The Future of Brain-Based Psychotherapy : One-On-One with Dan Siegel


What an exciting opportunity to be able to hear Dan Siegel’s take on the much-discussed, drama-filled debate that spontaneously occurred between Siegel and renowned psychologist Jerome Kagan.

On Saturday afternoon of this year’s Networker Symposium, Siegel attended a workshop where Ron Taffel moderated a discussion with Kagan about impacts of temperament. See comments posted by Symposium attendees here, referred to by Rich as “urban legend”.

Some of these comments, Siegel attests, are not so true. For example, he was not the one to initially bring up the topic of adult attachment; another workshop participant asked this question. At first, Siegel stayed silent as Kagan responded.

But when Kagan stated that the field of attachment was dead, Siegel began to seek a microphone. When he couldn’t locate a mike, and was unable to get Kagan’s attention, he finally walked up to the stage.

Siegel said that although he doesn’t like to “crash a party”, he felt that someone needed to represent the opposing view. He thought that for Kagan, who is so esteemed, to make such an extremist declaration without any balance or any indication that this was his opinion, was wrong.

Siegel discussed why he felt that Dr. Kagan was mistaken for proclaiming attachment research to be dead: it seems that findings about attachment are very much alive. Siegel also said that he believes, after looking at Adult Attachment Interviews, a narrative study, that temperament has “zero correlation with the AAI findings”.

As Rich said, today’s conversation will definitely not be the last we hear about this discussion (which I’m very grateful for!). Maybe one day soon, those of us who missed the electrifying Siegel/Kagan dialogue at the conference, will hear them debate again.

What did you think about today’s conversation between Dan Siegel and Rich Simon?


04.23.2010   Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE   By Psychotherapy Networker
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