Australia Counselling Founder Clinton Power interviewed internationally acclaimed author, award-winning educator and child psychiatrist Dr Dan Siegel about his new book called Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.

In this interview Dr Siegel discusses:
  • The benefits, challenges and purpose of adolescence.
  • Some of the most common myths of adolescence
  • What is happening in the brain of a teenager.
  • How the teenage brain is involved when it comes to risk-taking behaviour.
  • How to best support a teenager who may be struggling.
  • How we can empower adolescents who are going through such huge changes.

Listen to the audio in the SoundCloud player above.

About Dr Daniel Siegel:

Dr Dan Siegel on The Australia Counselling PodcastDaniel J. Siegel, M.D., is an internationally acclaimed author, award-winning educator, and child psychiatrist. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he also serves as a co-investigator at the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions and communities. His books include “Mindsight,” “The Developing Mind,” “The Mindful Brain,” “The Mindful Therapist,” “Parenting From the Inside Out,” and “The Whole-Brain Child.” He is the Founding Editor of the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which includes “Healing Trauma,” “The Power of Emotion,” and “Trauma and the Body.” He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. For more information on Dr. Siegel’s work, please visit DrDanSiegel.com.

 

Books written by Dr Siegel:

Transcript:

Clinton Power: Hello, this is Clinton Power. It is my great pleasure to be speaking today with Dr. Daniel Siegel, who is an internationally acclaimed author, award winning educator, and child psychiatrist. Hello, Dan, how are you today?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Clinton, I’m doing fine. Thanks for having me on board.

Clinton Power: Now, I wanted to talk today about your wonderful book that was published this year. It was a New York Time’s bestseller called Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. May be to begin, tell us how did your interest in adolescence come about that led you writing the book?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Well, it came about both by my personal experience having adolescents at home and also by being a therapist who works with adolescents. I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist. I was really interested in combining those personal and professional interactions I’d have and how confusing they were with the science of adolescence. As a scientist I try to pull together all the field of science, and I want to look at what the science of adolescence across the globe would tell us about what this period is about? That’s what led to the book Brainstorm being written.

Clinton Power: It was just like you had a live experiment in your own household going on?

Dr. Dan Siegel: It was. The kids that are now in their early to mid-20s have been the subjects in the books I’ve written for parents before, and in this one they were more active in going over what I would be able to write about them, but I think they’re very amused by their dad trying to make sense of what’s happening with them.

Clinton Power: Fantastic. Tell us what do you see are the … Perhaps the benefits, the challenges, and the purpose of adolescence, because it is a time of enormous change.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Absolutely. Well, these changes were before said to be due to things like raging hormones or immaturity or even when it comes to the brain, just saying a part of the brain was not developed yet. In terms of that, those views are really not quite true, and sometimes they’re even outright wrong. If you take them one by one, hormones do rise, but to call them “raging” is actually misleading, and it’s disempowering. Instead what we look at is how the brain is restructuring itself. The idea is that it’s just pure immaturity actually misses the point that adolescence is and of itself a necessary period of development that is not really immaturity, that is just waiting to become something else. It is in and of itself something that’s very important in our lives.

Then finally the issue of just the part of the brain that’s immature, well, it’s actually remodeling that’s going on, and when you think about a house that you’re taking, let’s say, a one-storey house to a more intricate three-storey house, it’s going to be remodeled and then changed, but it’s not really … You don’t call it an immature house, it’s becoming something else. In the changes of course there are things that may not work optimally, and we need to understand, but those are so we can actually make life during this period the best it can be.

