The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy

Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology


Efrat Ginot (Author)

With a Foreword by Allan N. Schore

Overview | Contents

A scientific take on the still-central therapeutic concept of “the unconscious.”

More than one hundred years after Freud began publishing some of his seminal theories, the concept of the unconscious still occupies a central position in many theoretical frameworks and clinical approaches. When trying to understand clients’ internal and interpersonal struggles it is almost inconceivable not to look for unconscious motivation, conflicts, and relational patterns. Clinicians also consider it a breakthrough to recognize how our own unconscious patterns have interacted with those of our clients.

Although clinicians use concepts such as the unconscious and dissociation, in actuality many do not take into account the newly emerging neuropsychological attributes of nonconscious processes. As a result, assumptions and lack of clarity overtake information that can become central in our clinical work.

This revolutionary book presents a new model of the unconscious, one that is continuing to emerge from the integration of neuropsychological research with clinical experience.

Drawing from clinical observations of specific therapeutic cases, affect theory, research into cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychological findings, the book presents an expanded picture of nonconscious processes. The model moves from a focus on dissociated affects, behaviors, memories, and the fantasies that are unconsciously created, to viewing unconscious as giving expression to whole patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving, patterns that are so integrated and entrenched as to make them our personality traits.

Topics covered include: the centrality of subcortical regions, automaticity, repetition, and biased memory systems; role of the amygdala and its sensitivity to fears in shaping and coloring unconscious self-systems; self-narratives; therapeutic enactments; therapeutic resistance; defensive systems and narcissism; therapeutic approaches designed to utilize some of the new understandings regarding unconscious processes and their interaction with higher level conscious ones embedded in the prefrontal cortex.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • June 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70901-8
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“A singular and novel work . . . . It is so refreshing . . . to see a more in depth approach to the inner world of the human self that does not neglect the role of the non-conscious.” — Metapsychology Online Reviews

“[A] persuasive argument for delving into the unconscious, so that clients can make enduring change. By citing recent research, developing cohesive theories, and providing exemplary cases, this book lights up the darkest recesses of the unconscious to improve our therapeutic perception. . . . [A] compelling update of modern psychodynamic psychotherapy. We recommend it to anyone interested in the unconscious, psychoanalysis, and interpersonal neurobiology.” — The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

“Ginot’s brilliantly researched book comes from a place of genuine sincerity. Her goal is to shed light upon an otherwise dark arena of the brain/mind. Her method of revelation comes not from laboratory trials, but from a reputable career of working with clients and experiencing, through those sessions, how the human mind works within its varied environments. . . . [T]his is a book worth referring to time and again as a guide for turning theory into practice.” — PsychCentral

“Ginot’s approach to the unconscious goes beyond the techniques of most clinicians: by integrating modern research, Ginot unearths connections between biology and the unconscious patterns often explored in psychoanalysis. . . . By integrating neuroscience with the unconscious, Ginot opens the door to her fellow clinicians, inviting them to take their therapy to the next level. . . . [I]deal for anyone involved in therapeutic work.” — Somatic Psychotherapy Today

“Sigmund Freud began his career as a neurologist and neuroanatomist, and he remained convinced throughout his life that one day psychoanalysis would reconnect with neuroscience. The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious fulfills his prediction, exploring the inner dynamics of psychology in the light of modern neuroscience. By providing a high-level interdisciplinary integration, this readable and engaging book furthers the understanding of difficult clinical problems for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts.” — Lewis Aron, PhD, Director, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis

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