New Frontiers in the Neurobiology of Interpersonal Connection and Emotion


For those of you who want to understand the science behind the therapist's approach, these books offer interesting ideas.


Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by: Malcom Gladwell

Just how do some people come to an instinctual decision or awareness of a situation so suddenly and expertly? And when this happens, how is it that they often cannot explain how they've done so? Malcolm Gladwell tells us what is behind this capacity to read a situation in the blink of an eye. Fascinating reading.

Emotions Revealed, Second Edition:
Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life

by: Paul Eckman

How do you know when someone is smiling genuinely at you or only just politely? Yes, you know, but HOW, exactly?   Emotions Revealed includes photos and exercises that help us read a person's difficult-to-interpret facial expressions that lasts only 1/15 of a second (microexpressions) and make more sense of the emotional world around us.

HeartMath Meditation Assistant:
Integrating emWave & Inner Balance Technologies

by: Deborah Rozman

This is a 3.4 MB ebook which demonstrates the use of emWaves and Inner Balance devices.  EmWaves are hand-held devices that measure heart rate variability and provide biofeedback which helps maintain a calmer state.  InnerBalance devices are smaller and work with your iphone. Both are offered by HeartMath where research is being conducted.  Their scientific findings are showing that the rhythm of our heart beat affects how we think and feel.  Either device can be used as an adjunct to practically any mindfulness or meditation techniques you are already doing. Get the most out of meditation and see the benefits of a deeper heart connection.

The Body Keeps the Score:
Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by: Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Dr. van der Kolk has been highly praised  by many distinguished authors, researchers and spiritual leaders  for his elegant writing. Through the lenses of historical analysis, neuroscience, clinical experience, and dramatic case histories in a wise, warm and engaging way, this book looks at trauma treatments of the past and future, and why there is good reason to feel optimistic about trauma treatment innovations.

Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology:
An Integrative Handbook of the Mind

by: Daniel Siegel, MD

Daniel Siegel’s books and ideas make complex ideas about neuroscience accessible to laypeople who want to understand some of the mysteries of the human mind.  Both self contained and deeply interpersonal, where does the mind originate?  The book includes a glossary of terms and many drawings that make hard concepts easy to grok. Reading it allows you to immerse yourself in a broad, general way into the ideas about interpersonal neurobiology today, and afterwards you’ll be able to delve more deeply into other related topics more enjoyably.

The Primates Memoir:
A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

by: Robert M. Sapolsky

The book is filled with tales and sagas, belonging both to baboons and humans. The book reads just like the narrative of a researcher who is happy for some human company and the stories and sagas that spill out of the pages, of both baboon and human, are at times poignant, hilarious, sad and intense. Sapolsky’s story-telling is fabulous and his humor irreverent.  His observations of the baboons,  returning to them summer after summer, are interesting from a research point of view and also from a fellow primate’s point of view. He also wrote Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, which is a wonderful book also about how humans aren’t designed for the everyday stresses of our modern life.  

The Polyvagal Theory
by: Dr. Stephen Porges

The author was the first to quantify and use heart rate variability in psychophysiological research. The book's chapters were written originally as medical essays. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, which has led to innovative trauma treatments which are not based on heart rate or cortisol level, but on vagal tone. Dr. Porges explains that humans react physically to messages in the brainstem which regulate facial expression.
As described by Bessel Van Der Kolk (see his book above), “The Polyvagal Theory provided us with a more sophisticated understanding of the biology of safety and danger, one based on the subtle interplay between the visceral experiences of our own bodies and the voices and faces of the people around us. It explained why a kind face or a soothing tone of voice...(and)...focused attunement with another person can shift us out of disorganized and fearful states. In short, Porges’s theory made us look beyond the effects of fight or flight and put social relationships front and center in our understanding of trauma.”