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Whitehead, C.C. (2006). The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building and Rebuilding the Human Brain, By Louis J. Cozolino, Norton, New York, 2002, 377 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 34(2):402-404.

(2006). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 34(2):402-404

The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building and Rebuilding the Human Brain, By Louis J. Cozolino, Norton, New York, 2002, 377 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
Clay C. Whitehead, M.D.

This reviewer's first scan of this ambitious volume brought immediate interest in the topic, and appreciation for a creative and sensitive author. More careful study did not disappoint. Dr. Cozolino has brought us a worthy addition to the recent brilliant attempts to integrate the findings of neuroscience with the field of psychotherapy.

Before considering the book's many contributions, however, I wish to raise a note of caution. We are in a revolutionary period, and, as a result, there will be many surprises and unexpected challenges. Perhaps foremost among these is the mereological fallacy. Dating to Wittgenstein, this argument asserts that the whole may be more that the sum of its parts. Thus, we may imagine a brain without a mind, but we can not imagine a mind without a brain. Stated more technically, the brain is not a logically appropriate subject for psychological predicates. For example, we may speak of a person seeing something, but it is nonsense to say that the occipital lobe sees something.

I would like to note that after many years of nameless intimation, I was finally introduced to the mereological fallacy in Richard Chessick's incisive Book Review in a recent issue of the Academy Forum. The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Bennet and Hacker, 2003) bases much of its impressive analysis on the fallacy, and, alas, there is much there for students of the science of psychotherapy to integrate. The central point is that we must recognize that we can only ascribe psychological properties to the brain metaphorically or metonymically.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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