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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 12/28/2010
  • Publisher: Bantam

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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.

Author Biography

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he is the author of Parenting from the Inside Out and the internationally acclaimed professional texts The Mindful Brain and The Developing Mind. Dr. Siegel keynotes conferences and presents workshops throughout the world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. v
Introduction: Diving into the Sea Insidep. ix
The Path to Well-Being: Mindsight Illuminated
A Broken Brain, a Lost Soul: The Triangle of Well-Beingp. 3
Minding the Brain: The Brain in the Palm of Your Handp. 14
Crepes of Wrath: Mindsight Lost and Foundp. 23
Minding the Brain: Neuroplasticity in a Nutshellp. 38
Leaving the Ether Dome: Where is the Mind?p. 45
Minding the Brain: Riding the Resonance Circuitsp. 59
The Complexity Choir: Discovering the Harmony of Healthp. 64
The Power to Change: Mindsight in Action
A Roller-Coaster Mind: Strengthening the Hub of Awarenessp. 79
Half a Brain in Hiding: Balancing Left and Rightp. 102
Cut Off from the Neck Down: Reconnecting the Mind and the Bodyp. 120
Prisoners of the Past: Memory, Trauma, and Recoveryp. 145
Making Sense of Our Lives: Attachment and the Storytelling Brainp. 166
Our Multiple Selves: Getting in Touch with the Corep. 190
The Neurobiology of "We": Becoming Advocates for One Anotherp. 210
Time and Tides: Confronting Uncertainty and Mortalityp. 232
Epilogue: Widening the Circle: Expanding the Selfp. 255
Acknowledgmentsp. 263
Appendixp. 267
Notesp. 271
Indexp. 301
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One

A Broken Brain, a Lost Soul

The Triangle of Well-Being

Barbara's family might never have come for therapy if seven-year-old Leanne hadn't stopped talking in school. Leanne was Barbara's middle child, between Amy, who was fourteen, and Tommy, who was three. They had all taken it hard when their mother was in a near-fatal car accident. But it wasn't until Barbara returned home from the hospital and rehabilitation center that Leanne became "selectively mute." Now she refused to speak with anyone outside the family-including me.

In our first weekly therapy sessions, we spent our time in silence, playing some games, doing pantomimes with puppets, drawing, and just being together. Leanne wore her dark hair in a single jumbled ponytail, and her sad brown eyes would quickly dart away whenever I looked directly at her. Our sessions felt stuck, her sadness unchanging, the games we played repetitive. But then one day when we were playing catch, the ball rolled to the side of the couch and Leanne discovered my video player and screen. She said nothing, but the sudden alertness of her expression told me her mind had clicked on to something.

The following week Leanne brought in a videotape, walked over to the video machine, and put it into the slot. I turned on the player and her smile lit up the room as we watched her mother gently lift a younger Leanne up into the air, again and again, and then pull her into a huge, enfolding hug, the two of them shaking with laughter from head to toe. Leanne's father, Ben, had captured on film the dance of communication between parent and child that is the hallmark of love: We connect with each other through a give-and-take of signals that link us from the inside out. This is the joy-filled way in which we come to share each other's minds.

Next the pair swirled around on the lawn, kicking the brilliant yellow and burnt-orange leaves of autumn. The mother-daughter duet approached the camera, pursed lips blowing kisses into the lens, and then burst out in laughter. Five-year-old Leanne shouted, "Happy birthday, Daddy!" at the top of her lungs, and you could see the camera shake as her father laughed along with the ladies in his life. In the background Leanne's baby brother, Tommy, was napping in his stroller, snuggled under a blanket and surrounded by plush toys. Leanne's older sister, Amy, was off to the side engrossed in a book.

"That's how my mom used to be when we lived in Boston," Leanne said suddenly, the smile dropping from her face. It was the first time she had spoken directly to me, but it felt more like I was overhearing her talk to herself. Why had Leanne stopped talking?

It had been two years since that birthday celebration, eighteen months since the family moved to Los Angeles, and twelve months since Barbara suffered a severe brain injury in her accident-a head-on collision. Barbara had not been wearing her seat belt that evening as she drove their old Mustang to the local store to get some milk for the kids. When the drunk driver plowed into her, her forehead was forced into the steering wheel. She had been in a coma for weeks following the accident.

After she came out of the coma, Barbara had changed in dramatic ways. On the videotape I saw the warm, connected, and caring person that Barbara had been. But now, Ben told me, she "was just not the same Barbara anymore." Her physical body had come home, but Barbara herself, as they had known her, was gone.

During Leanne's next visit I asked for some time alone with her parents. It was clear that what had been a close relationship between Barbara and Ben was now profoundly stressed and distant. Ben was patient and kind with Barbara and seemed to care for her deeply, but I could sense his despair. Barbara just stared off as we talked, made little eye contact with either of us, and seemed to lack interest in the conversation. The damage to her forehea

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