Written by Louis Cozolino, PhD
Reviewed by Mona Zohny
In 2006, Louis Cozolino, a therapist and professor of psychology at the Pepperdine University, published the first edition of his book, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships. Since then, the field of neuroscience has expanded immensely. As a result, Cozolino has published a second edition, which contains much of the same content and more. It follows the same format as the first edition while integrating contemporary research with existing knowledge of the social brain.
This book is designed for psychotherapists and any other professional interested in applying neuroscience to their practice. In this book, Cozolino “interweave[s] science and experience in an effort to expand our understanding of human relationships”. He does so by focusing on the “flow of information between individuals across the social synapse” (p. 13).
The introduction begins by pointing out that “humans exist within a paradox: we conceive of ourselves as individuals yet spend our lives embedded in relationships that build, shape, and influence our brains” (xiii). The rest of the book then focuses on explaining in great detail how human interactions affect the brain, and vice versa. Cozolino explains the concept of the “social synapse” , which he defines as “the space between us . . . filled with seen and unseen messages and the medium through which we are combined into larger organisms such as families, tribes, societies, and the human species as a whole” (p. xv). Each part consists of two to four chapters. At the end of each chapter, Cozolino provides a narrative based on his experience with clients that serves to illustrate the concepts discussed throughout the chapter.