Fredric Schiffer, M.D.
Most people experience themselves as two-sided: one side seems mature and stable, the other emotional and impulsive. But have you ever wondered if there really are two minds in each of us? If so, do traumatic as well as ordinary experiences affect the way our minds grow and interact? According to Fredric Schiffer, a leading Harvard psychiatrist and researcher, advances in science prove what many of us have always intuited is true: We are of two minds, each one with a different degree of maturity, and each one associated with the left or the right brain. This brilliant, provocative book illustrates how the interaction of these two minds -- whether they sabotage each other or work in harmony -- actually determines our psychological nature and ultimately the emotional problems or progress we may experience in life.
Drawing on his own twenty-five years of research on the brain and behavior, Schiffer gives us overwhelming evidence that each side of our brain possesses an autonomous, distinct personality -- with its own set of memories, motivations, and behaviors. In working with his patients, Schiffer discovered that strategically altering someone's visual field can positively or negatively affect that person's sense of well-being. He shows how using this technique of visual stimulation can activate the specific regions of the brain that harbor both traumatic and joyful memories. This dramatic breakthrough demonstrates how it is possible to access, isolate, and work with the memories encoded on one side of the brain.
Dr. Schiffer's dual-brain approach has yielded remarkable results with
a wide range of emotional disorders, from anxiety and depression to addiction
and stress-induced heart disease -- offering an exciting new perspective
on therapy. Just as earlier investigations of the brain and its cognitive
functions revolutionized our understanding of how we think, Of Two Minds
transforms our understanding of how and why we experience emotional distress
and conflicts, and suggests a path to a more harmonious, balanced relationship
between our two selves.
M.D., a psychiatrist, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of
Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and is Associate Attending Psychiatrist
at McLean Hospital. His writing has been published in the field's most prestigious
publications, including the Journal of Neuropsychiatry, Comprehensive Psychiatry,
and the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. Dr. Schiffer also maintains
a clinical practice in adult psychiatry in Newton, Massachusetts.
Praise for Of Two Minds
Joseph Bogen, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Neurological Surgery, University of Southern California
Candace B. Pert, Ph.D."Wonderfully readable and well informed, this is the best book ever on the social and psychiatric implications of the split-brain research."
"Dr. Schiffer rivals Freud in his revolutionary theories on understanding
psyche. He convincingly portrays the workings of two autonomous minds in one
consciousness -- offering a radical new strategy in treating a multitude of illnesses,
both mental and physical. I believe Dr. Schiffer's insights will be very useful for
those of us waiting to optimize a harmonious, healthy balance among our bodyminds
John J. Ratey, M.D.
author of Driven to Distraction and Shadow Syndromes
"An extremely readable...compelling account of how the act of perception
subsequent activation of one of our hemispheres can lead to changes in the way we
think and feel, perhaps initiating permanent changes in psychopathology and even
Bessel A. Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
"Of Two Minds provides the reader with a lucent exposé of the evolving
understanding of the dual mind/brains that we all possess. This book offers new
ways of understanding unconscious mental processes and their role in the activation,
processing, and integration of experience. Fredric Schiffer not only clarifies the
neuroscience of our dual-brain system, but also provides numerous illustrations of
how the application of this understanding can lead to
healthier and happier lives."
Robert Pyles, M.D.
President of the American Psychoanalytic Association
"This riveting, provocative work promises to be a seminal contribution to
important convergence of neurobiology and psychodynamic psychology. Dr.
Schiffer's work is clearly at the leading edge of a true biopsychosocial integration of
mind and brain."
Marcel Kinsbourne, M.D.
Professor of Cognitive Studies, Tufts University
"Dr. Schiffer provides an ingeniously simple application of brain theory
psychotherapy. His work is a model of scholarly thinking combined with a
gratifying empathy for his clients. I recommend this book both for its contribution to
methods of psychotherapy and for its insightful individual case reports."
Chapter One: Introduction