Experiencing, Psychopathology, and the Tripartite Mind


The philosopher Eugene Gendlin argues that a distinctive mode of reasoning, called experiencing, is necessary for working through personally salient problems such as are encountered in psychotherapy. We review supporting empirical support. It is now possible to consider Gendlin’s ideas from a neurological perspective. Work directed at understanding the neurological underpinnings of consciousness and self-related processing, as well as comparative neuroanatomical work, are all consistent with and elucidated by Gendlin’s experiencing construct. We argue from this data that the human mind is composed of three interacting systems that are unique to or enhanced in humans compared to other primates. Two are dedicated to “hot and cold” cognition. The most important, least well-studied third system is dedicated to mediating between these forms of cognition. We outline how interactions between these systems define different forms of psychopathology and what they suggest about the structure of the human mind.

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D. Ozier and C. Westbury, "Experiencing, Psychopathology, and the Tripartite Mind," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 252-275. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.32026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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