1st Edition

Psychology, Emotion and Intuition in Work Relationships The Head, Heart and Gut Professional

By Henry Brown, Neil Dawson, Brenda McHugh Copyright 2018
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    Psychology, Emotion and Intuition in Work Relationships: The Head, Heart and Gut Professional highlights the increasing importance of human relations in professional life. In modern society, all those who work with or provide services to others are increasingly called upon to be not just technical experts, but also ‘head, heart and gut professionals’ – who can work and relate to others with their head, heart, and gut.

    The book explains and synthesises these elements in an accessible way, based on a sound theoretical perspective combined with practical guidance. The authors address how to manage client expectations; how to deal with risk, uncertainty and imperfection, as well as how to improve communication and interpersonal skills. Attention is also given to the central role of empathy and rapport in professional relationships, while recognising the need for proper professional boundaries.

    Psychology, Emotion and Intuition in Work Relationships will be a valuable guide for all modern practising and training professionals in a broad range of fields, including mental health, law, social and healthcare, teaching and academia, technology, financial and other services – indeed, for anyone who provides services and has working relationships of any kind.

    Psychology, Emotions and Intuition in Work Relationships: The Head, Heart and Gut Professional

    Contents Plan


    1. On being a professional

    The concept of "professional" in this work

    A more effective professional role and understanding

    The focus on substantive education and training

    Gaining some understanding of the behaviour of others

    Gaining some understanding about ourselves

    What does the public expect from professionals?

    Professional and personal authenticity

    Professional jargon, mystification and patronisation

    Conspiracy against the laity

    The patronising professional

    Client’s reactions and empowerment

    Helping and healing professions

    Defining the helping professions

    Healing professions

    The concept of the wounded healer

    Further reading

    2. Head, heart and gut:

    Head – Brain and mind

    Head, heart and gut in functioning and decision-making

    The brain: central to understanding and functioning

    Basic neuroscience: the brain and nervous system

    Introduction to 100 billion neurons:

    The nervous system

    The human brain: old and new

    The brain’s hemispheres: left and right brain

    Two ways of thinking

    Automatic processing

    Conscious attentive processing


    Some specialist views of the brain

    The mindful brain

    The social brain

    The ethical brain

    The spiritual brain

    The mommy brain

    The "new" brain

    The mind

    Further reading

    3. Head, heart and gut:

    Heart – Emotions

    The heart as metaphor?

    Cultural and biblical heritage

    The heart’s physiological role in relation to the brain and emotions

    Emotions and feelings

    Emotional intelligence

    Kinds of emotions

    The purpose and effect of emotions

    Feelings and consciousness

    Emotions: reality and myths

    The myth of rational decision-making

    The myth that "negative emotions" are bad

    The myth that "venting" an emotion will resolve it

    The myth that women are emotional but men are not

    Further relevance of emotions

    Further reading

    4. Head, heart and gut:

    Gut – Intuition

    Gut as metaphor


    What do we mean by intuition?

    Everyday and expert intuition

    A sixth sense?

    Creative and predictive intuition

    Complementary thinking


    Intuition cautions

    Availability error

    The halo (and devil) effect

    Framing effect

    Fundamental attribution error

    The representativeness heuristic

    The overconfidence effect


    Sunk costs fallacy

    Some other factors and biases affecting intuition

    Further reading

    5. The hidden power of the unconscious

    Don’t mention the war

    Dagwood Bumstead and Basil Fawlty

    Fundamental relevance of the unconscious

    Freud’s unconscious

    Jung’s collective unconscious and "shadow"

    The cognitive approach

    Freudian, Jungian or cognitive? What is this elusive unconscious? Does it even exist?

    Some practical implications

    Making decisions and choices: free will?

    Intuition and "gut feelings"

    Slips of the tongue and other errors

    Body language (non-verbal communication)

    Placebos and nocebos, Pygmalion and Rosenthal

    Powerful and suppressed emotions distort effective functioning

    Unconscious competence

    Higher intuitions and inspiration

    A springboard to other aspects

    Further reading

    6. The amygdala hijack: Triggers and strategies

    The multiple roles of the amygdala

    The amygdala hijack

    Triggering the "amygdala hijack"




    Shame and humiliation

    21st Century multi-tasking

    Rekindling amygdala hijack activators

    Some strategies for dealing with amygdala hijack triggers

    Empathy and compassion

    Move off the topic causing distress

    Support a shift into cognitive brain mode

    Take a break

    Deep breathing


    Some longer-term strategies

    Further reading

    7. Understanding personality

    The uniqueness of personality

    Lord Scrutton’s elephant

    The relevance of personality

    Personality types and traits

    Big Five

    Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

    Contradictions in traits and preferences

    Other personality tests

    Personality disorders and traits

    DSM-5 and other classifications

    Maladaptive personality traits

    Personality development

    Cultural influences on behaviour patterns

    Linear-active and multi-active

    Cultural norms

    Nature or nurture?