Clinton Power: I love this actually you mentioning that because that is such a common myth that people can talk generally about the immature brain or the adolescence immature. There is actually this remodeling going on. Maybe let’s touch on that a bit further, what are some of the other common myths about adolescence that you’ve heard, and you addressed in this book?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah. Well, one of them sadly is in the title of some books and often the title of the articles, they’ll say, “Your teen is crazy,” or “Why is your teen out of their mind?” It’s really insulting and disempowering to say that teenagers are crazy. Now, if you want to be literal about it; during the adolescent period, which is not just teenage years, which is another myth, it goes well into the 20s, there is an increased time when certain psychiatric disorders may emerge, like depression or manic-depressive illness, and even some disorders that are what you could call “Psychotic disorders,” that is where your reality testing is often. You can use the word “Insane,” but those are very rare.

To say that all teenagers are crazy or just because as an adult you don’t understand them, you call them nuts, it’s actually … It’s unfair and it’s destructive. What I hope and not to get too serious about it but I hope we can change the conversation about it, because when you actually learn what the truths are, you then can do something about it both as an adult to support adolescents, but if you’re an adolescent you can actually do things to support your own growth because it’s the remodeling of the brain and that’s something you can actually be empowered to learn about, and with your new knowledge you can do something to change your brain in an optimal way.

Clinton Power: Yeah. It’s such a time of enormous development. I think I hear what you’re saying, there is … This is an essential part of every child’s development. It’s not something that can be bypassed or, like I’d say, even sped up even if we are frustrated with a teen or an adolescent.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah, exactly. I mean some people say, “Well, hey, let’s just get rid of the term adolescence and just say your childhood and you have adulthood.” That really misses the point that in many mammalian species besides human beings there is a distinct period of adolescence, that involves remodeling of the brain, but even more than that it involves certain behaviors that are different, certain ways of interacting with your peers versus your parents that are different. It’s not something we made up. It’s not just the advanced childhood. A 15-year-old is not an eight-year-old with seven more years of life. They’re actually quite different. The changes that happen are pretty distinct. I mean you know about them, you can actually do something to optimize them.

Clinton Power: Dan, let’s dive in a little bit further, because you’ve said the brain is remodeling and this is I think a really important concept that you put into very user-friendly language in your book, which is actually I believe specifically written for teens and parents, is that right?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yes. For adolescents of any age to read and anyone who supports, any adult like parents, teachers, coaches, therapists, and even what’s been interesting about it as we can talk about later on, even people without adolescence active in their lives who want to figure out what happened to them when they were adolescents, they actually are finding reading the book very useful to understand, and then actually make their lives better now. If anyone who is with adolescents or once was an adolescent is finding it useful, or anyone who is an adolescent at this moment could … I wrote it actually for an adolescent to read to increase the way we can communicate across the generational divide.

Clinton Power: Okay, wonderful. We know the remodeling is underway. What else is happening in the brain of a teenager?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Well, the remodeling includes two things. It includes pruning, which is the removal of previously laid down connections among neurons and even some neurons themselves. That’s the pruning. The second part of remodeling is myelin formation. Myelin is a healthy sheath that takes the connected neurons and makes them communicate with each other 3,000 times more effectively. Both speed and coordination is increased when you myelinate. The overall purpose of brain remodeling is to increase what’s called, “Integration in the brain.”

Now, what that means is you’re able to take certain areas and differentiate them. That’s the pruning part, and then you take those areas that are pruned and you connect them even more strongly. That’s the myelinating part. The differentiation of pruning and the linkage with the myelination is what’s the called the “Integration.” The overall goal of brain remodeling is to make that brain much more integrated. There are various steps along the way that also happen, we can talk about, but ultimately you can do something as an adolescent. If you are an adult supporting an adolescent, you can help the adolescent do things with the focus of attention to actually optimize brain integration. This exercise is called, “Mind sight exercises” in the book. Basically that’s the purpose of adolescent brain remodeling is to create a more integrated brain.

