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The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  610 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
The book that will change the way we think about health and illness, The Divided Mind is the crowning achievement of Dr. John E. Sarno's distinguished career as a groundbreaking medical pioneer, going beyond pain to address the entire spectrum of psychosomatic (mindbody) disorders.

The interaction between the generally reasonable, rational, ethical, moral conscious mind and
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,382)
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Mar 11, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should garner some needed attention to the concept of psychogenic or mind-body disorders. The scientific community has acknowledged many mind-body connections, from comorbidities between psychiatric and pain disorders, to the exacerbation of pain symptoms as a result of stress, and depression suppressing the immune system. However, fully attributing certain pain “disorders” to unconscious psychological disturbances parallels 'voodoo' to many in traditional medicine.

It is a fascinating
Holly K Austin
Apr 11, 2012 Holly K Austin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I find it more than a little disturbing that so many reviewers rave about this book. Dr. Sarno provides no science to back up his assertions at all. None. He merely presents a few anecdotal stories about having helped patients by convincing them their medical problems are, in essence, originating in their minds. He writes repeatedly about the medical community attacking his theories - perhaps that is because they, too, see a lack of science, and after all, doctors are scientists. They want facts ...more
Jul 22, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Dr. John Sarno's latest book, I am more convinced than ever that his concepts around the mind creating pain in the body to camouflage more troublesome issues buried in our subconscious are extremely valid. Several years ago, I was able to completely eliminate a lower back pain that had plagued me for years - just by reading Sarno's book "Healing Back Pain".

Many years passed and I once again had pain (elbow and shoulder) that refused to go away, so I read Sarno's subsequent books,
Irina Preda
Aug 15, 2012 Irina Preda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO - this book really pushed me to think outside the box and reinforced the connection between the mind and body that Latins sensed centuries ago. Despite all the negative comments that I read about this book while reading it, I strongly believe that a lot of people are grateful for this book. I recognized myself in a lot of pages and I'm so sorry that I have not explored this possibility earlier, when my family dr suggested I might have a somatization disorder or TMS.It t ...more
Mar 28, 2009 Geoff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While I'm sure plenty of people experience psychosomatic pain, Sarno's book is largely opinion-based and extraordinarily self-congratulatory. I'll admit I was extremely skeptical when I checked this out of the library, but I was willing to give it a shot, and it failed to convince me of anything.

If you like boring, poorly written pseudoscience, pick this one up. But I found myself first skipping a page, then two, then a chapter, and soon giving up.
Mar 27, 2014 Carrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not convinced of his theory. Although he explained why there was no scientific evidence or studies behind his claims, there could definitely been some hard evidence which he failed to provide. It bothered me the way he made sweeping generalized claims. The other M.D.s who backed up his theory also made stereotypical assumptions concerning their patients. I do believe part of the theory holds some truth, but peoples health and their well-being are on the line. I know people who are suffering ...more
Jake Kula
Sep 19, 2012 Jake Kula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The divided mind is a non-fiction book, but not in the traditional sense in that it is a list of raw facts and statistics. Its main purpose is to inform, but also to break apart previous (and false) speculations. Before we get into what the book is mainly about let’s first talk about what the author’s (Dr. John E. Sarno) qualifications are. First of all the book he wrote, The Divided Mind, was a New York Times best seller, along with his other works which include “Healing Back Pain” and “The min ...more
Michael Hirsch
Jan 06, 2014 Michael Hirsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, health
I really like John Sarno's theory. For the last 20 years of so he has been writing books about his theory that back pain is primarily psychogenic. It is caused by your subconscious trying to hide feelings of anger, fear, and anxiety. I've read at least 3 of his books, and consider "Healing Back Pain" the gold standard. Is is short, easy to read, and convincing. If you have recurring or chronic back pain, you really should read it. I have ended decades of back trouble merely by reading the book.

Convincingly shows that modern medicine has an enormous blind spot in dealing with all manner of chronic disorders in its dismissal of psychogenic pain. The term psychosomatic has been abused. The pain isn't all in your head. The pain is real, but if there isn't a structural cause (a real possibility often dismissed a priori), it has often been shown to be the case that the pain is created to prevent your conscious mind from exposure to unconscious psychic pain or rage.

