From a pioneer in the field of mental health comes a groundbreaking book on the healing power of "mindsight," the potent skill that allows you to make positive changes in your brain–and in your life.
Foreword by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
• 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. 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.
Siegel (Parenting from the Inside Out) combines Western neuroscience with Eastern meditation in an exciting exploration of how a troubled mind can right itself. Drawing on current science and case studies, Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine, reinforces "the idea that the power of reflection allows us to approach, rather than withdraw, from whatever life brings us." And learning to stay with a feeling, even a threatening one, is the beginning of discovering that this emotion is just "a set of neural firings in our brain." There is enormous pain in the clinical cases: 31-year-old Allison's back pain conceals a painful memory; 12-year-old Sandy is stuck in a panic expressed in obsessive-compulsive behavior. But there is also enormous hope that therapy, sometimes even without medication, can guide a patient through life. Siegel's method isn't a quick fix and doesn't sugarcoat reality: The mindful traits of serenity, courage and wisdom involve accepting our place in the order of things." He challenges his patients to a life of tough work and convincingly suggests it will be well worth the effort.