Clinton Power: When we think about adolescence in teens, particularly in the media we always … There’s lot of focus on that risky behavior, increased sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, how does that relate to what you’re saying about the changes in the brain?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah. Well, the way we understand those changes certainly involve a couple of things. One, hormones do rise, and so you go from being sexually not mature to becoming sexually maturing with puberty. That involves the maturation of the testicles and the ovaries. When you do that you’re having hormones rise, not rage. Now, with rising hormones, sexual hormones you’re going to have sexual feelings, sexual drive, sexual behaviors, that’s a natural part of puberty, that’s a healthy part of developing. What can be difficult is the age of puberty has gotten younger, and younger, and younger in recent years so that whereas 150 years ago we might have had puberty around 15 or 16 years of age for a female, now it can be 12, 11, 10, sometimes even 9 years of age.

Puberty, the onset of sexual maturation can actually be much earlier, and then the period of adolescence, this period between childhood dependency and adult responsibility had gotten much, much longer. When you combine that with the idea that you get sexual maturation before brain maturation with this younger puberty, that leads to some big problems because you can have a lot of sexual acting out without the brain mechanisms needed to actually inhibit behaviors that can be inappropriate or even dangerous, sometimes sexually transmitted diseases.

That’s a serious, serious issue. Again, it’s not hormones raging, they’re rising. The parts of the brain that allow you to block an impulse called impulse control in the early teen years they are really not well equipped with impulse control circuitry. That’s a real issue. However, we know there is a second thing that goes on, and then involves the part of the brain that we didn’t realize was changing in the remodeling, that we’ve now learned about, and that is called the “Reward circuit.” If you imagine that the brain has a lower, a middle, and a top area, this reward circuit connects all three areas together. The deep motivational emotional brain stem at the lower area, the middle evaluating limbic area, and then the higher decision-making and consciousness creating cortex are these three layers; the reward system connects all three.

What we now know, and we are learning more and more every day is that the reward system of the adolescence changes in the following way, if you put the studies together, essentially what happens is the chemicals, the neurotransmitter that allowed this reward system to work is called “Dopamine,” and dopamine baseline levels drop, but release levels rise in a big way, that is, they’re higher, much higher.

What that means is the main thing that dopamine is released by is novelty, something new. Nature likely has created this change in the reward system so that you as an individual are driven to try something new which means you will get away from your familiar, safe, comfortable home so that you’ll be able to go away from the home, where your birth parents were basically, to mix it up with other members of your species away from your very genetically-related family members. That’s the whole idea of it.

You’ve got to get away from the home for biological reasons, but how do you do that? You drop dopamine and raise the release levels so that you get a little cut scene when things are just familiar you feel bored. Then you want to do something new. Now the downside of that when you combine this reward system change with something called “Hyper-rational thinking,” which likely involves the limbic area and cortex, this remodeling allows you hyper-rational means, you get excited about something, you have a new car, I can drive a 100 miles an hour, what would that be in kilometers, very fast.

Clinton Power: Very fast.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Very fast, because the speedometer goes that high, cool. I might hurt somebody but chances are I won’t and then you rationalize why it’s okay to drive that fast. That’s called hyper-rational thinking. When you combine this dopamine drive to do something exciting, which unfortunately means dangerous often with hyper-rational thinking means you just emphasize the exciting part of the choice and you de-emphasize your concern about the bottom side, the downside of a choice. What that means basically is that the study show adolescents know there’s danger. They are informed usually. In fact they don’t have what a lot of adults think they have, which is, “Oh, I mean you are in danger.” No, they know they can be hurt. They just don’t care.

When you learn this as an adolescent you can actually learn to get in touch with what I call “Internal compass,” so that you realize your hyper-rational thinking may make your decision-making lean toward doing dangerous things, but your guts and your heart may actually give you a signal that say, “You know something, even though this is … I’m thinking this is a good idea in my heart and in my gut, not my emotional excitement, but my gut feelings, this intuition …” Let’s call it that rather than just emotion, “My intuition says I shouldn’t do this.” This is where the mind sight scale of developing internal compass can even help reduce these dangerous behaviors theoretically because what you are going to do is you’re going to make it so that the adolescent has their own internal guide, that is the neat and in some ways stronger than hyper-rational thinking.

