Neuronal plasticity: A new paradigm for resilience

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The biological evidence of neural plasticity implies revisiting the notion of determinism, in general as well as in the psychological dimension. Indeed, through the mechanisms of plasticity, experience leaves a trace in the neuronal network. This view could imply a linear and direct relationship between cause and effect. However, as we will discuss in detail in this article, plasticity also entails the re-association of traces introducing a potential for discontinuity, response and change. We will discuss this phenomenon as a new basis for considering resilience and the emergence of singularity. Over several decades we have witnessed an often animated debate between organic and psychic approaches when considering brain-mind relationships. The mental reality and the biological reality have often been viewed as belonging to domains with opposing logics, separated in their very fundamentals. One should also note a recent tendency based on analogical reasoning in which a complete overlap between the mental reality and biological phenomena is proposed without any differentiation thus rendering any validation impossible. We propose a different approach which consists in considering that even though the biological and mental aspects are without common measure, there exist potential intersections between them. The principles of neuroscience and those of clinical practice, in the particular from the psychoanalytical angle, can meet in our view around a series of critical questions such as that of neuronal plasticity (Ansermet and Magistretti 2007). Through the mechanisms of neuronal plasticity, experience leaves a trace in the neuronal network. Through these mechanisms the subject is an actor in its becoming, leaving room for the emergence of the individual response including one of resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-479
Number of pages5
JournalSchweizer Archiv fur Neurologie und Psychiatrie
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Resilience
  • Trace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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