Interprofessional Collaboration: Consilience, Complexity and Integration

Guest Post by Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Biologist E.O. Wilson, in his book Consilience(1998), defines consilience as "Literally a 'jumping together' of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation." (p7). 

Building a consilient community, driven by curiosity and collaboration, allows us to share a diverse approaches and areas of expertise so that each of us can see beyond our own lenses, and synthesize knowledge from many ways of knowing and healing.

Complexity theory provides an interesting way to think about consilience and the purpose of an interprofessional community.  The word complexity combines the Latin roots com,meaning “together”, and plex,meaning “woven”; complexity means “woven together”. In order to thrive, a complex system must become integrated. As Dr. Dan Siegel explains, integration requires both specialized differentiation, and functional linkage, or in other words, it honors differences and promotes connection. As a system moves toward complexity, or as it becomes woven together, where both differentiation and linkage are present, it becomes more integrated, which allows it to be more flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable.  

Complexity and integration allow a system to emerge into something greater than the sum of its parts.  As we learn from each other, build connections and collaborate, we become professionals who see more, know more, and become better at helping our clients and patients whose individual systems become more flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized and stable.  

We look forward to learning from you and with you as we weave together knowledge to help create health in our clients and in our community.

Dr. Tina Payne Bryson is the co-author (with Dan Siegel) of THE YES BRAIN (Random House Bantam January 2018) and the upcoming The Power of Showing Up, as well as two New York Times bestsellers: THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD (Random House Delacorte 2011) and NO-DRAMA DISCIPLINE (Random House Bantam 2014), each of which has been translated into over thirty languages. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Connection, a  multidisciplinary  clinical practice, and of The Play Strong Institute, a center  devoted to the study, research, and practice of play therapy through a neurodevelopmental lens. She keynotes conferences and conducts workshops for parents, educators, and clinicians all over the world.  The most important part of her bio, she says, is that she is a mom to her three boys. You can learn more about Dr. Bryson at, where you can subscribe to her blog and read her articles about children and parenting.