In the mind fields Exploring the new science of neuropsychoanalysis

Casey Schwartz

Book - 2015

An accessible journalistic exploration of the culture of modern psychiatry analyzes early crossover efforts between the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis to outline new understandings in how humans think, feel, and behave.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Pantheon Books [2015]
©2015
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 218 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780307911520
0307911527
Main Author
Casey Schwartz (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Somewhere along her journey to discover the seemingly opposite worlds of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, a colleague asks Schwartz, "What exactly is your book about?" She is hesitant to answer in that moment, and yet the journalistic tour of her studies gives the reader a definitive picture of just how these disciplines are undeniably joined. Schwartz travels to the Anna Freud Centre in London, learning about the beginnings of Freudian psychoanalysis, before traveling to Africa, Canada, and landing in New Haven, CT, at Yale University to research the happenings in neuroscience. Her story acts almost as a brain travelog, oscillating between a search for understanding and meaning in ever-elusive ephemera and hard science. Her tireless quest results in the argument that moving forward, psychiatry will meld both psychoanalysis and neuroscience to better understand the brain. VERDICT The journey presented in this sharp narrative makes somewhat lofty topics accessible as seems to be a trend in modern science writing. Ultimately, the author's knowledge gives those interested in brain studies and the process of thought an exciting case study of sorts. Schwartz engages the reader with humorous stories of the leading professionals she encounters, providing a thorough, thoughtful account.—Kaitlin Connors, Virginia Beach P.L. [Page 100]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

More than just a survey of the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, this compelling book presents readers with the stories behind the science. Schwartz depicts ongoing attempts to unite the seemingly disparate disciplines of neuroscience, in which she has a degree, and psychoanalysis—the former founded on proof, the latter sometimes criticized for its apparent absence. Yet both disciplines aim, in their varying ways, to understand the human mind. From their interdisciplinary merger comes a new term, neuropsychoanalysis. Schwarz also intends to uncover the emotional substance behind these two sciences, and accordingly emphasizes her personal connections to the research at hand. Even Freud is given an uncharacteristically human and relatable face, as are case studies typically encountered (in much less vivid form) in textbooks. Though clearly knowledgeable, Schwartz is honest about her moments of indecision, further humanizing the narrative—indeed, the book ends with more questions yet to be answered rather than with concrete conclusions. Schwartz demonstrates the value of embracing confusion and the limitations of one's knowledge while exploring the vast expanses of the mind. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An accessible journalistic exploration of the culture of modern psychiatry analyzes early crossover efforts between the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis to outline new understandings in how humans think, feel and behave.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An accessible journalistic exploration of the culture of modern psychiatry analyzes early crossover efforts between the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis to outline new understandings in how humans think, feel, and behave.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“Everywhere I looked it seemed that we were being defined by what our brains were doing . . . Everywhere, there were hucksters and geniuses, all trying to colonize the new world of the brain.”   “I’d never been a science person,” Casey Schwartz declares at the beginning of her far-reaching quest to understand how we define ourselves. Nevertheless, in her early twenties, she was drawn to the possibilities and insights emerging on the frontiers of brain research. Over the next decade she set out to meet the neuroscientists and psychoanalysts engaged with such questions as, How do we perceive the world, make decisions, or remember our childhoods? Are we using the brain? Or the mind? To what extent is it both?   Schwartz discovered that neuroscience and psychoanalysis are engaged in a conflict almost as old as the disciplines themselves. Many neuroscientists, if they think about psychoanalysis at all, view it as outdated, arbitrary, and subjective, while many psychoanalysts decry neuroscience as lacking the true texture of human experience. With passion and humor, Schwartz explores the surprising efforts to find common ground. Beginning among the tweedy Freudians of North London and proceeding to laboratories, consulting rooms, and hospital bedsides around the world, Schwartz introduces a cast of pioneering characters, from Mark Solms, a South African neuropsychoanalyst with an expertise in dreams, to David Silvers, a psychoanalyst practicing in New York, to Harry, a man who has lost his use of language in the wake of a stroke but who nevertheless benefits from Silvers’s analytic technique. In the Mind Fields is a riveting view of the convictions, obsessions, and struggles of those who dedicate themselves to the effort to understand the mysteries of inner life.