The New Science of Personal Transformation
Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553804706, 314pp.
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
From a pioneer in the field of mental health comes a groundbreaking book on the healing power of "mindsight," the potent skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. Mindsight allows you to make positive changes in your brain–and in your life.
• Is there a memory that torments you, or an irrational fear you can' t shake?
• Do you sometimes become unreasonably angry or upset and find it hard to calm down?
• Do you ever wonder why you can't stop behaving the way you do, no matter how hard you try?
• Are you and your child (or parent, partner, or boss) locked in a seemingly inevitable pattern of conflict?
What if you could escape traps like these and live a fuller, richer, happier life? This isn't mere speculation but the result of twenty-five years of careful hands-on clinical work by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. A Harvard-trained physician, Dr. Siegel is one of the revolutionary global innovators in the integration of brain science into the practice of psychotherapy. Using case histories from his practice, he shows how, by following the proper steps, nearly everyone can learn how to focus their attention on the internal world of the mind in a way that will literally change the wiring and architecture of their brain.
Through his synthesis of a broad range of scientific research with applications to everyday life, Dr. Siegel has developed novel approaches that have helped hundreds of patients heal themselves from painful events in the past and liberate themselves from obstacles blocking their happiness in the present. And now he has written the first book that will help all of us understand the potential we have to create our own lives. Showing us mindsight in action, Dr. Siegel describes
• a sixteen-year-old boy with bipolar disorder who uses meditation and other techniques instead of drugs to calm the emotional storms that made him suicidal
• a woman paralyzed by anxiety, who uses mindsight to discover, in an unconscious memory of a childhood accident, the source of her dread
• a physician–the author himself–who pays attention to his intuition, which he experiences as a "vague, uneasy feeling in my belly, a gnawing restlessness in my heart and my gut," and tracks down a patient who could have gone deaf because of an inaccurately written prescription for an ear infection
• a twelve-year-old girl with OCD who learns a meditation that is "like watching myself from outside myself" and, using a form of internal dialogue, is able to stop the compulsive behaviors that have been tormenting her
These and many other extraordinary stories illustrate how mindsight can help us master our emotions, heal our relationships, and reach our fullest potential.
A book as inspiring as it is informative, as practical as it is profound, Mindsight offers exciting new proof that we aren't hardwired to behave in certain ways, but instead have the ability to harness the power of our minds to resculpt the neural pathways of our brains in ways that will be life-transforming.
"Integrating ancient contemplative practice with contemporary neuroscience and psychotherapy, Dan Siegel removes the veil on the mysteries of the interface between mind, brain and relationships with novel and profound descriptions of how we become who we are, what makes things go wrong and how all of us can achieve optimal well being by using our capacity for attention to change the very structure and function of our brains. Weaving the narrative of his own life, his intellectual and clinical journey and the experiences of his clients through his explanation of deep clinical theory and sophisticated practice, he has written a book that reads like a mystery novel."—Harville Hendrix, Ph. D., author of Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples
"Mindsight is a rare book. Rooted in groundbreaking scientific research and searching professional practice, it is also a deeply compassionate and human account of what it is to be human. Mindsight has powerful lessons for doctors, parents and educators, and for all of us who are trying to make sense of how we make sense of things."—Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
"This exciting book reveals the secrets of the mind that we have sought in Eastern and Western thought for 2000 years. How do we see the mind and learn to tame it for a happier and healthier life? Filled with engaging stories, Mindsight uses cutting edge science and deep humanity to address the questions that we all have about the mystery in our skull." –Natalie Goldberg, author of Old Friend from Far Away and Writing Down the Bones
"In this brilliant and highly readable book, Dan Siegel combines his prodigious knowledge of brain science, clinical psychology and mindfulness with his immense capacity for original thinking to develop a new and useful concept—mindsight. An intrepid navigator of the vast sea inside us all, he maps the territory and offers amazing insights into how to benefit from the journey. His work will forever change the way we understand ourselves and our relationships."—Dr. Mary Pipher, author of Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
"In his new, graceful, wise, creative, utterly approachable book, Mindsight, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel integrates two of the most important discoveries of our time: the cutting-edge research into the brain functions relevant to understanding our emotions, and the discovery that our brains are plastic and can grow and change through properly guided mental activity. Through beautiful and often remarkable case histories, he shows us the principles we can use to better understand ourselves and, more often than we might imagine, change our minds, brains, relationships, some lifelong character traits, and even the course of some important mental illnesses."—Norman Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain That Changes Itself
"An extraordinary and practical wedding of neuroscience and spiritual wisdom. Accessible and visionary, Mindsight is bound to be a classic." –Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart
"Mindsight is a literary MRI: a mind-blowing book that will change the way you think about the way you think."—Arianna Huffington
"Dr. Daniel Siegel is one of the most thoughtful, eloquent, scientifically solid and reputable exponents of mind/body/brain integration in the world today."—Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living
"A daring plan of action for a wiser and kinder life."—Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper' s Wife
"Right now, Dan Siegel is creating a stir among therapists unmatched by any other in the field. Mindsight offers a fascinating synthesis of his innovative ideas about the implications of the new brain science for understanding relationships and the processes of human change."—Richard Simon, Ph.D., editor, Psychotherapy Networker
"Drawing upon and explaining the intricate workings of the brain, Mindsight sets itself apart from other self-help books. Dr. Siegel helps the reader understand how we can change our dysfunctional habits of mind and become more flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable. He helps us see that we can rewire our own brains and become truly integrated, through personal understanding and, most important, through meaningful relationships with others. This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to have a happier, more productive life."—Eugene Beresin, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
"Mindsight is a seminal piece on bringing neuroscience to everyday life, helping us to understand what can go awry in the mind so that, armed with that knowledge, we will be better able to change. The book is a wonderful journey from the mind through the brain and the body and then back again. Siegel's use of elaborate personal as well as patient stories makes us feel as though we are on a guided tour with a friendly group of fellow travelers." —John J. Ratey, M.D., author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain