The Developing Mind


"Siegel describes his book as 'a journey into the developing mind,' and no one is better equipped to invite psychotherapists and other students of human impulses to share this remarkable adventure. In clear and inspired prose, he reviews facts and theories about the human brain that can be difficult to grasp. He explains how the brain differentiates and enables the creative and passionate mind of a child to share meaningful intentions, experiences, imaginative beliefs, relationships, community, culture, and language. He puts this understanding in the service of a humane and respectful psychotherapy that can give integrity to young lives that have become anxious, chaotic, and rigid."

- Colwyn Trevarthen, PhD, FRSE, Professor Emeritus of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

"This amazing synthesis of neurobiological research and clinical expertise should forever lay to rest the mind-brain dichotomy. The book is beautifully constructed, including highly readable descriptions of brain development, information processing, models of memory and narrative, and the importance of attachment in human development. Siegel also shows how healthy relationships and psychotherapeutic interventions can offer us a 'second chance' to undo maladaptive patterns and insecure early attachments. This book is suitable for anyone working in the fields of mental health or neuroscience, and will be a superb guide for medical students and psychiatric residents."

- Clarice J. Kestenbaum, M.D., President-elect American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University (on the first edition)

"This beautifully written book achieves many things at once. It provides a much-needed, user-friendly description of the latest knowledge about brain development and function. It helps us to understand crucial links between neurobiology, subjective experience, and human relationships. It places the findings of attachment theory research in a solid biological context that explains the lifelong impact of early experience. It shows how trauma affects biological, emotional, and interpersonal functioning. And it does all of this with such clarity, compassion, and even humor, that the reader is left with a feeling of gratitude for having learned so much so effortlessly. This book is important and timely, and should serve as a standard reference for anybody interested in the mind--which is to say, anybody interested in the human experience."

- Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco (on the first edition)

"In this extraordinary book, Siegel creatively integrates state-of-the-art knowledge of emotional development, neurobiology, cognitive science, attachment research, and complexity theory. The resulting model cogently describes how a developing brain/mind organizes itself in the context of an emotional relationship with other brain/minds. This cutting-edge volume is essential reading for clinicians, researchers, and anyone who is intrigued by one of science's fundamental problems--the psychobiological origins of the human mind."

- Allan N. Schore, Ph.D., School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (on the first edition)

"Siegel's brilliant, concise synthesis of cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and attachment theory provides the family therapist with a powerful way of understanding the origins of our behaviors in relationships. When I have shared these ideas with the families, couples, and students I see in clinical practice and in teaching, their response has been overwhelmingly positive. Siegel helps us make sense of mysteries of experience with which we all wrestle."

- Gillian Walker, M.S.W., Senior Faculty, Ackerman Institute for the Family, New York (on the first edition)

"This book offers an invaluable analysis and synthesis of the research and theory on the brain development of children. In a field where the volume and complexity of the research can be daunting, Siegel provides a real service. For professionals who want to understand the field, for practitioners who want to be well-grounded in research and theory, and for anyone who wants a truly deep understanding of human relationships, this book is one of the best places to turn."

- Ellen Galinsky, M.S., President, Families and Work Institute, New York (on the first edition)

"Why can't we remember what we did at age three? Why are some children unusually shy? What is the biochemistry of humiliation, and how can it be 'toxic to the developing child's brain'? New and plausible answers to these questions emerge from Siegel's synthesis of neurobiology, research psychology and cognitive science...his subject--how we become the people we are--deserves to hold many readers spellbound."

- Publishers Weekly (on the first edition)

"...brilliant....It should probably not be read at one sitting, but sifted slowly as you would a 20 year old port....This is not just a book for bright psychiatric residents or child fellows, but child psychiatrists young and old, over-worked or under-paid. It offers a glimpse of new horizons in the profession, and may be the harbinger of a fresh archetype for child psychiatry as it enters the next millennium."

- The Canadian Child Psychiatry Review (on the first edition)

"...fulfilled my wildest expectations. Instead of laboriously struggling to learn about neurobiology, I found myself fairly effortlessly assimilating information because 1) the author is able to present his material in the context of interpersonal relationships in general and the treatment dyad in particular, and 2) the author is a master of lucidity, avoids pedantry, and succeeds in making his data clinically useful."

- American Journal of Psychiatry (on the first edition)

"Readable, thoughtful, and informative."

- Educational Leadership Scholary Journal (on the first edition)

"I knew that this book was one I should keep handy when I wanted to improve my understanding of information on which the future science of psychiatry will be based."

- Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (on the first edition)

"This is just the right book, on a very hot topic, at just the right time, by just the right author....The story Siegel tells is indeed fascinating, essentially describing the transactional processes that happen at the interface between developmental neurobiology and the environment of an individual. He links every level of the system from cell chemistry to brain architecture, to caregiver-infant attachments, to interpersonal relationships in adulthood. Siegel presents his synthesis of these rapidly developing fields in a readable style aimed at those professionally involved clinically in the field, but which could...also be read by the interested layperson....This is a book to stimulate, illuminate, and drive our understanding of human developmental processes forwards and I suspect that The Developing Mind will be seen as a milestone work in the future."

- Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (on the first edition)

"This is a remarkable book....Most impressively, [Siegel] weaves a complex, plausible and compelling theoretical synthesis on the bidirectional influences of interpersonal experience and brain development and functioning....The Developing Mind boldly transcends the reductionism that characterizes so much of contemporary psychiatry."

- Psychiatric Times (on the first edition)

"The author has succeeded in integrating knowledge from several disciplines about interpersonal experience, human mental processes, and neurobiology to construct a conceptual foundation for an "interpersonal neurobiology" of the developing mind....No other book has addressed this subject so comprehensively, and it is sure to prove a valuable resource for those with primary neurophysiological knowledge and interests, especially students, scholars, and professionals in such associated areas as psychiatry, neuropsychology, developmental and professional psychology, and cognitive science."

- (on the first edition)

"...[A] current, thorough, closely argued text....One of Siegel's major gifts is for presenting anatomical, neurological, research, and clinical information while still pointing out what remains unknown. He explores infant-parent relationships, emotions, states of mind, and how knowing about them can help one improve one's relationships and capabilities for developing successfully."

– (on the first edition)

"This book works on many levels and neatly fulfills the author's intention for it: 'to provide an overview and integration of [various] scientific perspectives, in order to build a foundation for a neurobiology of interpersonal experience' (p. 1). Highly recommended."

- Metapsychology Online Book Reviews (on the first edition)