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First Published Thursday, 4 December 2008

He took me to places I'd never been ... he stood in my shoes ...

By BENEDICT CAREY


From the outside, psychotherapy can look like an exercise in self-absorption. In fact, though, therapists often work to pull people out of themselves: to see their behavior from the perspective of a loved one, for example, or to observe their own thinking habits from a neutral distance.


Marriage counselors have couples role-play, each one taking the other spouse’s part. Psychologists have rapists and other criminals describe their crime from the point of view of the victim. Like novelists or moviemakers, their purpose is to transport people, mentally, into the mind of another.


Now, neuroscientists have shown that they can make this experience physical, creating a “body swapping” illusion that could have a profound effect on a range of therapeutic techniques.


More…
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company



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