impossible to research and validate methods of emotive therapy. The kinds of questions that need to be answered include: how emotion is manifest, how memory and emotion interact, whether emotion is concrete (real) or conceptual (a construct), if concrete, how emotion acts in the body, and how unexpressed emotion is stored.

Enter into this discussion Dr Candace Pert. For the past twenty years, Pert has been studying the movement of amino acid chains in the human body. In the process, she is unraveling the mystery of mind-body communication and changing forever the way we understand emotion.

For Pert, pharmacologist and professor at Georgetown University, the mind is not just in the brain - it is also in the body. The vehicle that the mind and body use to communicate with each other is the chemistry of emotion. The chemicals in question are molecules, short chains of amino acids called peptides and receptors, that she believes to be the "biochemical correlate of emotion." The peptides can be found in your brain, but also in your stomach, your muscles, your glands and all your major organs, sending messages back and forth. After decades of research, Pert is finally able to make clear how emotion creates the bridge between mind and body.

Candace Pert lives in the world where emotions make scientific sense. As former Chief of Brain Biochemistry at the NIH for 13 years, she studied the inner workings of the body with an eye towards identifying and locating peptides and receptors. She became convinced these chemicals were the physical manifestation of emotion.

In 1993, Pert appeared on Bill Moyer's landmark TV program Healing and Mind, where she explained her theories of emotion to a national audience. She attracted attention for being that rare scientist who can explain their work to a lay audience with a sense of humor and passion. These days Pert spends substantial amount of time in Rockville, Maryland, as a consultant on the trials of a new drug, Peptide T, that is part of a non-toxic AIDS therapy. She takes some time from her research and teaching schedule to lecture internationally on the issues of neuropeptides and mind-body communications.

This is an extract Lynn Grodzki's interview with Candace Pert, Ph.D which can be read in its entirety and other articles about methods of emotive psychotherapy
at Candace Pert's book 'Molecules of Emotion' is published by Pocket Books and costs £8.99. ISBN 0-671-03397-2

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