    Some practical implications


    Relating to clients, patients, co-workers and others

    Identifying and working with troubled personalities

    The well-rounded professional

    Further reading

    8. Empathy, attunement and professional boundaries

    Empathy: The essence of professional and personal relationships

    Empathy and evolution

    Empathy and sympathy

    Empathy and rapport

    Empathy in a professional context

    Empathy, compassion and humanity

    Empathy and reflective function (mentalisation or "theory of mind")

    "Against empathy"?


    Attunement between parent and child: attachment theory

    Interpersonal adult attunement

    Intrapersonal attunement

    The basic neuroscience of empathy, attunement and attachment

    Mirror neurons

    Other parts of the brain affecting empathy and attunement

    Neural development and attachment


    Professional boundaries

    Boundaried empathy

    Other professional boundaries

    Personal-professional boundaries

    Some final thoughts about boundaries

    Further reading

    9. Professional relationships and expectations

    Expectations of professional relationships

    Expectations about the professional personally

    Expectations about the professional environment

    Expectations about the work to be done

    Managing clients’ expectations

    The power of expectations

    Client centredness (person-centredness)

    Transference and countertransference



    Authority, power, trust and dependence





    Culture and gender



    Further reading

    10. Enhancing professional relationships: Communication and other interpersonal skills

    Essential communication skills

    Active listening

    Observing non-verbal communications


    Helping people to hear




    Avoiding professional jargon and mystification

    Some other interpersonal skills

    Establishing rapport

    Maintaining professional presence and professional energy

    Managing clients’ expressions of emotions

    Understanding the value and use of symbolism and metaphor

    Some communication practicalities

    Terms of engagement

    Some practicalities concerning communications

    Further reading

    11. Balancing professional and systemic tensions

    The essential tension of opposites

    Conflict and change

    Systems and change

    Profession v. Business

    Public professional persona v. private persona

    Tradition v. change: challenging the system

    Systems thinking

    Challenging and changing systems

    The value of tradition

    The downside of tradition

    Recognising and managing concerns about change

    Other competing professional tensions

    Work pressure v. need for self-care and leisure

    Budgetary constraints v. quality of care

    Leadership v. democratic decision-making

    Professional v. personal values

    Further reading

    12. High conflict personalities

    Understanding high conflict personalities

    What is a high conflict personality and how does it manifest?

    Why professionals might need to know about high conflict personalities

    Why do some people have high conflict personalities?

    Attachment disorganisation

    Personality disorder

    Maladaptive personality traits and systemic influence

    Links between attachment, personality traits and disorders, and high conflict

    Cautions and reservations

    Strategies for professionals dealing with high conflict personalities

    Boundaried empathy

    Empathetic objectivity – or reason and compassion

    Structure and records

    Small steps


    Dealing with a client’s "world view"

    Helping with understandings and responses

    Helping decision-making inhibited by strong emotions

    Seeking third party support where appropriate

    High conflict endings

    Further reading

    13. Difficult people

    Raise your hand if you’re a difficult person

    Everyone is crazy except thee and me – and sometimes I’m not too sure about thee

    What do you mean "difficult"?

    Why some people are difficult and some strategies for dealing with them

    Cautionary introduction

    High conflict personalities

    Anger – overt or suppressed

    Non-cooperation and passive aggression

    Power and control – and Machiavellianism


    Ambivalence and indecision

    Intolerance of other views

    It’s the situation, stupid

    Further reading

    14. Uncertainty, risk and imperfection

    Living with uncertainty

    The discomfort of uncertainty

    Black Swans

    Coping with uncertainty

    Superstition: illusory control over uncertainty

    The relationship between uncertainty and risk

    Risk assessment and management

    Risk-benefit analysis

    Appreciating levels of risk and benefit

    Complexity of risk measurement – decision trees

    The considerable significance of subjective judgment

    Prospect Theory

    Risk tolerance and aversion


    Striving for perfection

    Living with imperfection

    When imperfection constitutes professional negligence (malpractice)

    Imperfection and paradox

    Further reading

    15. Negotiation

    Negotiation fundamentals

    To negotiate or not to negotiate – that is the question

    Dealing with non-negotiable values

    "Bargaining with the devil"

    Negotiation approaches

    Interest-based cooperative negotiation

    Competitive negotiation

    Reconciling interest-based and competitive approaches

    Some practical aspects of negotiation

    Preparation, design and set-up

    Zone of (Possible) Agreement and the negotiation dance

    The initial stages: anchoring

    Continuing the negotiations

    Some psychological aspects of negotiation

    Emotions and the myth of rationality


    Personality traits

    Culture and gender in negotiation

    Further reading

    16. Conflict and disputes: management and resolution

    Conflict and dispute outline

    Distinguishing conflict and dispute

    The paradox



    Conflict resolution and management

    Conflict resolution

    Conflict management

    Modes of responding to conflict

    Dispute resolution: primary processes


    Litigation – the court process

    Religious courts

    Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Introduction

    Non-adjudicatory ADR

    Mediation (conciliation)

