Neuroscience Of Human Relationships: Attachment And The Developing Brain Hardcover – Oct 17 2006
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Reading this book has added a whole new dimension to my work and everyday life. Highly recommended. — Therapy Today
Cozolino adds...impressive contributions to the increasingly important field of neurobiology and attachment theory, and how these contribute to human development. — Clinical Social Work
This master teacher makes neuroscience fascinating and accessible….This book is highly recommended to current and future clinicians. — Issues in Mental Health Nursing
The overall scope of the discussion is far-reaching and in many ways provocative, but the argument is persuasive and offers a broad overview of the range and complexity of issues confronting the emerging field of neuropsychoanalysis….[A] wealth of detailed information and a glimpse of what may become a vision of the future. — Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
A very insightful exploration of the basic theories of interpersonal neurobiology. . . . This book makes a very valuable contribution to this much needed knowledge. — The Scientific & Medical Network
An engaging introduction to the application of neuroscience to human behavior. I found it an absolute pleasure. . . . His deft interweaving of case examples with theory and physiology (illuminated by charts and drawings) makes the material easily digestible. — Keeping in Touch: The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy Newsletter
This book provides an excellent and easily understood story about the connections of social child development and neuroscience. This is a "must" for anyone interested in human behavior. — Lonnie Zeltzer, M.D., Director, Pediatric Pain Program, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Captivating and well written...a major contribution to the rapidly emerging field of neuro-psychoanalysis. Everyone practicing or interested in the emerging fields of mind and brain sciences should read it. — Cristina Alberini, Ph.D., Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York
Lou Cozolino has created a comprehensive tour of the social brain, illuminating to both scientists and lay readers. — Lise Elliot, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience, The Chicago Medical School, and author of What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
This book is a pleasure to read. It is richly illustrated with clinical examples and synthesizes knowledge from the neurophysiological and psychological domains with psychological perspectives that will allow both seasoned clinicians and beginning therapists 'to integrate a brain-based understanding of human development, mental health, and mental illness' (p. 307) into their psychodynamic paradigms. The references are excellent. Best of all, the work reflects the author's ebullient spirit. . . . I recommend this book enthusiastically to all my colleagues. Over the past 6 months, I have found myself rereading chapters and enriching my own ability to integrate brain-mind areas that were previously isolated islands of thought. — American Journal of Psychology
About the Author
Louis Cozolino, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and a private practitioner. He is the author of The Healthy Aging Brain, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, and The Making of a Therapist. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
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They often fail to follow insights and findings to their logical conclusions.
As an example, the brain consists of hundreds of systems and circuits each dedicated to specific functions, but most also able to contribute to the overall functioning of the organ and the organism. When the need arises, they can be recruited and pressed into the service of the greater good. These systems and circuits are the fruit of millions of years of evolution, but until recently few people saw them for what they are: individuals that also belong to ever more complex organizational hierarchies. Neurons, glia cells and the other key contributors to the functions of the brain live to communicate and cooperate. Each on its own is a stunted thing. Together they can create the works of Shakespeare, or work out how to go to the moon.
Louis Cozolino is professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, and in this book he pushes the envelop of the idea that brains are social organisms that develop and grow from their interactions with each other and with the material, maternal, familial and social environments. The important point is that the brain is not a static structure. It continues to grow and develop throughout life, and experiences sculpt the physical and functional landscape of our minds and bodies. Not just traumatic or adverse experiences, but also the positive ones. Hence the idea that psychotherapy and meditation may help reverse or re-fashion the maldevelopment and faulty wiring created by events earlier in life.
The basic concept is important. There are still people embroiled in the sterile nature vs. nurture debate. I recently heard some family members of people with a neuropsychiatric problem criticizing research that suggested a role for the environment in the genesis of the disease. They felt that it was a waste of time to look at anything other than the neurology of the illness. Yet the genes expressed in the brain do not determine behavior. Instead they help to condition the ways in which we respond to the environment. One mother was incensed, saying that her son had enjoyed a perfect childhood, so the illness was not her "fault." Chances are that it was nobody's "fault," but a delicate interplay of susceptibility genes with subtle environmental factors.
In Six Parts and 23 chapters, the book gives a very good overview of the roles of genes and the environment on neuroplasticity, neurogenesis and the development of the social and emotional functions of the brain.
