Psychology, Emotion and Intuition in Work Relationships : The Head, Heart and Gut Professional book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781138302747
Published March 1, 2018 by Routledge
260 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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




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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