Class of 1975 alumna Susan Gordon, Ph.D., has published a new book titled, The Mind-Brain Continuum: Psychoneurointracrinology.
In her new book, Susan proposes a holistic theory of the development of self, drawing on interdisciplinary literature in the history and philosophy of eastern and western psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and medicine. This book challenges assumptions in present day neuroscience and psychiatry, placing the mind and brain on a continuum of health and growth rather than reducing the study of human consciousness to neurobiological terms and pathological classifications.
Susan explained the following about her book:
Is there a continuum between the mind and the brain? According to the natural sciences, the brain produces the mind relegating consciousness to an epiphenomenon. But, characterized by autopoietic autonomy, human beings are not reducible to the mental and physical events that constitute them. Reality is not given; it is perceiver dependent. Living beings autonomously generate and maintain their identities and enact or bring forth their own coherent and meaningful patterns of action. Cognition is a relational domain enacted by the person’s autonomous agency and autopoietic mode of coupling with their environment. The sense of self is closely tied to embodied existence yet transcends it—the kinesthetic, sensorimotor, perceptual, non-conceptual, lived world is tacit, pre-reflective, and intersubjective—an implicit sense of self at the experiential or phenomenal level, autonomic and subliminal below the threshold of conscious experience.
The construct, psychoneurointracrinology situates the embodied, enactive self at three levels: (1) psychological, (2) neurological, and (3) intracrinological. Psychological refers to constructs variously referred to as psyche, self, soul, mind, and consciousness; neurological, to the composition and reactions within the nervous system; and intracrinological, to the intracellular biosynthesis of steroids—the binding of receptors and the formation of enzymes that catalyze the creation of hormones within the cell. This construct presents a holistic view of the person and a neurobiological model of the process of individuation. Professionals and students in psychiatry and psychological medicine will find this book a practical reference, while a broad interdisciplinary audience across the sciences and humanities will find it a unique and accessible perspective on cognition and the self.
Susan graduated from Clark University in 1979 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science and psychology. She went on to obtain her master’s degree in health psychology from Saybrook University in 2001 before earning her doctorate in the history and philosophy of psychology in 2007. She currently serves as a core Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the National University, La Jolla, Calif., and Research Director and Psychotherapist at the Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicine in Southbury, Conn.