Interesting subject matter
Jun 09, 2016 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really engaged with the content of the book. I found that I was interested to learn more about Dr Sarno's perception of the mindbody connection/psychosomatic nature of chronic pain. Given that I work as a Clinical Psychologist the information communicated with reference to psychoanalytic theory, in particular Freud and Adler (Inferiority Complex) was thought provoking. The simplified way in which the functioning of the Id, Ego and Superego was described affirmed the information that I share wi ...more
In my clinical practice in working with patients with various muskuloskeletal disorders, there have been many cases that fall under the chronic pain category. There are certain markers that a patient exhibit that I suspect is psychological in origin, I can expound on this. What I don't agree with is labeling patients with TMS (tension myositis syndrome - a diagnosis that Sarno has created, similar to fibromyalgia, a diagnosis of exclusion) as perfectionists/goodie/people-pleaser, these word choi ...more
Nov 25, 2014 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non-fiction; rare for me. But Dr Sarno (who I may have first heard about from Howard Stern, of all people -- a long time ago) wrote books about healing back pain, and I once had plenty of back pain. Doctors recommended surgery. Instead, I read one of Sarno's books (and consulted with one of his colleagues) and cured the pain. (that, also, was a long time ago -- no recurrence).

I hate when people get preachy so I don't push these books hard. But I speak up when I hear about serious considerations
May 22, 2009 Lance rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lance by: Dr. Weil
Shelves: health
Though a bit too Freudian in places, I think Dr. Sarno makes some good points about how our minds effect our body, which results in many mystifying illnesses that most medical doctors are unable to treat or explain. What I like most is that he offers a third way to these diagnosis. Instead of saying its imaginary or unexplainable, he says that brain can create actual physical effects. A must read for anyone interested in mind/body medicine.
Sophia Ciocca
Jun 27, 2016 Sophia Ciocca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historically an extremely healthy 23-year-old, four months ago I developed severe and nonsensical symptoms -- chronic fatigue, chronic GI problems, insomnia, dizziness, etc. After three and a half months and dozens of traditional and alternative medical tests and therapies, nothing had gotten better. Two weeks ago I discovered Sarno and this book, and it started me on an unconventional journey of healing that has already alleviated about 50% of my symptoms. I can't believe it, and I'm appalled a ...more
Neil Sharma
Sarno has convinced me that psychology and stress play both a significant and frequent role in a variety of illnesses. I now believe simply being aware of this and making a deliberate effort to identify and address underlying stress-related problems can significantly help alleviate some pains (or at the very least speed up the recovery process).

The reason this book gets 3 stars is the authoritarian tone. Given the nascent research in how the mind affects the body, I can forgive an over-reliance
Mar 11, 2008 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People w/CFS, fibromyalgia, or are interested in these conditions
Recommended to Marianne by: My rheummatologist
I absolutely LOVED this book. I have put Dr. Sarno's suggestions to use, and lo and behold my intense shoulder pain is gone! This is a MUST read if you have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, etc. I have always believed that our bodies are not meant to be constantly plaguing us, and this book can help heal you.
Nov 08, 2014 LizG rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So important (and liberating) to understand how pain is linked to our mind. It means we can change our pain with understanding and knowledge rather than medication and surgery (which are often not effective). Powerful knowledge.
Paul Lyons
As much as I admire the work of Dr. John Sarno, and got a lot out of reading his book "The Mindbody Prescription," I struggled to oblivion reading his "The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders." First off, Dr. Sarno only writes half of the book, a half that only serves as a repeat of everything he wrote about already in "The Mindbody Prescription." Sure, I appreciate Sarno's reinforcement of ideas in order to drive the point home as to the importance of understanding TMS. However a r ...more
Jun 04, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a more advanced delivery of the author's Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection. This book has a better title, and the investigation is much deeper and more advanced that in HBP, but it is less friendly and the title might not have attracted me to read the book had I not read HBP. If you are looking to read this book for TMS or detecting if one has TMS, I think it is a great book, but it would be better to read HPP first. I have not rated that one just yet since I am still expe ...more
Rebecca Jones
Sep 10, 2014 Rebecca Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Max Planck

