The Growth Of The Mind

The Growth Of The Mind

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by Stanley I. Greenspan, Beryl Lieff Benderly
     
 

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This compelling book reveals the six fundamental levels that form the architecture of our minds. The growth of these levels, four of which are deeper even than the unconscious, depends on a series of critical but subtle emotional transactions between an infant and a devoted caregiver. In mapping these interactions, Dr. Greenspan formulates the elusive building…  See more details below

Overview


This compelling book reveals the six fundamental levels that form the architecture of our minds. The growth of these levels, four of which are deeper even than the unconscious, depends on a series of critical but subtle emotional transactions between an infant and a devoted caregiver. In mapping these interactions, Dr. Greenspan formulates the elusive building blocks of creative and analytic thinking and provides an exciting missing link between recent discoveries in neuroscience and the qualities that make us most fully human. He also sounds a warning: these mind-building experiences are being eroded in child-rearing and educational practices. He offers specific solutions to restoring them in families, daycare, schools and in social policy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Intelligence is shaped by felt experience, claims psychiatrist Greenspan (The Challenging Child, etc.). Meaningful development occurs when, as children, we experience feelings of warmth and compassion. Our sense of self, of intelligence, and the mental and social health of our nation suffer when we miss any of the required steps of emotional experience. Greenspan disagrees with the theories of Kant and Piaget but amplifies those of Freud to show the overriding importance of emotions ("lived experience") in the development of intelligence. This influence, a sort of "dual coding," begins much earlier than Freud hypothesized, according to Greenspan. It also has physical correlates in the actual structure of the brain. The author draws upon a broad range of research in a number of disciplines, plus decades of his own involvement with autistic children, normal children and multiproblem families. His conclusions about the necessity of a stable, caring environment for the full fruition of intelligence lead him to make wide-ranging, radical suggestions to reorganize child-raising, and to transform the educational system and to reconstruct the workplace. These changes would, he claims, reduce violence, improve international understanding and reform the practice of psychotherapy. Greenspan discusses the physiology of the brain and provides fascinating insights into the processes of memory, consciousness and the subconscious. His approach is scholarly and rather technical, but the ideas he presents are important ones, worthy of hearing by the general public as well as by his professional peers. (Feb.)
Booknews
Reprint of the esteemed Addison-Wesley original ($25.00, 1997) which is well reviewed in Kirkus (12/96), Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Choice (8/97). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
A plea that we should put our money where our mouth is in the service of raising emotionally secure and healthy children.

Psychiatrist Greenspan (George Washington Univ. School of Medicine; The Essential Partnership, 1989, etc.) offers a multistage theory of emotional development that somewhat parallels Erik Erikson's theory of emotional growth. Greenspan argues that developmental theories based on the separation of reason and emotion are misguided: You can't have one without the other in the nurturing of a whole and healthy adult. As cognitive development proceeds from sensation-seeking to "operational" thinking, so emotional development proceeds from "making sense of sensation" through organizing symbols based on cues from caregivers to the ability to recognize and reflect on feelings and thoughts. Greenspan devotes the first part of the book to defining the six stages of emotional development that form the basic structure of our mind and tracing how they influence intelligence and awareness. The later chapters are devoted to tracing the consequences of stunted emotional development, from high divorce rates to street violence and even war. Along the way Greenspan discusses how mental health professionals, educators, and social service workers frequently miss the boat in trying to help troubled children and families. He puts a heavy stress on parental responsibility, emphasizing that emotional—and hence intellectual—development must begin with an intense but sensitive and flexible one-to-one relationship between caregiver and infant, and asserting that the same caregiver should be present throughout infancy and childhood. Nevertheless, even teenagers stuck at early stages of emotional development—unable to empathize with another, for instance—can pass along to reflective maturity with the help of a mentoring relationship that provides the requisite intensity and consistency.

Adds weight to recent efforts to legitimize early emotions as something far more than elements of a rich (but unproductive) fantasy life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738200262
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
09/01/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
380
Sales rank:
1,222,437
Product dimensions:
0.78(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)

Meet the Author


Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D., author of the widely used and praised books The Challenging Child and (with Serena Wieder, Ph.D.) Engaging Autism, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Beryl Lieff Benderly is the author of several books, including Dancing without Music: Deafness in America.

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