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Tye, S. (2009). The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. By Daniel J. Siegel. New York: Norton, 2007, 387 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(4):706-708.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(4):706-708

The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. By Daniel J. Siegel. New York: Norton, 2007, 387 pp.

Review by:
Susan Tye, L.C.S.W.

“Mindfulness has influenced a wide range of approaches to psychotherapy with new research revealing significant improvements in various disorders with reduction in symptoms and prevention of relapse” (p. 18). Claims of effectiveness include chronic depression, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Previously it has been used successfully in medicine to treat chronic pain and improve immune function. At times referring to mindfulness meditation or mindful awareness, Daniel J. Siegel brings his training as an attachment researcher and a psychiatrist, and his publications on parenting and interpersonal neurobiology, to an exploration of the current states among these fields.

From attachment: Interpersonal attunement between parent and child leads to secure attachment as the mind internalizes the capacity for reflective function and mentalizing, and consequently affects regulation. From neurobiology: The experience of particular forms of attention to mental process can alter brain structure and thus function by the activation of neuronal patterns in the cerebral cortex, their growth, and integration with various other regions of the brain, including those more directly involved in emotion and the stress response system. From the field of mindfulness: Trainable/learnable skills of attention and reflection can reduce stress and suffering and improve a sense of well-being. Studies attempting to identify and measure essential components and their efficacy appear to overlap with outcome findings from attachment research and are associated with established functions of the prefrontal cortex.

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