Interactional and Dynamic Relationships; HHS Region 8


Interactional and Dynamic Relationships - Workshop Wednesday Session

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Session Description

This training examined the interactional nature of relationships and how mirror neurons, the group of brain cells that activate when we see someone doing something, contribute to our interpretation and reactions to intentional and unintentional messages from our shared environment. Some common examples of how mirror neurons work in our daily lives include:


  • Mirror neurons are responsible for yawning when we see someone else yawn.
  • These neurons also act when we see someone sad or crying, and in turn, feel sad. 
  • The same thing happens with smiling or laughing. The way laughter can be contagious.


Debra Brownlee, Ph.D., explored how our human design predisposes us to impact and be impacted by others and how we understand and misunderstand the actions of others. As we move closer to post-pandemic life, achieving a better understanding of the messages we send and receive from our environment can help us to support one another more fully.


After attending this session, participants can expect to:


  1. Understand what mirror neurons are and how they influence our shared environments, particularly our relationships. 
  2. Recognize how the signals we may be sending can result in unintentional misunderstandings in our work and personal relationships.
  3. Learn strategies designed to support ourselves and others as we transition into post-pandemic life.  



Debra Brownlee, PhD

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