Changing Our Mind: Exploring How Mental Illness Is Managed with Daniel Bergner

Over the last 50 years, little has changed for the pharmaceutical management of mental illness. This is troublesome, but not unsolvable, according to The New York Times writer and author, Daniel Bergner. We talked with him about his most recent book, The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches, and some of the key themes he discovered along his personal journey with a mentally challenged family member and other people he came to know well.

We discussed the shortcomings of our current mental healthcare systems and processes, the benefits of non-traditional mental health therapies, the ancient myth about the Turkey Prince, and how we might be able to get immediate relief by reframing the conversation about pain management and pain suppression.

We need to find ways to hold our pain rather than rush to suppress it. We need to find ways to think expansively, so that pain has its inevitable part in our lives. ~ Daniel Bergner, Episode 305 Click To Tweet

The book features stories about his brother and a few other people that are told in remarkable detail over a long period of time. The gripping and beautifully-told narrative will open your eyes to some of the challenges that mental illness brings to life. Our conversation with Daniel explored these stories and areas of mental health that are too often overlooked – and we are grateful we get to share that conversation with you.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider contributing to our work through Patreon. Writing a podcast review or giving us a quick rating also helps others find our show. Weird, isn’t it? But, yeah, it’s true. We would appreciate any help you can offer.

Most importantly, if you or someone you know needs help, please seek help. The Mental Health Guide is a global resource with phone numbers and websites in dozens of countries.



(2:45) Welcome and speed round.

(5:23) What the book The Mind and The Moon is about.

(7:18) Progress in mental health treatment and with society in the last 50 years.

(10:00) The 3 stories that illustrate mental health in the book.

(15:50) The effect of psilocybin.

(18:15) What a turkey under a table can teach us about managing mental illness.

(21:09) What are the next steps in mental health?

(22:51) Daniel’s personal journey.

(26:23) Writing the book in the context of the Trump election and George Floyd.

(29:15) This is not an anti-pharmaceutical book.

(35:18) Was it deliberate that music was a big part of the book?

(41:42) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim discussing mental health.


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Episodes To Listen To Next

Episode 274, Paul Bloom, “Why Finding Pleasure in Life is a Painful Journey

Episode 255, Daniel Almeida “The 5 Healthy Brain Habits Of A Neuroscientist

AIRDATE: July 11, 2022 EPISODE 305

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Changing Our Mind: Exploring How Mental Illness Is Managed with Daniel Bergner