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The outer me and the inner me

This is the topic of a new book The Two of Me: The Rational Outer Me and the Emotional Inner Me, published (Brunner-Routledge) in 2003. The idea of an inner and an outer me developed out of relating theory . It became necessary to consider that what I call the relating objectives must originate from, and be monitored by, part of the brain. That part of the brain I first called the subcortex but later called the inner brain. My first account of the inner brain/outer brain distinction was in the Across-Species Comparisons and Psychopathology (ASCAP) Newsletter (Birtchnell, 1999a). A fuller account occurred in Chapter 2 of my earlier book Relating in Psychotherapy (Birtchnell, 1999b 2002). It contrasts the slow, deliberate and conscious, outer brain with the fast, automatic and unconscious, inner brain, arguing that the inner brain is the source of the objectives, and that it generates the emotions that keep us on course in our attainment of these objectives. In 2002 the terms outer brain and inner brain were changed to outer me and inner me to avoid the reader concluding that they are places in the brain. The outer me functions independently of the inner me, and to an extent, it observes it and monitors the inner me's impulses and responses. It comes to be aware of the inner me's objectives and, by the process of rational thought, it develops new and original ways of attaining them. The book develops these principles across a range of mental activities. It also applies them to religion, the arts and humour.


Part 1. The outer me/inner me dichotomy

01. The birth of an idea,  02. The outer me,  03. The inner me

Part 2. Other conscious/unconscious distinctions

04. Psychodynamic distinctions,  05. Cognitive distinctions

Part 3. The Human objectives

06. Survival,  07. Reproduction,  08. Relating

Part 4. The Receptive and Responsive Me

09. Sensory input,  10. Emotion,  11. Memory

Part 5. The Active Me

12. Motor action,  13. Communication and language,  14. Mental activity

Part 6. The Complex Me

15. Deception and self-deception,  16. Delusions and hallucinations,  17. Dreams

Part 7. The Social Me

18. The arts,  19. Humour,  20. Religion


Birtchnell, J. (1999) The inner me and the outer me. Across-Species Contrast Comparisons and Psychopathology (ASCAP) Newsletter, 12, (1), 11-17.

Birtchnell, J. (1999) Relating in Psychotherapy: The Application of a New Theory. Westport, Con.: Praeger. Paperback version (Brunner-Routledge) 2002.