Mindfulness and Self-Regulation: A Medical Approach to the Mind and Mental Health

  • James Davis-Siegel
  • Moriah Gottman
  • Daniel J. SiegelEmail author


This chapter offers an exploration of the intersections between mindful awareness and self-regulation. In medical practice, clinicians focus on both the physiological and the mental states of their patients. Here we offer an overview of mindfulness from the view of interpersonal neurobiology. In this view, the mind is seen as an embodied and relational self-organizing process that regulates the flow of energy and information. The self, and self-regulation, are then seen as both derived from internal physiological processes as well as from interpersonal social processes. We examine the neurobiology and relational aspects of mindfulness, empathy, and compassion to explore this embodied and relational function of the mind. We then take a look at the absence of such processes in individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder to highlight these fundamental ways in which brain, mind, and relationships are inextricably intertwined—as three aspects of the one reality of energy and information flow within and between people. Ultimately, mindful awareness can be seen as a way of focusing attention that cultivates integration both within the individual and between the individual and others through various levels of self-regulation. These internal and interpersonal states of integration promote health, as studies of mindful awareness training in physicians and others have demonstrated. Mindfulness can be seen as a part of the basic education for all clinicians as it is a teachable skill that promotes self-regulation which is at the heart of health.


Compassion Empathy Impulse control Interpersonal neurobiology Mindfulness Mindsight Neuroscience Psychopathy Self-regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Davis-Siegel
    • 1
  • Moriah Gottman
    • 2
  • Daniel J. Siegel
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyReed CollegePortlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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