Review: This is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin

First let me say that this is a Christian book, which is not completely obvious from the cover (one of my pet peeves). BUT, I also think it’s an extremely useful book that most therapists would benefit from reading.

Also, let me say a few words about the Amen Clinics. Dr. Amen is somewhat of a controversial figure and his SPECT scans are considered not good science in some circles. I personally have referred some very difficult cases to the Amen Clinic, and in every circumstance, the results have been pretty miraculous, so I’m a firm believer in what Dr. Amen does. The basic idea is that when you go to a psychiatrist and you say “I’m depressed”, you’ll get the average antidepressant. But with Dr. Amen, they are looking at WHERE your brain is not functioning well, and dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex would require a completely different strategy than dysfunction in the basal ganglia.

In this book, there is a “Amen Brain System Checklist”. Because the SPECT scans at the Amen Clinic are super expensive, not everyone can do it. But if you use this checklist, you may be able to discern, just from the symptoms your client checks, which part of the brain is not functioning well.

Next, Henslin has a chapter on each section of the brain once your client has completed the checklist and you know what you’re working with. He suggests regular psychotropic medications that differ for each area; but also, he talks about supplements that might help each area and food/exercise tips. Because it’s a Christian book, he also suggests Scriptures and prayers for each type as well.

I personally am going to buy a copy of this book and start using this checklist with my clients. I think it will be a fantastic reference book to keep on hand.

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