Mindsight and Creative Awareness

Posted in: Science | (Français) le26 November 2011

I recently read a great book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel. This groundbreaking book integrates brain science and psychotherapy to introduce a new and original concept called mindsight.


According to Dr. Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry, mindsight is a kind of focused attention that allows us to connect with the internal workings of our minds. By developing the ability to focus our attention on our internal world, we can re-sculpt our neural pathways, stimulating growth of brain regions crucial to our mental health and performance.


In his book, Dr. Siegel explains how mindsight can be used to help patients effect positive, lasting changes in their brains—and their lives. In an interesting case, he talks about one of his patients named Stuart who was a retired lawyer.  Stuart had always been someone energized and alert, but at the same time distant and dispassionate. When asked about compassion, Stuart would say: “when one of my law partners was diagnosed with lymphoma, I felt nothing. People get sick, they die. That’s it. I know I should feel something about it, but I just don’t.”


Our brain is divided into the left and right hemispheres. The left hemisphere is more linear, linguistic, logical, literal whereas the right hemisphere is more holistic, nonverbal, pictorial, metaphoric, analogical, emotional and compassionate. For Dr. Siegel, Stuart showed signs of a very dominant left brain masking the characteristics of the right brain.


While devising a therapy for Stuart, Dr. Siegel wondered whether it was still possible to activate his patient’s right-mode neural circuits, which had been dormant for decades. Whether this dormancy was from experience, genetics, chance, or all three, he wondered whether he would be successful in changing Stuart’s actual neural functioning. And if these circuits were activated, could we expect them to develop new synaptic connections, or even grow new integrative neurons?


Through a series of therapy sessions including body sensation, non-verbal connection, and imagery, Dr. Siegel was successful in developing Stuart’s right hemisphere. Dr. Siegel worked on the link between the left and right brain. Stuart was given exercises that would translate sensations, images and feelings into words and force inter-hemispheric cross-talks.


Dr. Siegel’s was successful in changing Stuart’s neural functioning and activate his dormant right brain. A year after his therapy, Dr. Siegel was deeply touched when Stuart sent him a personal note saying: “I cannot tell you how much fun I am having. Life has a new meaning now. Thank you!”


Our right brain hemisphere is not only about creative thinking, it’s also about empathy and compassion. When it’s fully activated, we get a different sense of the world.

Add a comment

  • Destrey says:

    Hi San, Have you ever given private creativity and awareness coaching sessions through Skype?

  • admin says:

    Hi Destrey,

    Skype works amazingly well for internationally located clients. We can discuss privately through email : san@creativXpert.com

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