Part I: The Emergence of Social Neuroscience Introduction: I-Me-Mine
1: The Social Brain
2: The Evolving Brain
Part II: The Social Brain: Structures and Functions
3: The Developing Brain
4: The Social Brain: A Thumbnail Sketch
5: Social and Emotional Laterality
Part III: Bridging the Social Synapse
6: Experience-Dependent Plasticity
7: Reflexes and Instincts: Jumpstarting Attachment
8: Addicted to Love
9: Implicit Social Memory
10: Ways of Attaching
Part IV: Social Vision: The Language of Faces
11: Linking Gazes
12: Reading Faces
13: Imitation and Mirror Neurons: Monkey See, Monkey Do
14: Resonance, Attunement, and Empathy
Part V Disorders of the Social Brain
15: Impact of Early Stress
16: Interpersonal Trauma
17: Social Phobia: When Others Trigger Fear
18: Borderline Personality Disorder: When Attachment Fails
19: Psychopathy: The Antisocial Brain
20: Autism: The Asocial Brain
Part VI: Social Neural Plasticity
21: From Neurons to Narratives
22: Healing Relationships
23: Social Brain and Group Mind
The chapters are followed by selected references up to the end of 2004, followed by a good index.
Although the neurosciences have expanded enormously in the last few years, this book remains an excellent introduction to the ways in which the brain develops through life and some of the research indicating that it may never be too late to change.
I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the brain and human behavior.
Richard G. Petty, MD, author of Healing, Meaning and Purpose: The Magical Power of the Emerging Laws of Life
This is a tremendously informative book for neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and for the layman. It suggests that neuroscientists adopt a social perspective in studying the brain. It lays out for psychotherapists a new approach to successful psychotherapy, which incorporates authentic relationships with their patients. It counsels parents to develop healthy relationships with their children, for the quality of parenting and early relationships leave an indelible mark on their children's brains. It emphasizes the importance of healthy relationships for the well-being of our brains.
The first part of the book, The Emergence of Social Neuroscience, coins the concept of the" social synapse". The author claims that as neurons communicate across synapses, people communicate across the social synapse. It is through this social synapse that we impact each other's neurobiology and, as a result, each other's behaviors. Our survival is contingent upon bridging this social synapse daily.
The second part, The social brain: Structures and Functions, explores the structures and systems that participate in the social functions of the brain. Specifically, it explores the cortical and subcortical structures, the sensory, motor, and affective systems, and the regulatory systems.
The third part, Bridging the Social Synapse, discusses experience-dependent plasticity, which means that our brains are able to organize and reorganize themselves (to change themselves) as we interact with our environments. Thus our brains change themselves to meet our needs.
The fourth part, Social Vision: The Language of Faces, explains the influence of gaze and facial expression on the social brain. In fact, "eye gaze plays a central role in social communication: It provides information, regulates interactions, expresses intimacy or threat, exercises social control, and facilitates coordination and cooperation." This part also expounds on the power of a pretty face.
The fifth part, Disorders of the Social Brain, explores social cognitive disorders (Autism and Asperger's Syndrome) and other social disorders (borderline personality disorder, psychopathy). It examines dysfunctional structures and/or systems of the brain that cause these disorders.
The sixth part deals with the power of loving relationships in healing an ailing brain, in changing behaviors that have been instilled by a long history of abuse. The author revisits the "components of psychotherapy that optimize neuroplasticity," thereby optimizing healing.
The mother-child relationship is a recurring theme that captures my attention and my imagination. The author presents a mother as a key player who has an extensive impact on her child's brain's plasticity and growth. The behavior and psychology of an adult is related to the quality of the mother-child relationship. He goes through several examples of how a dysfunctional mother-child relationship plagued the child's behavior. Upon reading this I started thinking about orphans and abandoned children in impoverished regions of Africa infested with war and diseases. In keeping with the arguments of Dr. Cozolino, I understand why these children have a delay in their development compared with children of the same age in Europe or America.
The section addressing the power of a beautiful face was very interesting to me. It was shocking to read that even the mother-child relationship is affected by the attractiveness of the child. Attractive children are treated better. The author mentions that the way we are treated is affected by how we look. Attractive people are afforded better jobs and are more likely to get their way, even in the court room. I personally have found myself subdued by an attractive face many times. This is because the sight of an attractive face activates the reward circuitry in the brain. I think we should learn to fight these natural inclinations for the sake of fairness and good judgment in many situations in life.
