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Michels, R. (1987). Mind, Brain, Body. Toward a Convergence of Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology: By Morton F. Reiser, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1984. 228 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:532-536.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:532-536

Mind, Brain, Body. Toward a Convergence of Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology: By Morton F. Reiser, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1984. 228 pp.

Review by:
Robert Michels

The relationship of mind, brain, and body is one of the endless problems that have occupied human thought since the beginnings of self-awareness. Of course, as in most endless problems, the formulation of appropriate questions may present greater difficulties than discovering the answers to those questions. Further, habits of thought and language may create difficulties that reflect strategies of problem solving rather than the complexities or obscurities of the natural world. Both of these difficulties, those caused by unanswerable questions and those caused by habits of thought, have been part of the history of the dialogue about mind, brain, and body.

In spite of this, much has been learned, and the dialogue has progressed. Psychoanalysis, the neurosciences, and clinical psychiatry and psychosomatics have all been important contributors, and each has enriched our understanding. However, in spite of some fascinating attempts at cross-fertilization, to date these disciplines have had surprisingly little to say to each other. It is not clear whether this reflects something inherent in the subject matter, and therefore suggests caution lest we impose a forced integration that will only lead to hybrid sterility, or whether it reflects the prematurity of earlier efforts, including Freud's famous failed endeavor in Project for a Scientific Psychology. Perhaps we can now consider the exciting possibility that recent advances in neurobiology mean that the time is ripe for such integration.

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