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Mental Health and the Brain: Books

Mental Health and the Brain:
A Discussion
Fall, 2008


Suggested Books for Commentary

An evolving list. Additional suggestions welcome in on-line forum below.

  • Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. Jaak Panksepp. NY: Oxford University Press. 2004.
  • A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World. Susanne Antonetta. NY: Tarcher. 2007. (Silverman)
  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. Kay Redfield Jamison. NY: Vintage, 1997.
  • Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of the Subjective Experience. Mark Solms. NY: Other Press. 2003.
  • Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia. Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn Spiro. NY: St. Martin's Press. 2005.
  • Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. Gerd Gigerenzer. NY: Penguin. 2008
  • Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: Why Medication Isn't Enough. Elio Frattaroli. NY: Penguin. 2002
  • Listening to Prozac. Peter Kramer. NY: Viking. 1993
  • Love's Executioner, and Other Tales of Psychotherapy. Irwin Yalom. NY: Harper. 2000. (Safyer)
  • Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Michel Foucault. 1988.
  • Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life. Steven Johnson. NY: Scribner. 2005
  • Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity. Daniel B. Smith. NY: Penguin Books. 2007.
  • My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey. Jill Bolte Taylor. NY: Viking, 2008.
  • Neurobiology for Clinical Social Work: Theory and Practice. Jeffrey S. Applegate and Janet R. Shapiro. NY: WW Norton, 2005.
  • Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist Looks at American Psychiatry. T.M. Luhrmann. NY: Vintage, 2000.
  • Open-Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul. Jonathan Lear. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1998.
  • Religion, Culture, and Mental Health. Kate Loewenthal. NY: Cambridge University Press. 2007.
  • Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and the New Biology of Mind. Eric Kandel. NY: American Psychiatric Publishing Co. 2005.
  • Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. Joseph LeDoux. NY: Penguin. 2003.
  • The Culture of Our Discontent: Beyond the Medical Models of Mental Illness. Meredith Small. Washington: National Academies Press. 2006.
  • The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine. Anne Harrington. NY: W.W. Norton. 2008.
  • The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. Antonio Damasio. NY: Harvest. 2000.
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Other Clinical Tales. Oliver Sacks. NY: Touchstone. 1998.
  • The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunment in the Cultivation of Well-Being. Daniel Siegel. NY: WW Norton. 2007.
  • The Myth of Empowerment: Women and the Therapeutic Culture in America. Dana Becker. NY: NYU Press. 2005
  • The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building and Rebuilding the Human Brain. Louis Cozolino. NY: WW Norton. 2002.
  • Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism. Temple Grandin. NY: Vintage. 2006.
  • Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy. Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, and Claire Pain. NY: WW Norton. 2006.


merry2e's picture

Mental Health: Books

Hello all,

Just thought that I would share part of an extensive list I started last semester...thanks for all of the other books on the list!

Trauma related: 

The Gift of Fear - Gavin DeBecker

The Body Remebers: Psychophysiology of Trauma ( I feel very strongly that anyone working with trauma survivors should read this!) - Babette Rothschild

Traumatic Dissociation: Neurobiology and Treatment - Edited by Vermetten, Dorahy, Spiegel (technical but suggest for psych majors with nbs concentration or anyone interested in trauma!)


Growing Up Girl: An Anthropology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces - Edited by Michele Sewell

Insecure At Last:Losing IT In Our Security Obsessed World - Eve Ensler

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer - Eve Ensler ( I suggest this especially for anyone working with survivors of war)

Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injuries:

Head Cases - Michael Paul Mason (short stories of his experiences with clients)

Anything by Oliver Sacks!


The Tacit Dimension - Michael Polanyi (I think a must read for everyone!)

Experiments in Ethics - Kwame Anthony Appiah

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality - Dalai Lama

Self Help and Alterrnative Therapy:

Getting the Love You Want - Harville Hendrix, PhD

( Imago Therapy-this is great type of therapy and a great way to learn how to talk with others in general)


Enjoy reading and I look forward to adding some of the others on Serendip to my list...





Paul Grobstein's picture

Mental Health: Foucault

Yep, as per first class discussion, we need a wider historical perspective on "mental health". Have added Foucault to the suggested reading list. Am a little bemused by my not having thought of it earlier.
Ljones's picture

I've read Oliver Sacks' An

I've read Oliver Sacks' An Anthropologist on Mars and Daniel Tammet, who is an autistic savant's Born on a Blue Day. Both seem relevant and were really enjoyable to read.

Another book I've heard of is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, which is a novel with an autistic protagonist although the author is not himself autistic. 

Laura Cyckowski's picture


Haven't read/finished any of these but possibly relevant...


Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brainscience and Buddhism

Visions of Compassion: Western Scientists and Tibetan Buddhists Examine Human Nature

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, VS Ramachandran, MD and Sandra Blakeslee

Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression, James S. Gordon, MD

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, Jonathan Haidt

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Andrew Solomon

Proust Was A Neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge

Borderline Dilemma The Way It Was For Me, A.J. Mahari (e-books)

The Island of the Colorblind, Oliver Sacks

Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World, Chris Frith

Anne Dalke's picture

novel reading?

Three of the best novels I read this summer described a search for mental health; many of the scenes in each were set in therapist's offices, each was told @ least in part by therapists, and each also functions, @ least in part, as a critique of current ways of doing therapy. Occurs to me that looking @ novels/narratives about the search for mental health--that find a way to shape and so manage trauma (by crafting a story that accounts for it?)--might add a nice dimension to this course/conversation.

The novels are
Elliot Perlman, Seven Types of Ambiguity,
Siri Hustvedt, The Sorrows of An American &
Carol Gilligan, Kyra.
Paul Grobstein's picture

psychotherapy in literature

Nice thought. Thanks. Along these lines, another novel that comes to mind is

Irvin Yalom, Lying on the Couch (Kerle)


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