Clinton Power: Dan, are you saying that the risk taking behavior is often a response to the drop in dopamine, it’s almost like a like a creative response to try and increase dopamine.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Well, it’s two things, the baseline level is dropped, so you feel restless with what’s familiar and then when you do something new and that could be just going out with friends for a walk or it could be even driving a car really fast, the release levels are so high it captivates your reward systems, that says that was good. Let me do it again.

Let me find even more exciting ways, my friends are watching let me really push the envelope even further. The reward system changes with the dopamine release levels being higher and the baseline levels being lower is basically a profile that says doing something thrilling is going to really be much more compelling to me, me as an adolescent than it was when I was a child or than it will be when I’m an adult.

I was just driving in a car, I got a ride and some guy asked me what I did. I told him what I wrote, now he says I’m going to ask you a question, you know now that I’m 30 I don’t go out and do all these wild crazy things that I used to do, I can’t believe I did now I’m 30, I look back and I say what happened to me in such times, that’s the dopamine system, because it’s really … It’s so much more useful and accurate it’s basically because it’s true just to talk about that you could do something about that rather that talking about raging hormones.

Well, I did because my hormones are raging, what are you going to do, like filter your blood and give them anger management therapy or something, these raging hormones. This is why knowing the truth is actually really, really empowering because there is something you can do about it.

Clinton Power: Yeah, many of the listeners that I podcast they are counsellors and therapists, in Australia and across the world, and perhaps many of them are working with teens and I know a great majority are certainly working with the parents, so people that are related to teens. Maybe if we can just shift focus a little bit here to talk about how can therapists best support and maybe even education is part of this as well … For parents that it is … Maybe they’re struggling with their teen.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Absolutely, well there is an acronym that I used in the book called, “ESSENCE,” and for any therapist or parent I think it’s a great set of four items to remember in addition to the remodeling that have been going on you say what is the essence of what this remodeling is really is about. The acronym ESSENCE is the word essence and the E-S of essence stands for emotional spark. Therapist should really understand that there is more intense emotion probably because that’s a process that evokes motion that’s one way to think about emotion is an evoked motion. You want to get this kid, get him ready to move out, to get themselves activated.

Now, the downside is and this you can as a therapist or a parent you really can learn to communicate with and support adolescence in a very different way when you understand that they can feel very irritable, their moods can be very labile, emotions can come and go really fast and the overall mood cannot be within as you would expect. Give them space; give them room to feel whatever they’re feeling. That is a difference between being irritable from being depressed. We need to learn as therapists how to distinguish between those two, but what’s really important for a parent or a therapist is to understand this emotionality is a part of what the adolescent brain changes are, it’s the emotional spark.

Instead of pathologizing and saying that was bad, bad, bad, actually teach the adolescence what emotions are and how to ride the wave of their emotions. Instead of if you picture it like on the beach and instead of being flooded by these waves and being crushed in the shore or just avoiding the surf all together and just not doing anything emotional. We need to teach adolescents to ride the wave, to surf those waves. I mean they learn that skill; it’s a scale of emotional intelligence, which is very useful throughout their life span.

Clinton Power: Beautiful, beautiful.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah, so you can be a surf-instructor. Now it doesn’t means of course you as an adult need to know how to surf your own waves, which is good for us too. It’s a win-win situation. The great thing of that emotional spark, it’s a passion and vitality that you can feel when you when I got dinner and my kids and their friends you can feel there’s laughter, there’s tears, there’s intensity that’s really quite invigorating if you see it through the lens of an emotional spark rather than, oh my god what’s wrong with these kids. They’re doing this and doing that, and how we expect things to be shapes how we perceive them. When you look for the positive, you actually can not only see it there, when you didn’t see it before but you can actually support it coming out. That’s important as therapeutic centers.

Clinton Power: Dan, did you ever see any of the movies of the Twilight series?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yes, I did see half of one.

