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Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships
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Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  845 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Do you want to improve your relationships and experience lasting personal change? Join Curt Thompson, M.D., on an amazing journey to discover the surprising pathways for transformation hidden inside your own mind. Integrating new findings in neuroscience and attachment with Christian spirituality, Dr. Thompson reveals how it is possible to rewire your mind, altering your b ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Tyndale Momentum (first published May 10th 2010)
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May 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
"The Anatomy of the Soul" wasn't very well written. The information on how the brain works was information I already knew--mostly things I learned 14 years ago in college.

I found the writing repetitious and unnecessarily wordy and complex. The author made up new, Christian-sounding terms for some old, proven ideas I've heard elsewhere and then put in a lot of filler ("this really changed this guy's life, so keep reading to learn how!) or repetition before revealing a pretty simple co
Josh Morgan
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café.

Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, MD, a psychiatrist intrigued me as it lands squarely in the middle of the integration of modern mental health science and spirituality. This is the first book I received from the Tyndale Blog Network for review that particularly lands in my area of expertise (for those who don't know, I'm a licensed psychologist with an undergrad degree in Religious Studies).

What I appreciate about T
Adam Shields
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: Anatomy of the Soul is broadly divided into two parts. The science and background about neurology, trauma, attachment, emotions, the prefrontal cortex, etc. and the shorter spiritual implications to our understanding of sin, repentance and forgiveness, and community.

Because I have read pretty widely on spiritual direction and discipleship and I have a background in social work, I didn't find the section section as engaging as the first, but I do think it was helpful in
Lance Hill
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m biased as a counselor, but I think everyone could benefit from reading this book.
Jeff Hobday
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent read on how our life experiences affect the mind and how that shapes our spiritual lives. As Thompson explains, it goes the other way too; our spiritual practices (prayer, scripture reading, fasting, confession) shape how our minds develop. This book is not overly academic or technical -- I haven't studied biology since freshman year of high school, and I could understand the science. It's full of anecdotes from his experience as a counselor and psychiatrist, as well as insightful read ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book, really opened out my horizons. The psychiatrist author explains how the brain develops in infants and children, how babies need to interact with adults in order for the brain to fully mature. Explains what the different hemispheres of the brain do and suggests ways to integrate the two halves. All from a Christian perspective. I will definitely read this book again, at least once.
ⓒ 2010
Bill Rotan
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sure book to read if you want to understand yourself.

I was very impressed with this book and writer. The work that has been discovered about the brain is breathtaking. I am going to read it again in order let what I read stick to my mind
Chris Schutte
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A creative proposal connecting spiritual formation with insights from modern neuroscience. His vision of the Christian life as one of "justice, mercy, and love" is deeply compelling.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was very informative. There are things that seemed unfinished, and that’s the reason I didn’t give it 5 stars.
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was a brain-wrecking process to read such a book! Haha! But I believe that if one is willing to be mentally and spiritually healthy, he/she must read this book. It entails processes from our childhoods that might have had affected our attitudes and behaviors, perception of God and of life, and even in our interpersonal relationships. If your an advocate to mental health, self-growth and development, it's a must-read.
Nick Richtsmeier
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredibly important. With precision and grace Thompson connects the dots between mindfulness, current understandings of neuroscience and the historical spiritual practices of Christian faith to help us understand what it really takes to overcome of formational environments and their limitations. Standing perfectly at the intersection of embodiment theology, scientific research, psychotherapy and Christian discipleship, I devoured every word.

I find myself near daily inte
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is actually my second time to read this book, but after reading his newer book The Soul of Shame, I wanted to go back and refresh my memory on some of the core concepts he discusses. It is really interesting to think about how God designed our brains and how the Gospel, and love, and forgiveness all heal the brokenness in us, not just spiritually, but in real physical ways as well. The concepts will take more time for me to think through and learn about, as I didn't follow everything he sai ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly well written and eye-opening book. Thompson does a great job of going deep into neurology, psychology, etc and implications for faith and relationships without being overly technical. I was also pleasantly impressed with the way he wisely wove scriptural truths. There were several points in the book where I started worrying he was going to make a statement that contradicted clear Biblical truth, but without fail he would give the Biblical answer.

