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The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
by Louis Cozolino
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 30.00

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dissolving the boundaries between the art and science of therapy., 26 April 2011
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.

The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers
The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers
by Nancy Sherman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Sherman looks at the real cost of waging war, 21 Mar 2011
Writing from the point of view of almost an "embedded psychologist", Nancy Sherman gives us a direct and honest account of the psychological effects of participating in armed conflict, drawing on the close relationships she has built up with the US military at all levels through her teaching and research work with them. It becomes clear that much of the emotional energy for the enterprise comes from her own experience with family members, especially her father, following their participation in the Second World War.

We learn that war does, in a very real way, do violence to our nature; the US military grew concerned at the low "kill rate" in World War II when many conscripts either failed to fire their weapons in anger or even deliberately missed their targets. Sherman explains how training, backed up by a dose of stoic philosophy, seeks to remodel the minds of recruits, intensifying and channelling their aggressive instincts, while inuring them to the psychological consequences of unleashing them. It gets interesting when we see how this enterprise fails; particularly how the self-protective mechanisms cease to work, especially when soldiers return to civilian life. Sherman does not pull her punches when she describes how the military psychiatric amd medical services can compound the anguish of some of their veterans who suffer from terrible wounds which are no less real for being invisible.

This is not a work of science. It utilises the well-proven device of starting with personal anecdotes and building comment from there. So it is rather like reading a piece by a journalist or a magazine column. This makes it entertaining to read - despite the subject matter - and easy to assimilate. I started by saying that Sherman seems "embedded" with the armed forces. She clearly supports her "warriors", knows many of them personally and likes them. She seems part of the "military community". Therefore fundamental questions are not asked: is the profession of arms essentially destructive to those who enter it, especially those who experience war? What of the wider social and psychological questions about what sort of person joins the US military, from what sort of background and what is their level of psychological maturity and stability even before they go to war?

Despite these reservations Sherman's book should be read, particularly today and particularly by politicians and journalists who lobby for military interventions around the world but have never themselves experienced the life-changing consequences of going to war - even when you manage to home again.

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