clients through an emotional bond in order to understand them better. It has been found that people who rank high on scales measuring empathy,such as psychotherapists,also have more active mirror-neuron systems.That's why most seasoned therapists can often“feel”a client's hidden anger,anxiety,or sadness before the client acknowledges it himself.Therapists working with individuals who have had extremely frightening experiences have even been known to develop“vicarious trauma,''in which they exhibit the same emotions and bodily sensations as their clients.While too much empathy may be damaging to therapists, this empathic bond is believed to be psychologically healing for the client.Mirror neurons may help clients understand how their current emotional problems stem from past or ongoing relationships,in which they have“absorbed''the emotions of others.
Mirror neurons can also be triggered by virtualreality.Children
watching violent television programs display increased neural activity in regions of the brain linked to aggression.Correlations in mental activity have also been found among athletes who watch training films or use visualizations of their idealperformance.In a similar vein, the warm,fuzzy feeling we get when looking at a picture of a loved one may be just one more example of mirror neurons at work.
Mirror neurons,in the form of empathy and intuition,are
important tools we rely on to keep up in complex social environments.