Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millennium

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9780471469858: Masters of the Mind: Exploring the Story of Mental Illness from Ancient Times to the New Millennium
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The compelling story of the quest to understand the human mind - and its diseases

This engaging presentation of our evolving understanding of the human mind and the meaning of mental illness asks the questions that have fascinated philosophers, researchers, clinicians, and ordinary persons for millennia: What causes human behavior? What processes underlie personal functioning and psychopathology, and what methods work best to alleviate disorders of the mind? Written by Theodore Millon, a leading researcher in personality theory and psychopathology, it features dozens of illuminating profiles of famous clinicians and philosophers.

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An enlightening study of how philosophers and clinicians throughout history have understood the mind and mental illness

What is thought? What are dreams? Do thoughts and dreams lead us to do the things we do, or are there unknown factors that shape our behavior? If a person’s actions are aberrant or disturbing, does the cause lie in their mental state, their cultural environment, the brain? What in fact causes these disorders? Such questions regarding the mind, its maladies, and its health have fascinated thinkers around the world since–and no doubt before–the beginning of recorded thought.

A dazzling piece of intellectual, scientific, and medical history, Theodore Millon’s Masters of the Mind takes you on a grand tour of humankind’s attempts to understand itself. Millon, a major figure among today’s psychological experts, considers the full scope of mental science, from its precedents in early thought, through the rise of its disciplines in the twentieth century, and on to the newest paradigms at work in the twenty-first century.

You’ll discover how some of the world’s first civilizations regarded mental illness, from Chinese descriptions of "diseases of the wind," to the ancient Egyptian characterization of hysteria, to Greek ideas of divine retribution. Moving easily through the centuries, Millon traces the rise of rationality in philosophy and the beginnings of scientific diagnosis and treatment. In clear, vibrant prose, accompanied by original illustrations, he introduces a cast of characters that includes the great contributors as well as the minor yet fascinating figures who too often are excluded from large-scale histories.

Neither an endless catalogue of central thinkers nor a plodding parade of clinical theories, Masters of the Mind is instead a layered work, deftly tracing the different intellectual strands modern psychology and psychiatry have drawn on and woven together. In doing so, it reveals a field humming with an astonishing diversity of seven key perspectives–humanist, neurological, socio-cultural, and personologic among them–each with its own historic roots, yet all carrying on great traditions of inquiry and healing.

The Roman scholar Cicero wrote, "Those who know only their own generation always remain children." Masters of the Mind opens a door to earlier generations’ pondering the mind and consciousness; this link gives the ideas of the present a new clarity. Anyone working in psychology and the neurosciences today–and indeed anyone who loves the story of human knowledge–will want to pick up this wide-ranging, enjoyable, and illuminating book.

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Advance praise for MASTERS OF THE MIND

"A magnificent work from an author who is, himself, a master of the mind."
Raymond D. Fowler, PhD, Past president and former CEO of the American Psychological Association

"Sweeping in scope and truly impressive in its scholarship, Millon's text traces historical developments and identifies the thinkers and scientists who from antiquity to the present time have shaped contemporary understanding of how the mind works. This captivating and informative volume will be appreciated and valued by all readers interested in the history of ideas."
Irving B. Weiner, PhD, University of South Florida

"Wide ranging, cohesive, and eminently readable, Theodore Millon's Masters of the Mind is a tour de force from one of the world's leading psychologists....a major touchstone for all those interested in these fascinating stories of mental disorders and the search for systems to understand and treat [them]."
Jeffrey J. Magnavita, PhD, Connecticut Center for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy

"A fascinating, informative, comprehensive, broad-minded, brilliant, and perceptive tour of the universe of views of mental function and dysfunction, this book helps the reader understand contributions from nearly every conceivably relevant discipline throughout history."
Lorna Smith Benjamin, PhD, University of Utah, Neuropsychiatric Institute

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