Phantoms in the brain


  • Philip D. Carter



<i>interpersonal neurobiology</i>, <i>mirror therapy</i>, <i>mirroring</i>, <i>neurosignature</i>, <i>phantom limbs</i>, <i>psychodrama</i>, <i>social brain</i>, <i>social self</i>, <i>social neuroscience</i>


Use of mirrors with people with phantom limbs reveals that extraordinary and immediate changes in felt experience can occur when an internal schema in the brain is projected out and then perceived as external. This opens up a fascinating new area of work for group psychotherapy given the discovery of the neurologically embedded social self. Examination of a psychodramatic production of an individual’s internally held social self suggests similar mechanisms are in operation for the updating of the social self schema. It appears that the interpersonal field is a primary factor in the formation of the self and that the corresponding neurobiological structures can be further modified with mirroring of the cognitive, affective and relational aspects of the social self. Understanding these mechanisms will enhance the different techniques of interpersonal mirroring that already occur in most group modalities. Progress will be made as we reflect on the results of putting these new insights and ideas into practice.


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How to Cite

Carter, P. D. (2014). Phantoms in the brain. Groupwork, 24(2), 45-59.