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The Dao of Neuroscience: Combining Eastern and Western Principles for Optimal Therapeutic Change

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Combining new scientific paradigms with ancient wisdom.
Neuroscientists have made huge advances in our understanding of the brain, and yet as scientists learn more, paradoxes arise. How does the brain—a material substance—relate to and produce nonmaterial thoughts and emotions? What explains the research showing that non-rational, unconscious experiencing can sometimes be more accurate than deliberate, conscious thought? The resolution of these paradoxes has important implications for all the helping fields, suggesting new approaches to mind–brain–body change.
By weaving together Eastern traditions (including Yoga, Buddhism, Zen, and Daoism) and Western science, new understandings previously not considered emerge. The Dao of Neuroscience is an insightful introduction to these traditions which sheds new light on the relationship between the mind and the brain. Dao is an ancient Eastern method, a Way or Path for exploring and learning. From the Eastern perspective, everything has its Dao, its Way, even the brain. As we learn the Dao of neuroscience, we come to understand the brain's most optimal ways of functioning and how to facilitate its natural processes toward health, happiness, and fulfillment.

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Editorial Reviews

Metapsychology Online Reviews
“[A] must-have volume for any psychotherapist’s bookshelf.”
Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter
“[A] brilliant work that captures concepts of neuroscience and makes it more understandable…You will come away with usable facts, and practical applications that will inspire you creatively…By halfway through I wanted all therapists to read this book because I realized it can help us all do better work.”
Ernest Rossi
“The profound science, scholarship, and elegant genius of The Dao of Neuroscience makes it a must read for the general public, patients, and therapists at the cutting edge of mind-body healing and human consciousness.”
Jaime A. Pineda
“An easy-to-read yet captivating excursion through the complexities of brain science and metaphysics. It is one of the few books I’ve read that attempts to bridge Eastern and Western thinking to gain greater insight into brain–mind relationships. The authors present sensitively attuned exercises that complement and enhance contemporary therapeutic approaches.”
James D. Spivak
“An ambitious book that integrates significant research on neuroscience and the brain–mind connection, Eastern traditions and philosophy, and current thinking on the use of therapeutic interventions and evidence-based practice. With longstanding expertise as psychotherapists steeped in ancient Eastern wisdom, the authors successfully transmit the benefits of their vast knowledge and experience, drawing on case examples from their own practice. This is an impressive tome that will lead us to think in new, integrative ways.”
Consuelo Casula - European Society of Hypnosis
“[N]ew world of neuroscience or self-hypnosis with a sense of familiarity and self-protections. The Simpkins, good writers, use their talent strengthened by method and discipline.”
Stephen Gilligan
“This clearly-written book contributes to the burgeoning literature showing the therapeutic significance of mind–body–brain relationships. It offers an up-to-date neuropsychology primer for therapists, giving a practical understanding of how both problems and solutions develop. Read, learn, and enjoy!”
Yoga and Health Magazine
“A comprehensive and detailed overview of the latest scientific findings on the workings of the mind...Excellent.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393705973
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/19/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,409,341
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice, and, with Annellen M. Simpkins, is the author of twenty-four books. Together they study and research mind and brain, teach meditation and hypnosis in seminars and workshops, and live in San Diego.

Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice who with her husband C. Alexander Simpkins specializes in study and research of mind and brain. Together they teach widely on meditation and hypnosis, have written twenty-four books, and live in San Diego.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    East Meets West in our brain!

    This book offers a fascinating exploration of the brain integrating the latest neuroscience understandings from the West with ancient wisdom from the East.The book explains such contemporary issues as neural networks and modeling methods for brain activity. It discusses how the brain changes through time, slowly through evolution, in a lifetime through development, and quickly from neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. It also gives a clear explanation of mirror neurons and brain basics, from neurons to systems. But all of these descriptions are given from an Eastern as well as the usual Western scientific view which adds clarity and depth to all the issues. Through the combination of East and West, comes a much clearer understanding of how the mind, brain, and body act together to give us thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Then the authors show how to use these understandings to help with many psychological problems. A thoroughly enlightening book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Refer to this book often!

    In their wide-ranging book The Dao of Neuroscience, Alex and Annellen Simpkins provide a solid grounding in neuroscience from Eastern and Western perspectives and a wealth of practical applications for changing how body and brain interact to reflect and influence our thoughts and behaviors. They craft a well-researched portrait of the brain-mind debate that will inspire - and equip - the curious reader to join in the fascinating conversation currently consuming the popular media and the academic, medical, and rehabilitation literature. In addition to describing aspects of ancient Eastern philosophy that serve as analogies for the way the human brain works, this engrossing book provides a review of historical and current neuroscience topics such as brain structure and functioning, neural network models, and brain imaging. The authors go further than others, however, in applying neuroscience principles and learning to therapeutic work. Their experience as therapists and teachers shines through as the authors reinforce their clear explanations of brain function with exercises aimed at strengthening brain-mind-body connections, increasing possibilities for self-understanding, and improving everyday functioning. As a social science researcher in the field of brain injury policy and the patient-provider therapeutic relationship, I have found in this book useful analogies and clear explanations to inspire my own work. As a student of the brain-mind-body relationship, I appreciate the book's drawings, models, prose, and practical exercises for the way they touch the different parts of my brain - parts that must work in concert for successful learning, remembering, and application to therapy, research, and personal healing. I highly encourage any reader to refer to this book often as they participate in the growing debate about brain function, plasticity, and potential for rehabilitation - not just for soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan but also for the many millions of Americans affected by the more than 650 disorders or conditions that impact the brain, from epilepsy and strokes to mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and childhood trauma. In this excellent book Alex and Annellen Simpkins outline clear, walk-able paths to healing and hope; it is up to us to travel them. - Laura Lorenz, author, Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    This book is really useful

    Combining Eastern and Western Principles for Optimal Therapeutic Change
    This book explains delightfully the relationship in the brain-mind system from the perspective of Eastern principles based in the mind such as meditation and Western approaches that study the brain based on a physical point of view from structures to functions.
    The Simpkins provide information about brain anatomy, neurotransmitters, developing attention and perception, hypnosis and psychobiologically oriented psychodynamic approaches. The explanations are enhanced by diagrams, drawings and even EEG (Electroencephalogram) pictures that make difficult concepts easy to understand.
    The text addresses a wide variety of topics such as Restoring Balance in Biological Rhythms on Chapter 11 where the circadian rhythm that controls our sleep-wake cycle is addressed. In this respect, the reader can also find information about dreams and insomnia. We can also learn about emotions and how they are processed along brain pathways. A good example of this is a diagram about the two pathways of fear that shows how we react when we feel this emotion, for example when we are ready to run from danger and notice that our heart rates increase and our faces flush.
    Additionally, the book covers methods that can be used to target specific brain areas. As a psychotherapist, I enjoyed a section that describes how the limbic system works. To make things even better, it even addresses love and encourages us to remember moments where we have received it.
    Reading this book has been a wonderful adventure.

    Reviewed by Maria Escalante de Smith MA
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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