Female and male brains
by Serge Ginger
Now, I introduce myself:
I’M Secretary general of the French Umbrella for Psychotherapy
(FFdP) and Registrar of theEAP;I’ve worked, during some years, as UNESCO expert in the field of Special Education;I’m a Gestalt Therapist and President of the International Federation of Gestalt TrainingOrganizations
(FORGE)and I’m personally interested, since about 20 years, in the neuroscience research.
I’ve been asked to say some words about Female and male Brains
and I’ll try to explain whythe female psychotherapists are better than the male ones, as Cornelia already said!
Two lectures at the same time
Well! So, you’re lucky this afternoon: you’ll have two lecture
s in a short time, both lecture atthe same time!
In fact, I already began: right now, men and women haven’t heard the same things:
Hearing with both hemispheres
For instance, in average of course (with many individual variations) women hear me twice asloud
(2,3 more loud) as men. So, they hear me shouting (and they think I’m angry) while menhave the feeling I’m speaking in a confidential manner, with some kind of complicity…
The women hear me with both their hemispheres
(left brain and right brain), while men listento me with mostly their left brain — verbal, logic and… with criticism. Women have morelinks between the two hemispheres and my speech is colored with emotions, perceivedsubjectively through their wishes and their fears, through their ethical or social values (likefeminism!). They hear what
I’m saying, but mostly how
: sensitive to the tune of my voice, tothe rhythm of my breath…
Two different species
To speak frankly, we belong to two different “species”.
In our times, we just finish thedeciphering of the human genome
and you perhaps know that it’s proofed that humans andmonkeys have about the same genetic inheritance: common at a rate of 98,4 % — whichmeans only 1,6 % of differences
between men and monkeys (male monkeys), while there is 5% difference between men and women! So, a human male is physiologically more near to amonkey than to a woman!… And, of course, woman is near to a female monkey!
Of course, such provocative and quantitative
calculations neglect the qualitative
aspect: forinstance, the genes which contribute to development of language, art, philosophy, etc. butthey underline the big gap between genders
— within all animal species, including humanspecies. This gender identity
is different from sexual identity.
Usually, I teach to my students the impact of Brain functioning on psychotherapy
, during afour days
workshop (with some demonstrations), but to day, I’ve only some minutes tomention it rapidly.
Right brain is masculine
All researchers of all countries agree now to consider that :• the left brain
is more developed among women ;
• the right brain
, more developed among men
— contrary to what is often said by generalpublic! It’s under the influence of sexual hormones and neurotransmitters (testosterone
So, the woman is more involved in verbal sharing
, and the man is more prepared for anaction
. Already, in the kindergarten, during 50 minutes of a class, small girls talk during 15
minutes and boys, only 4 minutes (four times less). Boys are rowdy 5 minutes, they fight 10
times more often than the girls : 30 seconds, in average. When they are 9 years old, girls are
18 months ahead.
When they are adults, women talk in average 20 minutes at each phone call, while men speak
only 6 minutes, just to give an information. The woman needs to share her ideas, feelings,
emotions, while the man withdraw and control his emotions and try to find a solution. He
interrupts his wife to propose a solution… and the wife don’t feel to be listened to. In fact,
men are more emotional than women, but they don’t express their emotions.
Plan of the continuation
• Sight: more developed among men• Hearing: more developed among women• Olfaction (smell): much more developed among women• VNO (Vomero Nasal Organ): chemical organ (pheromones)• Orientation: much more developed among men
Troubles and diseases
• Women: depression, phobias, anorexia, bulimia, …• Men: delinquency, enuresis, …
Explanation by the Theory of Evolution (hypothesis)
• Man > hunting and war• Woman > Education of the children
Nature and nurture
Importance of the first months of pregnancy
Studies on twins (2/3 of heredity, 1/3 of freedom)
Impact of Testosterone (male hormone)
• Speed• Aggression, competition • Endurance, tenacity• Healing of wounds• Vision (far away)• Right side of the body (and fingerprints)• Throwing with precision• Orientation• Attraction by a young female (able to give birth)
Influence of Estrogens (female hormone)
• Dexterity, separate movements of fingers• Hearing, larger range of sounds, music, sing in tune 6 times more often,• Smell (100 times stronger)• Nomination of colors• Memory of the localization of things• Attraction by a dominant male, strong, experienced, socially recognized, i.e. older.
A ball on the ground
: boys shoot, girls clasp it to their chest
Some applications on psychotherapy
• listen a woman with patience until she is finished, without trying to solve her problem• encourage the man to speak more and to express his emotions• Underline the importance of sight for men and of hearing for women, especially in eroticpreliminary• The woman needs in average one hour more of sleeping• To make love accelerate healing of wounds• Stimulation helps healing > install patients near a window. No passive retirement (pension)• Body oriented therapies : movement > right brain > limbic brain > emotions > deepengrammation of experince…• Woman needs intimacy to appreciate sexuality Man needs sexuality to appreciate intimacy.
• Necessity to update in permanence our knowledge about neuroscientific research• It’s probably not so indifferent to work with a male or female therapist: it does matter, itmakes the difference!• Our perception of the world is very different… but pleasantly complementary!
• BADINTER Élisabeth. XY, de l’identité masculine
. Odile Jacob, Paris, 92. (318 p.)
• BRACONNIER Alain. Le sexe des emotions.
Odile Jacob, Paris, 96. (212 p.)
• DURDEN-SMITH Jo & DE SIMONE Diane. Sex and the Brain.
Trad. franc. Le sexe et le cerveau,
éd. La Presse, Ottawa, 85. (270 p.)
• GINGER Serge & Anne. La Gestalt, une thérapie du contact
. Hommes & Groupes, Paris 87
• GINGER Serge. La Gestalt, l’art du contact
. Guide de poche Marabout
Bruxelles, 1995. 4e edition : 2000. (290 p.)
Trad. franc. Les Hommes viennent de Mars, les femmes viennent de Vénus.
J’ai lu poche.
• JANOV Arthur. The Biology of Love
. Prometheus Books. New York, 2000
Trad. franc. La Biologie de l’amour.
éd. du Rocher, 2001. (378 p.)
• KIMURA Doreen. Sex and Cognition.
MIT Press,, Cambridge, Massachusets, 1999.
Trad. franc. Cerveau d’homme, cerveau de femme ?
Odile Jacob, Paris, 96. (250 p.)
• LE VAY Simon. The Sexual Brain.
MIT Press,, Cambridge, Massachusets, 1993.
Trad. franc. Le Cerveau a-t-il un sexe ?.
Flammarion, 1994. (236 p.)
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