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Courses

The Somatics of Intuition: The Art & Science of Flashes, Hunches, and Gut Feelings

  • By Terry Marks-Tarlow
  • Mondays, June 21, 28, July 12, 19, 4 - 6 pm ET

About the Course

Intuition is our inborn capacity for rapid and embodied response, permitting automatic and rapid reactions within an uncertain and unpredictable world. Intuition is the body’s flower of compassion and creativity, offering a set of embodied capacities that lies at the heart of our uniqueness, spontaneity, and capacity for connection. How intuition manifests differs from person to person, depending upon genetics, personality, upbringing, and culture. Although each one of us continually uses intuitive faculties to navigate our physical, social, and spiritual worlds, the topic is all too rarely discussed. This course examines intuition from multiple angles—its evolutionary origins, neurobiological roots, expression in the body, individual differences, utility and shadow sides. We cover intuition’s uses and abuses, its ordinary and extraordinary edges, as well as ideal circumstances for its enhancement.

We explore the nature of intuition and biases against its formal recognition as a critical ingredient of therapeutic and teaching relationships. Major features of intuition are identified: sudden recognition; emergent awareness; holistic, integrative sensibilities; immediate knowledge; and nonverbal insight. We examine the primacy of the body within action-perception cycles as foundational to the neurobiology of flashes, hunches, and gut feelings. We identify two internal systems of information processing. Intuition has unconscious origins and bottom-up processing, while deliberation has conscious origins and top-down processing. Within daily life, the challenges of parenting or help-giving roles, both capacities are necessary, as we shuttle back and forth between them.
This module highlights the importance of an evolutionary perspective and developmental eye when considering the multifaceted role of intuition within humans among other animals. We explore the three layers of the brain: reptilian, mammalian, and neocortical. We contrast the closed neural circuitry of reptiles with the open neural circuitry of mammals. We explore the seven emotional/motivational circuits all mammals share in common, and highlight the importance of the SEEKING, CARE & PLAY circuits to intuitive processes. We home in on evolutionary changes within the hippocampus, our brain’s source of memory and learning. While its primary role is navigation through physical spaces within rats and other mammals, within humans it enables navigation through social spaces. We examine how free play during childhood may be a critical ingredient to become grounded and oriented in adulthood in order to move through the world from an ‘inside out’ feel.
Given that the PLAY circuit enjoys a central role within the human brains’ open wiring, this module examines how play implicitly underlies attuned response in parenting, friendships, teaching roles, and help-giving inside all fields. Within open-ended, growth-oriented psychotherapy, we explore the importance of embodied metaphors at the heart of psychological issues. We examine the role of creativity within therapist and patient alike, and how core metaphors—whether emerging from therapist or client— often illustrate the problem as well as the solution simultaneously. We explore yoga as a source of embodied metaphors offering key concepts for growth and healing applicable to all clinicians, whether somatically oriented or not. We explore important features of the creative practitioner, including authenticity, spontaneity, and full presence.
This module outlines varieties of intuition. We highlight more ordinary, everyday, and local forms that depend upon the physical, embodied presence of another person in contrast with intuition’s more extraordinary, rare, and ‘nonlocal’ forms that operate across vast expanses of time or space. Participants identify their own unique style and combination of registering flashes, hunches and gut feelings. We will share our own clinical war stories about moments of ordinary and extraordinary knowing. We contrast the benefits of intuition with its dangers, identifying warning signs of intuition’s misuse and common abuses. We conclude the course by identifying wisdom as the full flower of intuition within a fully integrated and balanced life that enjoys the privilege of coming to full fruition with maturity.

Students who take this course will:

  • Understand common biases against recognizing the centrality of intuition within teaching and clinical practices and how the lens of interpersonal neurobiology helps to resolve them.
  • Contrast two main systems of information learning and memory within the human mind/brain/body: unconscious intuition versus conscious deliberation. 
  • Identify seven emotion/motivational circuits common to all mammals in order to highlight the SEEKING, PLAY, and CARE circuits critical to the operation of intuition. 
  • Examine the importance of spontaneity and a playful attitude for empathic and attuned responses, whether in the role of teacher or clinician. 
  • Learn to identify embodied metaphors at the heart of healing interventions.
  • Describe the various subtypes of intuition helping to identify the unique blend that characterizes each participant’s own style. 
  • Analyze when intuition is appropriate and useful and when it is not, including warning signs that commonly lead practitioners astray.

About Terry Marks-Tarlow

Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Santa Monica, California. She is adjunct professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute; California Institute of Integral Studies; and visiting professor at Italian Universita Niccolo Cusano, London. Terry conducts workshops and trainings nationally and internationally in clinical intuition, creativity, interpersonal neurobiology and nonlinear science. She is a prolific author and editor, including Mythic Imagination Today (Brill, 2021) and A Fractal Epistemology for a Scientific Psychology (Cambridge Scholars, 2020). She illustrates her own books, co-curates a yearly psychotherapist art exhibition, “Mirrors of the Mind: The Psychotherapist as Artist”, and attempts to maintain balance in life with piano, ballet, and yoga.

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  • Access to this course, plus…
    Includes live session access when the course is live, then access to on-demand recordings available 24 hours after the live session.
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.