Clinton Power: Because for me there was something about that, those movies that really captured adolescence for me and I think it’s what you just touched even now, that incredible intensity, that things feel like life or death.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Absolutely and as you’ll see with the next part of Essence there is a life and death aspect to it. What’s really interesting, I remember about the Twilight part, I did see yes, it was this fullness that I think it captures adult’s memories because if you look at adult memory research there is a bump … If you give a bunch of neutral words, even adults besides what happened just that morning, even adults will come up with memories related to that neutral world, that comes from their adolescence. For all of us adolescence is like the bomb. It’s like a big, big deal. I think about my best friend from adolescence is still my best friend. I mean we met when we were 16 and everything is just an ongoing conversation from that point onward, when we are way above 16 now.

Clinton Power: And what of the other letters of ESSENCE?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah, so E-S and then there is S-E of course; social engagement, and this is the life and death thing you mentioned, Clinton. Here is the deal, we are mammals and when mammals leave the home nest, if they’re not with other adolescents, they’re not socially engaged with other members of their age group, the base is going to be lunch. Part of those feelings of life and death for adolescents is this evolutionarily acquired the brain stem limbic process that says hey, I’ve got to use my cortex to engage all the parts of my brain in connecting with others.

Now for a parent when you hear this, at least you’ll understand when your adolescent comes and says, dad, mom, I have to have that shoe. I know it costs all this money but please I got to get this shoe, please, please, please. You don’t have to get the shoe if it’s really expensive but you go to understand and connect to the deep feeling of life and death quality, and even some parents will say you’re making this a matter of life and death, what’s wrong with you.

Well, it’s what’s right with them. This is what they’ve inherited from millions of years of evolution and those individuals that didn’t have it got eaten and they didn’t make babies. It’s because they’re survivors that they want to find social engagement. Now that’s the reason for it. The downside of course is it becomes so important to have a membership that you can give up morality and this is called peer pressure. We want to teach adolescents, okay, your lower areas of your brain are going to drive you to need membership, but keep in mind that you’re at risk of just caving in, not only when people reject you, but you’ll give in to try to get acceptance, to do things with people that may not actually agree with what they’re doing. They may do destructive things.

We want to give adolescence that inner compass again, to guide them, not only to use some of their emotional spark in right in those ways but for social engagement, to understand we are created within relationships so adolescence can have a sense of choice and realize the first group that they’re rejected from, they are not to be desperate to get membership, rejection hurts, just like physical pain you move on and you find the people who are your like minded individuals to be connected to.

Social engagement has a downside, the peer pressure, the upside is social intelligence. Every study of happiness, how long you live, longevity and even your mental health and your medical health are related to supportive social relationship. We learned them in adolescence as we move away from our parents, and our parents can feel rejected but as parents we need to understand this is a natural part of the adolescent period.

Clinton Power: Wonderful, now just on that point as well Dan, imagining when we think about teens that are socially isolated and very disconnected, they’re often … They can be in danger, can’t they. Does that connect with what you’re talking about social engagement?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Exactly, exactly. This is the … If you just think this way that the mind and the self that comes in the mind is not only shaped by relationships it’s created within relationships then you realize that when you are isolated, literally yourself coming from your mind and the mind being collective as much as internal is really being compromised and so we need to collectively support each other. When you see an adolescent who is isolated like that, wherever they are, in the middle school, high school, college, I know sadly a daughter of a friend of mine who … She became so isolated she just couldn’t go on living, because it was just too painful for her and no one in her college dorm reached out to support her, so, so painful for obviously for her and for everyone for my friends.

These relationships are not like icing on the cake, they are the cake, and so we have to realize that they’re not just extra, they’re the core. The way I’d say from a scientific point of view is the mind is both within you and between you, and this is how you can realize the essential importance of social engagement, the second part of essence.

