Dan Siegel on Interpersonal Neurobiology
by Dan Siegel
The brain has evolved as an elegant and powerful tool for social connection, wired for and by experience and relationships. Psychiatrist Dan Siegel teaches us how Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) can enhance psychotherapy outcome and our clients’ lives by mindfully guiding them to “re-wire” this malleable and resilient resource.
Dan Siegel knows science. In fact, he has a profound appreciation for the ways that diverse disciplines from physics to ecology can inform and enhance psychotherapeutic practice. Challenging therapists to question reductionist thinking, Siegel teaches us how all DSM diagnoses are better understood as problems clients have integrating brain centers. Instead of chasing symptoms in our assessment, diagnostic and treatment protocols, he provides insights and tools with which therapists can rebalance the flow of energy and information within and between people.

Our minds are exquisite reflections of complex brain processes and to Siegel, psychotherapists can and should be students of the brain. He proposes that by so doing they will understand that as a complex system, the brain has the property of “emergence,” the capacity to learn and grow. As a therapist, this discussion will help you appreciate how somatic and mindfulness-based techniques help clients tap into this emergence to build self-awareness, self-regulation, and freedom from rigidity and chaos. In the process, you will learn to guide clients in replacing symptoms of substance abuse, mood, anxiety and even psychotic disorders with self-awareness, self-regulation and happiness.   

What therapists are saying…

"This video with Dan Siegel gives a profound look at neurobiology, explaining the process of combining multiple disciplines and coming together to understand the system of the mind. Discussion surrounds distinguishing between the mind and the brain, explaining how psychiatric conditions result from impaired integration, but also how explaining mind training practices that can grow integration in the brain. The interview will give students and clinicians a look at how counseling theory and practice can actually affect brain integration--also allowing them to understand what the mind really is and what the mind really can be."

--Courtney Evans, Dept. of Counselor Education and Family Studies, Liberty University

"I think I am as impressed with Siegel's presentation in this video as Victor Yalom seems at many points through the course of their conversation. As I thought he did in his book, Mindsight, Siegel has recast some of the terms and practices of Buddhist meditation and called it Interpersonal Neurobiology. In fact, Siegel's "wheel of awareness" would appear to be an elaborate spin on a fundamental technique in CBT: that of creating distance between the thinker, and what is thought."

--John Gordon, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Northern Arizona University     
"The interview with Dan Siegel on Interpersonal Neurobiology was complicated but fascinating. Prior to the video, I had very little understanding about IPNB. After viewing this training, however, I feel more informed about how mindfulness practices can be used to grow integration in the brain and how all regulation is dependent upon neural regulation. Additionally, I learned that IPNB is not limited to only the more severe psychopathologies, but it can also be used to inform the therapeutic process in the more common client issues, such as depressive, anxious, or relationship distresses."

--Theresa C. Allen, PhD, Director, The Well Life
"As an educator the video links the science of the brain to what we do as counselors for students. The explanation of Dan Sigel in the video identifies the importance of counselors understanding the functions of the brain, and how those functions influence the psyche of the client. Additional Dan Sigel provides a great bridge of understanding neurobiology and how that understanding influences different therapeutic theories."

--Eric Jett, PhD, Clinical Faculty, Southern New Hampshire University
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Siegel tells us that traditional medicalized thinking has led psychotherapists into blind alleys, where mind is seen simply as a mechanical property of brain. We have become over-reliant, he argues, on diagnosis, psychopharmacology and clinical turf wars. Instead, his research suggests that mind emerges from and then turns back around to govern subjective experience, consciousness, information processing and relationships. His therapeutic tool, the Wheel of Awareness shows clinicians how to integrate their client’s inner and outer experiences by being mind-full and living mindfully.

Siegel is not asking us to become scientists or even masters of physics and mathematics. However, he guides us to think scientifically about behavior, mood and relationships. He does not ask us to surrender our favorite theories and techniques in favor of IPNB. Instead, he explains how its somatic and mindfulness-oriented premises and methods can inform our therapeutic work, regardless of the clinical models and techniques we use.

The concepts of differentiation and integration feature prominently in Siegel’s work. As our client’s brain centers mature and interconnect through application of his “Nine Domains of Integration”, clinicians will facilitate their growth into full self-awareness and relationship readiness. Finally, he teaches therapists how their clients may overcome disabling experiences and narratives related to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and trauma affecting what he calls “within-ness” and “between-ness.” In the process therapists will assist clients in forming stronger and more effective internal and relational systems.

You may have to, but will more than likely want to, watch this interview several times to gain full benefit from a pioneering model of treatment. Like its passionate originator and the brain-mind connection he so admires, IPNB is at the same time incredibly complex, but elegantly simple, clinically straightforward and very useful.

By watching this interview, you will:
1. critique misguided principles of diagnosis, assessment and treatment
2. appreciate the basic tenets of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB)
3. apply IPNB principles of integration to enhance your psychotherapy with a wide range of clients 

Length of video: 1:36:05

Number of Discs: 0

English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD

This DVD plays in All Regions

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-546-7

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-546-5

Dan Siegel, MD, is a Harvard trained physician and researcher as well as a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Dr. Siegel is the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization which focuses on the study and application of Interpersonal Neurobiology, the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. Dr. Siegel is a practicing clinician and prolific author whose The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (2nd. Ed., Guilford, 2012) introduces the field of interpersonal neurobiology. His work has been extensively utilized by a number of clinical and research organizations worldwide and as such has been translated into over forty languages. His upcoming book Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence (Tarcher/Perigee, August 2018) will introduce readers to his Wheel of Awareness, a powerful and pioneering tool for self-enhancement.

Relevant Websites and Readings:

Comprehensive Resources

Mindsight Institute

CE credits: 1.5

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to critique misguided principles of diagnosis, assessment and treatment
  • Appreciate the basic tenets of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB)
  • Apply IPNB principles of integration to enhance your psychotherapy with a wide range of clients
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