The Art of Listening podcast

It’s All Feelings: Investigating Consciousness from the Brainstem to the Psyche, with Mark Solms

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We often think of our conscious experience as one driven by language. Our thoughts are shaped by words; our emotions processed in conversation. Yet, while language is a sharp tool for expression, the level of detail and nuance it affords us can also get us lost. And like many other animals, we communicate our needs before we’re able to speak. So what if consciousness, the quality of being us in the privacy of our mind, was in fact something else?

My guest today has spent 40 years investigating what it means to be at once a brain, a mind and a psyche. And he has done away with complexity to conclude: “it’s all feelings”. 

Mark Solms is a renowned neuropsychologist, psychoanalyst, and researcher who has bridged the gap between two traditionally opposed disciplines: neuroscience and psychoanalysis. A pioneer in his field, and a true inspiration for many practitioners on both sides of the divide, Mark has shown that cognitive and analytical work are two sides of a coin, and that they have much to learn from each other.  

In this episode of the Art of Listening, we let Mark Solms lead the way, to unpack his life's work. Drawing from difficult childhood experience, Mark reflects on what seeded his existential questions and led him to investigate the inner workings of the brain. Together, we get to grips with what constitutes a conscious experience, we question the legacy of Freud’s findings, and we tap into the power of Neuropsychoanalysis to enhance how we listen. 

Join us for a fascinating conversation with Mark Solms, and reconcile the study of the subject with the study of the object; of the brain, with the psyche. 


1 - The accident that changed Mark’s childhood 

2 - First forays into neuroscience: daring to leave the beaten path

3 - “Neuropsychotherapy” or how a new discipline is born

4 - How cognitive and analytic approaches can benefit each other
5 - Consciousness and language beyond verbal communication 


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