#340 – Brain Lateralization and Western Culture with Iain McGilchrist MD

Iain McGilchrist M.D. is a former Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He was a Research Fellow in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. He has published original articles and research papers in a wide range of publications on topics in literature, medicine and psychiatry. His latest book, published by Yale in November 2009, is The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

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6 Comments

  1. jp
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    compare his ‘full body psychothereapy’ with the approach of previously interviewed Stan Tatkin, who in fact uses such an approach [see ‘love and war’

  2. Dr. Michael Ocana
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Such an excellent interview!
    I wish you could have gone on for another hour.
    You have inspired me to post in my blog again.

    http://teenshrinktalk.blogspot.ca/2013/03/divided-brain-divided-soul.html

  3. Penny Mckenna
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Wonderful interview! As an old 30 year teacher in a new 2nd career, recently graduating with my MA in Counseling, I was fascinated and overwhelmed with all the connections this interview sparked – sociological, political, educational. Brain biology and trauma are the areas that I wish to focus in. This and the other interviews you have done in this area are both educating me quickly and pointing me towards the cutting edge info and training I need. An aside, through my training, I observed a basic antipathy towards CBT as a primary therapeutic modality, prefering to approach through listening and responding to who is in front of me eclectically. Listening to this interview, it hit me that CBT is “left-brain dominant therapy”. I was professionally tested in the 90’s when educational brain theory(Learning Styles) was somewhat popular and pronounced “very right-brain dominant and probably having difficulty fitting into the left brain-dominant world of elementary public education”. This had always been true and I felt relief from the super-ego pounding on this I’d taken for the first time. There is so much I want to learn and apply and yet tentatively it is already beginning…thanks Dr. Dave. I’m off to Amazon to buy a book!

  4. omar
    Posted March 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Excellent episode, what a major book and thinker you’ve introduced to me. Thanks! It seems that Gilchrist’s argument will provide the ‘hard evidence’ for what a lot of people feel intuitively these days. I also think that if you’re into Jung, you’d dig the book.

  5. Posted March 10, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    thank you for the interesting interview with McGilchrist (I also very much enjoyed your interview with Mark Solms. How can you manage all these diverse interviews in such an interesting and intelligent fashion, I ask myself).

    Quite interesting was your discussion of language with him, as well as the corpus callosum and gender issue. I especially appreciated your question concerning the psychotherapeutic value of his approach – this talk of hemispheres is quite interesting but to what practical/therapeutic use does it lead?  And your summary along with its caveat was a fine service to the listener.

    Concerning the hemispheres: John Cutting’s (whose influence on McGilchrist is at least as great as that of Louis Sass) interestingly enough offered a quite different view on the hemispheres in his latest work ‘A Critique of Psychopathology’ where he acknowledges the rise of left hemisphere dominance without seeing this ‘as a malign event, leading ultimtely to our demise as a species’ and seeing the ‘spiritual’ and ‘aesthetic’ very much at home in the left hemisphere

  6. simon
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    thanks Dave!

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