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Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships Paperback – May 24, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; 5.2.2010 edition (May 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141433415X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414334158
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Thompson, a Christian psychiatrist, looks at the mind-body connection and explains how understanding human stories can improve peopleÖs relationships with each other, God, and the world. Using the Bible and changing oneÖs thought patterns creates a happier and more devoted person. £God can work through your mind to transform you,¥ the author writes. Thompson uses case studies to assist readers in writing their own stories in order to take their place in the world with God. Readers can then explore their memories, the £rupture¥ of human sin, and healing through the New Testament, in an attempt to find deeper meaning in life. This is a journey for those who want to change the way they think about God. The author encourages engaging in spiritual disciplines (meditation, prayer, fasting, and study) and forming small groups in the local church that employ confession as a means of renewal. This is a tremendous book for the committed Christian seeker.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Our minds and our hearts are connected. We cannot separate what we do with our brains and our relationships from what we do with God. But how exactly does the process work? And is it possible to improve the way we think and relate, resulting in deeper, closer connections with God and the people we love?
In Anatomy of the Soul, psychiatrist Curt Thompson shows how neuro-scientific findings about our brain functions align with what the Bible teaches about how to develop the mind of Christ. As we engage in spiritual practices such as prayer and confession, our actual neural networks are renewed. In essence, God is using our brains as a signpost, supporting and sharpening our understanding of him—and enabling us to reflect his character in the way we live our lives and influence our communities.
This profound book will help you gain a better understanding of how God wired your brain and how spiritual practices can help you, not only improve your relationships with God and other people, but also deal with issues such as anxiety, addiction, unhealthy guilt, or depression. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Curt Thompson, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia. He graduated from Wright State University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatric residency at Temple University Hospital. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His clinical focus has been the treatment of adults, adolescents, and families. He is actively engaged in learning and education as he supervises clinical employees and facilitates ongoing education groups for patients and colleagues. Throughout his career, his main focus of clinical and research interest has been the integration of psychiatry, its associated disciplines, and Christian spirituality. He is a frequent speaker on the topic at workshops, conferences, and retreats.

For the past several years that interest has taken a more specific turn as he has gained expertise in the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology. Thompson believes that the findings in interpersonal neurobiology reflect important tenets of Christian faith that enable us to reflect on, understand, and experience that same faith in fresh, trustworthy ways. He is now training other clinicians in the same material.

He and his wife, Phyllis, are the parents of two teenage children and reside in Arlington, Virginia. He serves as an elder at Washington Community Fellowship in Washington, D.C. His duties there have included preaching, teaching, and oversight for the fellowship's healing prayer ministry. He and his wife (a licensed clinical social worker) frequently provide premarital counseling services for couples in their congregation.

Customer Reviews

This book is very well written for the layman and is very enlightening.
Author Curt Thompson explains in detail how we can heal our past and learn to have an amazing relationship with God, one that is fulfilling and loving.
C. Williams
He mentions keeping the brain active through regular intervals aerobic activity, focused attention exercises and novel learning experiences.
Julie Morrison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By J. Matlack on June 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
First, I must make it clear that I have interacted with this book in ways which the average reader probably never will. For starters, I myself am in the process (though currently paused) of earning a degree in a psychology field. This was, in fact, one of the reasons I selected this book. However, my academic appreciation for Anatomy of the Soul did not keep me from appreciating it on other levels. I'll attempt to briefly discuss a few of them below.

Literary, Dr. Curt Thompson is a master storyteller. I'm willing to admit that my own interest in counseling/psychology probably has a lot to do with my fascination of his stories, but he illustrates his points in a fascinating way through real-life examples. On the other hand, his metaphors can be over-exaggerated at times, and he has accepted too many of the modern chic elements of writing, but the book is definitely engaging and well-written. The structure of the book does oscillate between the scientific, theological, and practical, but Thompson does an excellent job of keeping each type of section compelling.

One fairly major quibble with the book format is the way in which his Integration Exercises have been randomly inserted throughout the book. These are several hands-on exercises, described in a page or two, which readers may use to help integrate Thompson's points into their lives. The idea of including these exercises was brilliant, but they occur in random places, many times breaking up sentences or paragraphs. The first few confused me greatly since the only differentiation between them and the surrounding text is a slight change of font. The biggest problem with this approach, besides being confusing, is that the readers will probably skip them to finish the rest of Thompson's thought and forget to come back.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By melissa on May 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
'Anatomy of the Soul' by Curt Thompson, MD is excellent. Just excellent. He makes connections between how our brain works and puts it together with our spiritual self. I was amazed, and continue to feel that way as I use the suggestions in his book to come to grips with my own struggles.

And while Dr. Thompson calls on the reader to attend to past experiences in order to deal with the present, it's not about placing blame. The exercises instead are meant to reprogram the brain---to help the individual live a more joyful life.

He sites Scripture to show how much God loves His people. We get into ruts (literally) in our heads that cause us to be repeatedly self-destructive. By changing the pathways our thoughts and actions take us, we're able to focus on God's love for us, and turn away from thoughts of negativity.

I love this book, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand aspects of their own personality that might not always make sense. I felt like I had my own personal psychiatrist---someone who looked beyond the surface and offered practical, yet spiritual help. But be sure to have a pencil in hand while reading this book. I've marked up my copy thoroughly.

(This book was provided for review by Tyndale House Publishers.)
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. Williams on June 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Anatomy of the Soul - Surprising connections between neuroscience and spiritual practices that can transform your life" by Curt Thompson is a compelling read! Despite what science has tried to get us to believe, neurology and spirituality are connected.

I have long been a believer in the power of our mind, and when I saw the subtitle to this book, I was immediately intrigued. Author Curt Thompson does a great job explaining for the average reader just how this is possible.

Most reviewers of this book have given a general overview, but something has been on my mind all my life, growing up with a family member who is an atheist. Never for one minute understanding how that person could possibly not have any faith, not believe in God......I could not wrap my brain around that. Or why some people can easily share their faith, willingly and openly pray with their families and friends, yet others just cannot imagine doing so? Then along comes this book and it is explained to me, so I am thrilled to share this part of the book with you.

Dr. Thompson explains that our attachments from childhood can make all the difference. There are 4 attachment possibilities:


1. Secure Attachment: Children who are blessed to become securely attached have one common theme - their emotions were validated during childhood. They had parents who were empathetic. As an example, let's say Sally is crying because she has scraped her knee. An empathetic parent would come to her aid asking how she is doing rather than curtly telling her to stop crying like a baby. These children feel understood and connected, and the universe makes sense to them.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tony Myles on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Some books wrinkle your brain when you read the cover, and "Anatomy of the Soul" is no slouch. The subtitle is "Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships." In a nutshell, this resource I received for free from the Tyndale Blogging Network explores the connection between the mind and your faith in the way it impacts how you relate with others. This involves exploring your past (and your memories of it) to better understand why you are where you are and the things you are pursuing to find a deeper meaning in life.

I'm not kidding when I say this - it's high-end reading. It will change the way you think about God, and I mean that literally... the way/manner you "think" about God. The book contains some well-told everyday stories that harness a recognition of otherwise "heady" scientific terms, allowing the average reader to better track with some concepts that are typically found in academic circles. The big takeaway from this is a better awareness of how neurological pathways work in order to create and strengthen your integrity in living out your beliefs.

The main downside is that any references to biblical truths are more summarized than anchored. The author offers some decent ideas in how to better grow your faith, but without clear teaching these ideas remain opinions at best. It left my final takeaway less inclined to recommend the book and more apt to quote parts of it.
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