Affect, Empathy and Connection
This event will illuminate why we humans behave as we do, and how we change. Drawing on the powerful affect and script theory of Silvan Tomkins, we’ll explore the biology and biography of emotion. Innate emotion programs (affects) feel good or bad and bring things to our attention. Affect motivates everything. Affects combine with life experience and cognition to form scripts—powerful, unconscious emotional rules. We’ll look at affect expression, contagion, empathy, connection and community.
How we manage our affects, especially shame, has enormous significance for society. We’ll see how restorative processes allow optimal human functioning by making safe spaces for healing, connection and “re-scripting.” Understanding emotion will help us better nurture and heal our children, our communities and ourselves.
Through interactive presentations, reflection, stories, video and group exercises, participants will:
- Learn about the innate affects and how they motivate us.
- Learn the language of emotion, including affect intensity, modulation, empathy and personality development.
- Explore our experiences of shame-humiliation including insult, rejection, failure and embarrassment, and our attempts to manage it (Nathanson’s Compass of Shame). We’ll note the dangerous cultural shift toward attack-other and avoidance shame behavior, with increasing violence and substance use. We’ll also define healthy ways to cope with shame.
- Examine what motivates and connects us in our relationships and work.
- Understand how parenting molds affect expression, worldview and attitudes across areas as diverse as politics, religion and science (Tomkins’s concept of polarity).
This is a highly personalized experience in which you will hone your own abilities to:
- Pay attention to facial affect and look for the many biological and biographical factors that underlie affect.
- Identify shame scripts in relationships and restorative situations and respond empathically.
- Privately examine your own experiences of shame and endeavor to handle them in healthy ways.
- Examine your own patterns of affect modulation with regard to restorative principles and their impact on relationships.
Susan Leigh Deppe, M.D., is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, College of Medicine, and is on the Board of Directors and the Faculty of the Tomkins Institute in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. In private adult psychiatric practice, she also offers training and consultation. Long involved in legislation and patient advocacy, she has taught in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She applies Tomkins’s work to psychotherapies, mood and anxiety disorders, spirituality, emotional development, restorative practices and ideology and political behavior.
The event will be held at the IIRP Campus, 544 Main St., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018 USA.
Book your room at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main St., Bethlehem, PA 18018. Ask for the IIRP rate.
IIRP Graduate School
531 Main St.
PO Box 229
(610) 807-9221 | Email