Would highly recommend this book to any
MattandBetsy Nolan
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Curt uses each part of his humanity, education and experience to unite faith and science. This fascinating book brings into focus the mind, body and soul connection. He acknowledges up front this is a book about his faith, Christianity, specifically a faith that follows the Bible. While relevant to other faiths or from a medical perspective it may be more difficult to follow. The epilogue and last chapter are excellent but it's unfortunate he waited so long to include the more practical side of ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give a five star review, but this book is amazing. I have read books from a Christian counseling perspective, and books on neuroscience as it pertains to parenting (The Whole Brain Child), but I have never seen an author synthesize their expertise on the brain with their deeply thought out beliefs founded in Scripture in quite this way. It is a very insightful and healing book, and also gives a wealth of information to explore in the bibliography. I found this to be a fascinating, and e ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good insights to neuroscience present understandings of how our brains work and how they augment biblical principles in being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Could be a bit tedious. Definitely challenging when you go about applying what you have just read. It has been helpful to me personally and I feel I have gained in the healing of my brokenness and the bettering of my relationships. I will probably read this again to get a deeper impact.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book and one I would recommend to everyone who is looking to answer the questions about why they react in crazy ways in some situations, how they can get their life on track, and why isn't their Christian walk working for them. Working it all out is not for the faint-hearted but at least they will know what is happening.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It really felt like this book broke some new ground for me and complemented some other things that I'm learning. It's also refreshing to feel like there is not just a peaceful coexistence with faith and psychology and neurobiology, but that faith actually offers a more complete way to access and leverage our understanding of these topics.
Amy Zimmerman
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be very helpful in connecting neuroscience and spirituality. The book is easily followed until the end where I got a little lost. I found it very helpful for understanding trauma and attachment. I also loved how he brought in scripture and redemption of our relationships with God and each other. I'll be keeping this one to refer back to when needed.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it

Points for reflection:
Chapter 1
Pg 3 being known - This seems to me to be a primary need of human beings - to be fully know and to be fully loved. This of course cannot be done in a fallen world by fallen humans.

Attention - pg 3 notice he mentions no only paying attention to what is outside but also what is in our minds - our feelings, emotions, and thoughts. What a novel thought.

Under Sin and redemption on page 4 he states like Adam and Eve we are more interes
Dec 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
An interesting book, for sure. It promises help, and that's why many people like it because we look for what works. I do like some clarifications on some things regarding sin and the neuroplastic triad somewhere at the end of the book. He analyzes some things about us pretty accurately, but he doesn’t seem to take into account enough of the importance of the power of prayer, spending time in God’s Word and beholding Christ through whom the change from within comes by God’s powerful and gracious ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had some good takeaways, even though I admittedly took a long time to slog through it. The author is a Christian psychiatrist who discusses at length the neurological activity happening in spiritual matters. I found some points interesting and helpful. After all, God designed our brains, and the stuff going on in our hearts and minds is neurological in nature, even if it remains mysterious. I particularly appreciated his emphasis on knowing and being known, and on training ourselves to ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Do you want to improve your relationships and experience lasting personal change? Join Curt Thompson, M.D., on an amazing journey to discover the surprising pathways for transformation hidden inside your own mind. Integrating new findings in neuroscience and attachment with Christian spirituality, Dr. Thompson reveals how it is possible to rewire your mind, altering your brain patterns and literally making you more like the person God intended you to be. Explaining discoveries about the brain in ...more
Adam Marquez
This book is easy to love; it is an enjoyable read. The author's keen insight into the nature of addiction and his alternative perspectives are insightful and need to be considered by all interested parties. In the book, the author moves through the topic of addiction, in a triplet presentation: keen descriptions, impressive insights into the nature of things, and proposed solutions. My qualm with the book is that while the keen descriptions and impressive insights are wildly useful and enjoyabl ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was full of interesting insights of the author's expertise in neuroscience and melding it to therapeutic practice for healing and life change. I also appreciated his evident admiration and respect for scripture and how the discoveries in neuroscience align with theological principles and understanding of human attachment, memory and integration - a design of wholeness. But I found it difficult to get through the book and almost gave up several times. If it weren't for my left brain pro ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
In places, I really learned a lot about the brain. I especially found his discussion of implicit memories illuminating. That said, every time he would connect neurology to scripture or faith, I just had trouble going along. Maybe it was that a lot of those discussions seemed to lean too heavily on assumption. I'm not sure, to be honest. I just know I found myself giving a lot of side-eye to those sections. The structure was problematic as well. There was a lot of jumping around and mentions of w ...more
Steve French
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book filled in so many gaps for me. I gained a sense of how God created us to be in close and transparent relationship with others as a way of being more known by Him. When we do, we understand how much He loves us and wants us to draw closer to Him.

It may sound odd that this type of greater clarity can be gained through medical science but Dr. Thompson is masterful in describing the thread between scripture and neuroscience is revealing about how God made us. Beyond describing this, Dr. T
Brian Stankich
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anatomy of the Soul is the most life changing book I’ve read in the last ten years. I’m recommending it to my friends and family and using it as source material in my own writing. It presents the blueprint to emotional health in an easy format while being grounded scientifically and engaged spiritually. Don’t read it if you aren’t willing to change your life. If you want more detail, let me know. I’m happy to provide it.
Sydney Drinkwater
I decided to put this one down before finishing. It had some really excellent points and I appreciated the writer’s gift for words, but it wasn’t capturing my interest at all after a while (almost 100 pages in). I have a seemingly endless shelf of books I want to read, so I’m moving on. Coming back to it one day isn’t out of the question.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Thompson explains the workings and implications of neuronal activity in a way that you don't have to be a neuropsychologist to enjoy or understand. This is an extremely insightful and potentially life-changing read. I highly recommend it!
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