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The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (Second Edition)  (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)

The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (Second Edition) (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) [Kindle Edition]

Louis Cozolino
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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In his revised edition, Cozolino artfully traverses the gap between clinical practice and the emerging literature in neuroscience. By cleverly juxtaposing clinical examples with brain research, he demystifies psychiatric disorders and places them within an easy-to-understand neuroscience framework. Readers will come away knowing just how and why psychotherapeutic processes have a positive impact on the nervous system. --Stephen W. Porges, PhD, Director, Brain-Body Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago

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How the brain's architecture is related to the problems, passions, and aspirations of human beings.

In contrast to this view, recent theoretical advances in brain imaging have revealed that the brain is an organ continually built and re-built by one's experience. We are now beginning to learn that many forms of psychotherapy, developed in the absence of any scientific understanding of the brain, are supported by neuroscientific findings. In fact, it could be argued that to be an effective psychotherapist these days it is essential to have some basic understanding of neuroscience. Louis Cozolino's The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, Second Edition is the perfect place to start.

In a beautifully written and accessible synthesis, Cozolino illustrates how the brain's architecture is related to the problems, passions, and aspirations of human beings. As the book so elegantly argues, all forms of psychotherapy--from psychoanalysis to behavioral interventions--are successful to the extent to which they enhance change in relevant neural circuits.

Beginning with an overview of the intersecting fields of neuroscience and psychotherapy, this book delves into the brain's inner workings, from basic neuronal building blocks to complex systems of memory, language, and the organization of experience. It continues by explaining the development and organization of the healthy brain and the unhealthy brain. Common problems such as anxiety, trauma, and codependency are discussed from a scientific and clinical perspective. Throughout the book, the science behind the brain's working is applied to day-to-day experience and clinical practice.

Written for psychotherapists and others interested in the relationship between brain and behavior, this book encourages us to consider the brain when attempting to understand human development, mental illness, and psychological health. Fully and thoroughly updated with the many neuroscientific developments that have happened in the eight years since the publication of the first edition, this revision to the bestselling book belongs on the shelf of all practitioners.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book delivers what I want from it: a way to link ideas of psychotherapy, psychology and neuroscience. It starts with an overview of where psychotherapy is now, and the history behind the different modalities, before going on to the legacy of evolution on our brain and neural networks. Other parts explore how a healthy mind experiences the world, an integrated sense of itself and its social environment, as well as what happens when problems arise. When explained simply, neuroscience has much to offer psychotherapists who are seeking to improve their knowledge about why they are taught certain concepts and techniques. It is also well-researched: the references at the back of the hardback edition run to over 70 pages (the 'meat' of the book is just over 350 pages, so that's a fair ratio). It is similar to Brain-based Therapy with Adults: Evidence-based Treatment for Everyday Practice and A User's Guide to the Brain. In-depth reviews of this book can be seen on
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For me this is a land-mark book. Among the many insights to be gained from neuroscience which are presented here, there is much that chimes with the empirical wisdom of all schools of psychotherapy. Cozolino manages to weave together the lessons of experience and observation from his practice with the neuroscience which underpins what is going on in the therapeutic relationship. His book is informative, taking the reader deep into the emerging literature on neuroscience, sometimes moving (in his stories of therapeutic encounters) and always clear and well-written. The thinking is rigorous but the warmth and humanity of the author is also much in evidence and I don't think therapists and trainee therapists (like myself) should be put off by the daunting title. The chapters are well constructed in relatively short, focused sections. Those wishing to follow up with further reading will find 76 pages of references to guide them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative 13 Mar 2012
The second edition is a useful update on a good description of the emerging body of work which seeks to inform psychotherapy with developments from neuroscience. Cozolino's other book on relationships is also well worth consideration. Daniel J. Siegel's work is similar in scope, if sometimes slightly more populist in tone. Both authors are well liked by my undergraduate students in counselling - readable, suffeciently in depth and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying neuroscience. 18 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cozolino writes in a scientific but clear understandable way. This is the second book I have read of his, I hope he writes more. He links modern scientific discovery with previous existing psychology theories in readable manner. Suitable for students of psychology and psychotherapy as well as those with an interest in neuroscience.
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As a therapist, one of my primary goals is to shift my clients’ experience of anxiety from an unconscious trigger for avoidance to a conscious cue for curiosity and exploration. &quote;
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Cortical networks responsible for memory, language, and executive control (in its many forms) become inhibited and underperform during times of overwhelming stress. &quote;
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Psychotherapy can be thought of as a specific type of enriched environment that promotes social and emotional development, neural integration, and processing complexity. The way the brain changes during therapy will depend upon the neural networks involved in the focus of treatment. &quote;
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