Clinton Power: I love that, and what are the remaining letters in this acronym?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah so ES, Emotional Spark; SE, social Engagement; next one is N, Novelty; and we’ve already kind of talked about that with change in the reward system, the reason nature has made you driven for novelty is because the home that you grow up in, usually, not for all kids but usually it’s of course familiar but it’s also safe and certain and this is really nice.

Well if you as a parent, want your adolescent, not be living at home when they are 50 years old you’ve got to realize they’ve got to have a drive to move away from you, to try something new which also means uncertain can be uncomfortable and it can be dangerous instead of safe. It’s almost par for the course that novelty drives you to do things that are uncertain which can involve risk. Now that’s the downside and in fact for cross population studies adolescents between 12 and 24, they’ve got three times the likelihood of a permanent injury or even death for some preventable causes. That’s a serious increase even though their bodies are healthier than any other time.

It’s the downsize of novelty the upside is, it’s courage, it’s courage to move out, it’s courage to go into a world that even now is ever more challenging. I mean just read the newspaper and I just want to stay home. It’s hard for any of us but it’s really hard for an adolescent who is driven to go out there and the world now is now becoming terrifying. We need to be really supportive of this and the novelty seeking and realize that the upside of it is courage and we want to support that courage as adolescents move through this period.

Clinton Power: Yes and I guess we can support adolescents in having healthy novelty experiences that aren’t too high in the risk factor.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Exactly but they’ve recognized they need to do something. I mean I had a friend of mine write me this beautiful email, she said a 14 year old got a sweater from her/his father who was traveling and he … Got the mother a similar kind of sweater or whatever, and so he said I really appreciate that my dad give me the sweater but I need something new, I need something new I don’t know, why oh, yeah I read Brainstorm, it’s the novelty. I can’t just have the same sweater you have; something different, and she wrote me.

The email was so beautiful, because listen when adolescents understand this and I teach the lower middle schools and high schools and I teach them this directly and I say, “Look, I also can tell all sorts of things but then it’s up to you, you need to understand how your brain is working and this is what your reward system is doing and is driving you to seek novelty and they’re all cracking up.” I say so you know you doing it all sorts of ways but let’s make it constructive instead of destructive and that’s your choice. You can make this be a horrible situation or you can have fun with it. Let’s empower you instead of discouraging you. They really appreciate that.

Clinton Power: Wonderful, and so we have CE.

Dr. Dan Siegel: CE, yeah creative exploration and this is the fact that the … What nature is doing basically is having adolescents push against the status quo. Basically if you think about creative exploration as imagining a world that could be rather than what children do generally is taking the world that is and soak in the knowledge of adults. Adolescents are actually built to say okay I got it. This is what the world is and now what could the world be.

Now we generally don’t support that kind of creative thinking and creative exploration in schools which is very, very sad, so we’re thinking about redesigning middle schools and high schools. What it means for the individual is that you are developing the imagination and the strength to look beyond what’s just straight in front of you. For parents what it means of course is they can feel rejected because they’re not just thinking with gods and goddess or heroes and heroines. We’re not just the amazing people that the kids often think we are and adolescents goes oh my god, am I disappointed.

You’ve really fallen from the pedestal. You are not this kind of fantastic creature I thought you were so that hurts as an adult. I remember going through it with my son the first time and our daughter the same thing even though I’ve been through it already. It was really painful, but the reason for it is for the individual to really start getting ready to leave the home and the downside of course is kids can feel very demoralized, they can feel disillusioned, they can feel despair because what they thought was a world that was kind of fantastic they have been handed has actually got a lot more problems and the adults that they thought were gone be their saviors are actually just fragile human beings.

Like we all are, so that’s a big, big loss really, it’s kind of grief if you will, losing that view. The upside is imagination. For the individual it’s the excitement of imagining a new world and creating new stuff, for the species or the human family if you think about it. The major innovations in not only, music and art but also science and technology come primarily from adolescent minds. You can say why is that? Well, I believe very deeply adolescence is a period of time and adolescents as individuals are really the reason that the human species for good or for bad, has adapted to every aspect of this planet, because … Here is one way to think about it. We go through childhood, we learn what is, we enter adolescence we imagine what could be. We figure out where we’re going to take our place in society and then we do that thing, our niche and then at the end of the day we’re really tired.