This book resonated with me in many ways. An essential read for those with a series of health complaints from chronic fatigue to gut issues to muscular skeletal conditions and some autoimmune as well as repetitive motion injuries. This is a part of the key for me. Eye opening. Can't wait to
May 16, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first became aware of John Sarno from a 60 Minutes interview. He has been practicing medicine for over 40 years with astounding rates of success. His specialty is psychosomatic illnesses. This book talks about the background behind these types of illnesses, why they occur, and how they are diagnosed and treated. It is sad just how wide spread many of these problems are....back aches, migraines, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, irritable bowel, etc. etc. and how many dollars are wasted in treatment ...more
Deborah Tait
Mar 02, 2008 Deborah Tait rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book opened a whole new view of body disorders for me that I had never quite fully understood. Not only did it help me understand different physical pains I have had during my life but after reading it my chronic neck pain from a car accident 15 months ago completely cleared up and has not returned. I was able to understand why my body was using physical symptoms to hide unresolved emotional pain. Once I accepted the possibility of the link between the two it was miraculous how quickly I he ...more
Aug 19, 2007 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in pain, brain and language nerds

John Sarno is an MD from the Rusk Pain Institute at NYU Medical Center who has effectively treated thousands of patients with chronic pain conditions using a a methodology that takes into account the mind body connection.

Sarno is not a new age guy. He's not a hippie. He's not an infomercial/get-rich-quick guy. He's just a doctor who realized that back pain patients were not getting better from surgery, physically therapy or pain medications.

This book is the culmination of about 20 years of Sar
Shannon Cox
Nothing very revolutionary...Can be summarized as: if you aren't aware of the stressors/worries in your life, it may be causing you back pain. Once you become aware, it will disappear. I guess it is a good read for someone who is not aware of anything going on in their head or hasn't taken psych 101.
Jul 20, 2015 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concept I was familiar with, but now understand deeper. It's the same information in his other books about mind-body connection, however I believe this one was written for medical professionals. It's heavier on the history of psychology and includes case studies from various types of medical pros.

Interesting, but heavy. I would recommend his other books first, unless you enjoy the history and the historical-social understanding of psychology (which I found fascinating).

Big question: did it h
May 07, 2011 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book expands on Sarno's previous works about back pain, and includes several chapters written by other physicians who have begun to take a mind-body approach to conditions that were previously thought to be the result of injuries or structural abnormalities (carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, etc.). What I love about Sarno is that he is making a great case for non-medical means of healing, but he is the least new agey writer on the topic that I've ever read. There is nothing mystical about his ap ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Norman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprising book. Not my usual pleasure, I read by listening in the car and found familiar ground made unfamiliar and interesting. The basic thesis: many physical pains (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel) are NOT mechanical problems of the body, but psychosomatic. Our minds keep unhappy/angry feelings repressed, and when they threaten to make it into consciousness, the mind created a physical disorder as a "distraction" to make it easier for the ego to keep the disturbing feelings unconscious. I espe ...more
David Manning
I skimmed this after having just finished Sarno's "Healing Back Pain". I wish I read "Divided Mind" first as it's more recent and contains much of the same information as his older book but with much more research and examples.
Samantha Nemeth
Aug 23, 2013 Samantha Nemeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-healthy
This book was required reading for a class I had in college but while we were only assigned a portion of it, I found it so intriguing I read the entire book. A large portion of why I enjoyed the book so much was it came at a much needed time for me - I was having back pain at the time and it helped me realize it was not from a physical injury but from stressors in my life. Once I got rid of the stressors, the back pain disappeared. This book speaks to emotional pain expressed through a physical ...more
Barbara Finch
Interesting ideas. Hard to put into practice if you have only read the book. Would probably require some real coaching from an trained expert.
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“First, a sad paradox. Medical research has become more laboratory oriented in the last fifty years. To be sure, this shift has produced some impressive results. But at the same time, human biology is not exclusively mechanical, and there are limits to what the laboratory can accurately study. The laboratory study of infectious diseases has been magnificent—it is very straightforward. But its very success has deflected attention from the influence of emotions. As a result, medical research has failed abysmally in many areas.” 1 likes
“It’s all in your mind” is almost insulting, implying there’s something strange or weak about you or that the symptoms are in your imagination. This is most unfortunate, since the symptoms are very real, the result of a very physical process.” 1 likes
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