The Developing Mind

Second Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are

This bestselling book put the field of interpersonal neurobiology on the map for many tens of thousands of readers. Daniel J. Siegel goes beyond the nature and nurture divisions that traditionally have constrained much of our thinking about development, exploring the role of interpersonal experiences in forging key connections in the brain. He presents a groundbreaking integrative framework for understanding the emergence of the growing, feeling, communicating mind. Reflecting significant scientific and technical advances, the second edition incorporates new discussions of cutting-edge topics, plus an epilogue describing specific pathways to well-being and therapeutic change.

Using a wealth of illustrative examples from clinical practice and everyday life, Siegel traces the interplay of human and neural connections in early childhood and beyond.  The book reveals how difficulties with attachment to caregivers can result in problems with memory, self-organization, and emotional regulation. Implications for adult states of mind, emotional competence, and the ability to cope with stress are considered, as are links to such clinical problems as dissociation and depression. Siegel offers compelling insights into how therapeutic and personal relationships can promote healing and integration as the mind continues to develop throughout the lifespan. The second edition provides expanded discussions of neuroplasticity, epigenetics, mindfulness, the neural correlates of consciousness, and more. It also includes useful pedagogical features: pull-outs, diagrams, and an extensive glossary.

Illuminating how and why interpersonal neurobiology matters, this book is essential reading for clinicians, educators, researchers, and students interested in promoting healthy development and resilience. It has been widely adopted as a text in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in developmental psychology, child development, and clinical practice.


"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

"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)

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