We want to just have some dinner come home and watch some TV and go to sleep. We’re exhausted, but the world is forever changing. Adolescents have got the emotional spark, the social engagement and collaboration, the emotional spark with their passion, the novelty seeking with the courage and have creative exploration with their imagination, actually imagine the new world to adapt to the ever-changing world. The reason our species is so adaptive I believe is because of adolescence.

Clinton Power: It is sounds to me like adolescence have the power to change the world.

Dr. Dan Siegel: I think they do and we need to empower them to do that instead of putting them down. We need to put them up. I think they are the hope for the future. I really, really do. It’s so interesting when adolescents have read Brainstorm they go, oh maybe this is why my mom or dad are mad at me, and I go what you mean. They go, they’re jealous that they’ve lost the essence.

Clinton Power: Now let’s talk about your book, Dan, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. It’s had such an incredible reception and now it’s been … Welcomed and received in so many areas and by so many people, and one of the things I love about your book is that you actually have a lot of exercises that do help empower adolescence. Tell us, just touch on what is in the book for those that maybe you’re interested in finding out more about it.

Dr. Dan Siegel: You mean for the exercises or the …

Clinton Power: Yes.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Yeah. Well, the main chapters which take you through the science and stories or illuminate the science and then the mind side exercises are in there, are systematically in a very supportive way for any adolescent or adult to actually use the focus of their attention, to look at the inner world of self or other, that includes mind sight, insight and empathy, and then to create, the third part of mind sight is integration.

It literally teaches you how to differentiate certain experiences you have within you and your brain for example and then to link them. It teaches you how to differentiate different aspects between you and other people and then link them in passionate communication, so whether the energy and information flow is within you or between you and others it supports insight, empathy and then integration. Then as you do that what’s really exciting about it is that mind sight insight, empathy and integration is three things. Basically mind sight skills could be applied at any time.

For an adolescence reading the book they can actually optimize brain integration and then for an adult reading the book if you look at the most important factors to help your brains stay young throughout your adulthood, because the adult continues throughout, it will be those four factors, passion of an emotional spark, the collaboration connection of social engagement, the courage of novelty trying new things and the imagination that comes along with creative exploration. What’s great about it is, even adults do the mind sight exercises and they can find their lives changing in very positive ways.

Clinton Power: Fantastic well as I mentioned I mean this is a book for so many audiences, of teen’s parents. I think the therapists listening to our podcast will find it very helpful in their work with families and young people.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Fantastic.

Clinton Power: Yeah, how can people find out more about you Dan and where can they get your book?

Dr. Dan Siegel: Sure if you go to our website which is drdansiegel.com; D-R-D-A-N-S-I-E-G-E-L.com you’ll find a whole wealth of things to do for therapists, there are extensive programs, we have a 96-hour training program, we’ve got also some individual programs for parents as a bunch of parenting things for adolescents, they are things you could do, there is a wheel of awareness practice on there that we refer to as a mind sight skill practice, lots of things. Please come join us and either online or in person at the various things that we’re involved in.

Clinton Power: Fantastic. We will also put the links to your website, and the books of course available on Amazon and in Orkut bookstore. I know it’s been flying off the shelves for the majority of this year, so congratulations on another wonderful book and for all you do. I love the way you’re able to take such complex ideas and concepts and really make them into easy to understand adjustable ideas that, that just make it them so user friendly and really help us understand more about the mind in this case adolescence. Thanks Dan for speaking to us today. I really appreciate you giving up good time and your incredible generosity.

Dr. Dan Siegel: My pleasure and great to speak with you and you have a wonderful week.

Clinton Power: Thank you so much. Bye for now.

Dr. Dan Siegel: Bye-bye.