Culture can be understood as the social environment in which a person lives. Culture is the context in which energy and information is shared through patterns of interaction, rituals of behaviour, symbols and structures of the environment. Culture itself is a relational process that directly shapes our minds and our relationships. The mind develops within the context of the different systems that make up the larger system of society, like schools, family, workplace, community.

The mind can be said to develop across time in a succession of present moments. Society functions through the sharing of energy and information. Through the media, symbolic elements are shared and meaning is created. Culture is the ‘relational matrix’ in which the mind emerges. The mind is not separate from the body, nor the relationships which surround us.

Cultures evolves over time. In this evolution it is a major force in shaping how the brain develops, surpassing the influence of genetics. We are not simply at the mercy of the force of culture but can consciously influence the evolvement of the cultures in which we are embedded, as we attempt to create a culture that nurtures healthy growth and development.

Given that each of us, through our relationships, influence the development of the mind of those with whom we interact, we have an important responsibility. How we relate to others can help nurture health growth in others if we relate with empathy, kindness and compassion.

Healthy relationships involve the tolerance and honouring of difference between people while linking them together through kind and respectful communication. Integrative communication therefore respects difference, while building connection. This is the allowing of diversity and richness, while promoting commonality. In this process we become a ‘we’ without losing the sense of ‘me’.