Books by Fredric Schiffer

Released: Sept. 17, 1998

A psychiatrist argues for an intriguing theory about the psychological nature of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Schiffer, who teaches at Harvard Medical School and attends at McClean, its psychiatric hospital, asserts that each hemisphere has its own mind with its own "motivations, behaviors, memories, and temperaments." As he reports, studies with people whose brain hemispheres have been surgically separated provide facinating evidence of the existence of two separate minds in one body. Schiffer's involvment with split-brain research inspired him to develop a technique for tapping into either the right or left hemisphere of an intact brain by means of special goggles that restrict vision to either the extreme left or right (left hemisphere controls right eye vision, and vice versa). He found that some patients reported strong differences in their emotional state, their perception of themselves, and their worldview when the restrictive goggles isolated one hemisphere. In Schiffer's analysis, the restrictive goggles enable the troubled mind and the healthier, more mature mind to reveal themselves. Using this technique with patients suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, addiction, and stress-induced heart disease, Schiffer illustrates how dual-brain therapy is able to reach out to the troubled mind and help it. He provides extensive lightly edited transcripts of his therapy sessions with these patients to document the process. In a concluding self-help chapter, readers are encouraged to experiment by covering first one eye and then the other to see whether they can detect a mood change, and if so, to begin a dialogue between their healthy and troubled selves to bring about a more balanced, happy, and productive relationship between them. Constructs a theoretical bridge between neuroscience and psychology the soundness of which remains to be tested. (b&w illustraitons) Read full book review >