Dan Siegel on Integration

Integration feels Connected, Open, Harmonious, Emergent, Receptive, Engaged, Noetic (a sense of knowing), Compassionate, and Empathic
It is the Linkage of Differentiated parts that maximises the complexity of the system.
Optimizing complexity has the feeling and physical reality of harmony.

In maths Integration means addition. Here Integration implies that the parts maintain their differentiated nature and become functionally linked to one another.
Integration is both a process and structural feature. We can see flow of energy and information from differentiated regions becoming linked (a verb like process) and see structural linkages of differentiated regions becoming linked (a noun-like structure). parts within

Integrated relationships stimulate the growth of integration in the brain. Integration in the brain is the basis, so far as we can tell from all existing research, of self-regulation at the heart of well being and resilience.

How we regulate our emotions, thoughts, attention, behaviour and relationships is dependent on integrative fibres of the brain.

Integration in the brain enables the various regions to be coordinated and balanced-to become regulated. In this way neural integration appears to be the basis of self-regulation, and integration in the brain can be shaped by integration in our relationships.


Integration of Consciousness: how we differentiate the knowing from the known of consciousness, then systematically differentiate and link these as we move the focus of our attention on to various elements of the known.

Bilateral Integration; how we differentiate the left from the right hemisphere of the brain. Different modes of processing.

Vertical Integration; How we connect with our bodies, allowing the internal flow of sensations to rise from “below” into our cortically mediated awareness “above”.

Narrative Integration; How we make sense of our lives by weaving the distinct elements of memory of lived life together and then, extract meaning from those reflections.

State Integration; Involves the many states of mind that we each have, those differentiated ways of being that can then be linked to one another to make a continuous yet not homogonous sense of self across time, creating mental coherence within a given state and across many states of mind.

Interpersonal Integration; The way we honour and support each others differences within relationships and then promote linkage through respectful, kind, and compassionate communication.

Temporal Integration; How we address the existential issues of life that our mentally created and cortically mediated sense of time creates: the longing for certainty in the face of uncertainty; the longing for permanence in the face of the reality of transience: and, the longing for immortality in the face of mortality.

Identity Integration or Transpirational Integration. Emerges as we “breathe across” the other eight domains of integration to emerge with a more expanded sense of who we are in our lives and the world. – about the notion that we have a personal interior as well as an interpersonal exterior.


Nine Functions of Integration

Dan Siegel often presented a clinical case ( described in Mindsight: Transform Your Brain with the New Science of Kindness Paperback – 1 Apr 2011) that the midline areas of the top of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, enable nine functions to arise 1) Body Regulation; balancing the body’s brakes & Acceleration 2) Attuned Communication with self & others; focusing attention on internal mental life 3) Emotional Balance; Living with rich inner life & feelings 4) Response Flexibility; being able to pause before reaching. 5)Soothing Fear; Calming fear reactions 6) Insight; connectivity-past, present future with self-understanding. 7) Empathy; mapping inner mental life of another 8) Morality; thinking and behaving as part of a larger whole, broader than bodily self personal bodily self 9) Intuition; awareness of the wisdom of input from the body

At various lectures presented by Dan Siegel around the world, people would comment about this list. ...a leader of the Inuit tribe in Alaska, once said “Do you know that list...that list is exactly what my people have been teaching in the oral tradition for over five thousand years as the basis for living a wise and kind life”

There were similar responses from Lakota tribes in the Midwest, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish religions. (Page 204 Mind- A journey to The Heart of Being Human) Seigel poses the question;

Connecting with The Enneagram
Gurdjieff stated that anything can be mapped on to the enneagram symbol. Given we have these nine functions, that seem to resonate with ancient wisdom's, and the Enneagram is also derived from ancient wisdom's, How would it look to map these nine functions on to the nine points, and correlate them with aspects of the nine higher aspects of the personality styles? See Enneagram Nine Functions of Integrations


"Whether in our internal, personal mental lives of our mindscape or in the mindsphere that connects us to one another, integration could possibly be one of our central reasons or 'purposes' for being." Daniel J. Siegel

"Could Integration be the basis not only of health, but also of the worlds wisdom traditions?"