Important Books on your Psychotherapeutic Journey (#3)

The Bridge: Connecting the Powers of Linear and Circular Thinking

During a recent Air North ( flight from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon, my attention was drawn to a section of the Yukon: North of Ordinary ( magazine highlighting recent book publications.

For whatever reason, my gaze was transfixed on a 2023 publication by Kim Hudson titled The Bridge: Connecting the Powers of Linear and Circular Thinking ( For a summary review, check out What’s Up Yukon’s post:

A citizen of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and a member of the Crow Clan, Hudson crafts a well-written resource on her concepts regarding linear and circular thinking.

Like psychological concepts expanded upon by Carol Dweck’s writing on Mindsets (Dweck, C. S. [2006]. Mindset the new psychology of Success.) and psychotherapeutic concepts inherent in psychotherapy (i.e., logical vs. emotional thinking), Hudson establishes effective working definitions of her two concepts:

  • Linear thinking is the ability to assert our will, even against resistance. Problematic use of linear processing is characterized by extreme / polarized thinking (i.e., either / or; good / bad; right / wrong; black / white) whereas healthy engagement is evaluated by the application of Hudson’s Goldilocks Test of “not too much, not too little, just right”.
    • Characteristics of linear thinking include three core externally focused operating principles that (1) look for sources of danger, (2) responds to fear with the impulse to push back and overcome obstacles, (3) using either / or filters.
    • Linear thinking focuses on concepts that promote safety, such as budgets, categorization, certainty, competition, control, data reliance, efficiency, excellence, justice, logic, precedence, rules, and scientific methodology.

  • Circular thinking is the ability to accept the radical notion that we can choose which of our many feelings we will give our attention to, thereby causing them to grow (i.e., What Hudson refers to as the Generative Principle: The feelings you give your attention to will grow and be contagious).
    • Characteristics of circular thinking include three core internally focused operating principles that begin with (1) an internal gaze where we become aware of our subjective, heart-felt impulses and gut instincts (connection-based feelings) which results in the desire to pull in (2) more of what is appealing, novel, nutritious, and meaningful so as to (3) foster a “yes-and-both” attitude of saying yes to what comes our way (i.e., connection and expansion).
    • The above three operating principles of circular thinking lead to qualities like authenticity, belonging, collaboration, creativity, curiosity, deep engagement, diversity, happiness, inclusivity, insight, meaningful relationships, open and responsive listening, and resiliency.

Within Hudson’s writing, what she ultimately encourages is the ability to be aware of these two environments from an intrapsychic bridge whereby we can ask ourselves important questions that allow us to identify the circular and linear thinking elements of any given situation (e.g., “Which form of power am I currently using?”) to assess which thinking mode will produce the best outcome.

As Hudson comments, linear and circular thinking produces different outcomes, offer different benefits, and can work well in concert. Knowing we have a choice doubles our power and offers an increased sense of wholeness.

Overall, I recommend this book as an extremely helpful introduction to the influence and impact of logical vs. emotional thinking on one’s intrapsychic and interpersonal relationships. Operating from a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant (WASP) perspective, being aware of linear and circular thinking perspectives in pursuit of establishing and developing my “bridge” was a helpful learning experience from Hudson’s work.

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Born and raised in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Adam gained his designations as an Ontario Registered Psychotherapist and Ontario Registered Social Worker following the completion of his master’s in counselling and psychotherapy at the University of Toronto, OISE Campus, in 2016.

Living and working in downtown Toronto, Adam spends any available time in Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon, while offering in-person / online video / telephone sessions from his Toronto office (Church Wellesley Counselling and Psychotherapy) and online video / telephone sessions when he is away in the Yukon.

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