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Int J Group Psychother. 2010 Oct;60(4):486-513. doi: 10.1521/ijgp.2010.60.4.486.

Mirror neurons: their implications for group psychotherapy.

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Private Practice, 735 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147-2838, USA.


Recently discovered mirror neurons in the motor cortex of the brain register the actions and intentions of both the organism and others in the environment. As such, they may play a significant role in social behavior and groups. This paper considers the potential implications of mirror neurons and related neural networks for group therapists, proposing that mirror neurons and mirror systems provide "hard-wired" support for the group therapist's belief in the centrality of relationships in the treatment process and exploring their value in accounting for group-as-a-whole phenomena. Mirror neurons further confirm the holistic, social nature of perception, action, and intention as distinct from a stimulus-response behaviorism. The implications of mirror neurons and mirroring processes for the group therapist role, interventions, and training are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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