    The mini-trial (Executive Tribunal)

    Neutral case evaluation (Early neutral evaluation)

    Adjudicatory ADR


    Contractual adjudication

    Dispute Boards

    Expert determination

    Administrative or statutory tribunals

    Hybrid ADR processes

    Med-arb (mediation-arbitration)

    Arb-med (arbitration-mediation)

    Neutral fact-finding expert


    Online dispute resolution (ODR)

    Further reading

    17. Beyond technique

    Beyond technique: the concept

    Self-nurturing and establishing calm




    Purpose and meaning

    Earning a living

    Making a difference

    Having a sense of purpose and meaning

    Expressing our humanity

    Working holistically

    Enhancing expertise and skill

    Maintaining professional identity and self-esteem

    Unconscious competence revisited

    Further reading

    18. Support needs and resources

    Professional backup, teams and networks

    Working in teams

    Professional networks and bodies

    Supervision, consultancy, coaching and mentoring





    Some frailties and problems requiring personal support

    The Achilles Syndrome, self-doubt and the secret fear of failure


    Anxiety and panic



    Other personal issues indicating a need for support

    Relationship issues

    Personality disorders and traits

    Autism and Asperger Syndrome

    Dissatisfaction with life path: Self-actualising and meaning

    Counselling, psychotherapy and complementary therapies

    Counselling and psychotherapy

    Complementary therapies

    Further reading

    19 Transitions and Endings

    Life and work transitions

    Transitions: "Little dying" – endings and new beginnings

    Life and work stages: The Empty Raincoat

    Client and patients endings

    Managing contentious endings

    Preparing for retirement/Third Age

    Financial preparation

    Emotional preparation

    Practical preparation

    Transitions and endings

    Further reading





    Henry Brown, a retired solicitor, mediator and trainer, co-established a law firm in London, Waterloo and subsequently became a partner in a City of London firm. He co-founded and is a Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association and was Director of Mediation of the family lawyers’ organisation Resolution.

    Neil Dawson and Brenda McHugh are consultant systemic psychotherapists, lecturers and mediators. Having worked for over thirty years in child adolescent mental health services they are now programme directors at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families where they have co-founded The Family School, London for children excluded from mainstream schools. They are internationally recognised trainers and have recently created an online training programme for mental health and school-based professionals.

    "I wish that this book had been available nearly 40 years ago when I took my first faltering steps into the solicitor's profession."
    -Law Society Gazette

    "This is a remarkable book written by three experienced mediators."
    -Medico-Legal Journal

    "It is particularly heartening to find that so much wisdom can be imparted in 222 pages..."
    -Family Law

    " Henry Brown's reputation as a mediator is second to none and it is important that leaders like Henry and his co- authors should make their great experience available to all who aspire to excel in any of the many disciplines for which they write. The territory they survey is extensive and they achieve a clear introduction to a large range of subjects and concepts. Their survey will be particularly useful to lawyers and judges, whose training, qualification and practice place such emphasis on intellectual supremacy. Certainly although I have long been convinced of the need to understand the basics of other sciences contributing to family justice I found in reading the chapters in proof how much I did not know."

    -Rt. Hon. Sir Mathew Thorpe is a former Lord Justice of Appeal (England and Wales), Vice-President of the Family Division and the inaugural Head of International Family Law

    "Leadership and management guides too often propose some narrow technique as a new way to workplace success. In this book, however, the authors take exactly the opposite approach, on the basis that work relationships are best handled through a knowledge of how to balance and apply emotions, intellect and intuition, sometimes together, sometimes apart, to work through work problems with colleagues and clients.
    This is a style of leadership different from sectoral skill: it is the professional as rounded human being. I particularly enjoyed the chapter of dealing with difficult people, a skill rarely taught."

    -Ian, Lord Blair of Boughton, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, 2005-2008

    "As a reader you are holding an exceptional book in your hands. I know of no other generic work that addresses the universal challenges that face all professionals and, regardless of specialisation, aims to support them in performing their tasks, to serve their customer/clients in as efficient a manner as may be possible given particular contexts and configurations. Understanding the human attributes and relationships that underpin professionalism and being reminded of and taught about its salient implications, will make all of us more effective and better able to perform our obligations to provide the best possible service we are able to deliver. That is the value of this book."

    -Peter Fonagy, OBE, PhD, Professor of Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science and Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London

    "The theoretical scope of this book is impressive as it seeks to build a comprehensive picture of the nuts and bolts of what we bring to our professional self and what the implications are for the relationships that we
    then form and develop with colleagues and clients (author’s terminology).
    The book calls on professionals to actively seek and use self-knowledge and to consider the experiences of others in their practice in order to maximise the effectiveness of their professional relationships and in turn fulfil their purpose and remit positively and impactfully. "

    -Richard Ingram, Journal of Social Work Practice