Professor Cozolino's emphasis on social neuroplasticity is a significant transition in the book. Actually, after reading about the long-lasting impact of the mother-child relationship, parenting, and early interactions on the behavior of a person as an adult, it is refreshing to read about the ability of the brain to transcend the hamstringing trauma of a troubled childhood, and to learn not to fear, to learn to love, as it is transformed loving relationships. Toward the end of this book I was looking for a testament of the power of the human mind, evidence that although one may have had an alcoholic mother, or a neglectful father, one can decide to negate all the bad memories, and take control of one's life. The author refers to this as "autonomic reversal." I was glad to read this.
The book exceeded my expectations as it examined the brain as a social organ. It explores different aspects of the social brain and stresses the power relationships have to shape the social brain. It demonstrates this power through the most basic relationship at the beginning of life: the mother-child relationship. Everyday we ought to think about how our behaviors influence each other's brains. We ought to be tolerant toward people who are somehow dysfunctional and think about how their childhood might have affected their behaviors. We ought to live a life that promotes each other's brain's growth and health.
This book is definitely worth the time spent reading it. I recommend this to anyone who wants to know about the brain in the social context and reflect on why certain reactions occur, certain fears exist, and certain addictions persist. I recommend it to any parent who is anxious about raising a child the right way. The author uses powerful real-life experiences as a psychotherapist to support his points.
Style and Synopsis of the Book:
The style incorporated in the book is meant to continuously build on Cozolino's resounding fundamental theme that "there are no single brains" but rather our brains are connected and forever interdependent on other brains through six parts, which include:
Part I: The Emergence of Social Neuroscience discusses how the brain has evolved and differentiated from other species, why this evolvement has made our brain social and the importance of realizing the impact our relationships have on the brain.
Part II: The Social Brain: Structures and Functions explores how the brain develops and changes from birth to adulthood and identifies the structures that are a part of the social brain and their functions.
Part III: Bridging the Social Synapse explains the communication between our brains and the brain's regulation via experiences, attachment and memory from interactions with others, such as a mother with her child.
Part IV: Social Vision: The Language of Faces focuses on how our eyes and faces can convey emotion and how social we will be perceived by others as well as how are expressions can evoke emotions in others.
Part V: Disorders of the Social Brain gives examples of social disorders such as autism that affect how we interact socially with others and its impact on our relationships with others.
Part VI: Social Neural Plasticity shows how the brain has the ability to change and how our behavior with people can be relearned through healing relationships.
The book is filled with illustrations and tables as well as psychoanalysis and neurological studies that simplify and help to highlight the key points of each part. Clinical cases from Cozolino's interactions with his clients are also interspersed throughout, giving real life situations that further drive home the importance of our social development through our relationships.
Bridging the Social Synapse was one on my favorite parts, especially chapter 10, "Ways of Attaching". In this chapter, Cozolino discusses the attachment patterns of individuals. To research this, analysts went into homes and observed the interactions between mothers and their children. Four attachment pattern categories were identified from this study--free/autonomous, dismissing, enmeshed-ambivalent, and disorganized. Free/autonomous is where the mother is readily available, sensitive, and perceptive of their children's feelings and needs. Dismissing is when the mother is unavailable, rejecting, and distant. Enmeshed-ambivalents showed inconsistent availability. Disorganized mothers were disoriented as well as frightening to and frightened by their children. The analysts figured out that according to which category the mother fit into influenced the reaction and behavior of the child as well as how the child will develop as a parent based on these interactions. I found this quite interesting because I was able to examine my own relationship with my child as well as the relationship of my husband with our son and see how our upbringing has influenced how we parent.
The clinical cases about Cozolino's clients were also a great addition to the book. Each of their stories allowed you to come into their world and assess how their development was shaping their relationships. It enabled one to see the big picture and bring everything that was previously read together. Some of my favorite cases included Joaquin's, Dylan's and Pedro's.
Opinion and Recommendation:
Cozolino states that "it is the power of being with others that shapes our brains," and this book helps to reiterate this point constantly by giving a greatly-detailed journey into the brain and back out to the world on how we are social and thrive off our interactions with others. Through this review, I hope potential readers gain an informative synopsis of the book as well as discover why it is a great read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the brain's involvement in shaping us into who we are through our relationships with others and its plasticity which allows for change and healing in our lives. I really enjoyed reading this book. It has inspired me to want to learn more about how relationships define us not only socially and emotionally but spiritually and physically also. I highly recommend Cozolino's book to others to read as well.
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