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Three Obstacles and Solutions for Second Mind Medicine

Updated: Mar 9, 2021


1. Our healthcare systems are entrenched in First Mind perspectives. Our approaches to diagnosis, treatment, reimbursement, and innovation are all based in the philosophical perspective of the First Mind. Diagnosis, treatment, and innovation generally assume an atomic view of the body—the discrete, physicalized view of the First Mind. Reimbursement is tied to this view. A perspective of the human body as a representation of the mind or as a field of information that is accessible via the mind does not receive the kind of reimbursement, which brings us to the next obstacle.

2. There is no standardized language for Second Mind Medicine.

  • No two people recognize, access, and label the mind in the exact same way, so how we describe mental phenomena differ, even when referring to the same phenomena.

  • What one person calls mind, another calls energy. What one person calls energy, another calls information. Furthermore, words like information and energy have a range of meanings, from personal and experiential to strictly scientific, such as the energy measured in Joules.

  • The shared scientific language we use has been developed by the First Mind for the First Mind. When conveying Second Mind principles, this language has to be modified and used with greater rigor and attention to be meaningful.

  • The processes of the Second Mind are subtle enough that a person may be performing them without recognizing it as a discrete activity. This can make it difficult to discern a cause-effect relationship between "mind" and “body”. Developing a standardized language will help us recognize and label these processes, bringing greater rigor to science.

3. Change is destabilizing. This last obstacle encompasses and is at the root of the other two. Shifting from the First to the Second Mind challenges many beliefs, including those philosophical beliefs which pose as being science-based. This can destabilize the sense of identity by challenging our expertise.


1. Education. The First Mind is the dominant perspective in medical science around the world. We have to develop a curriculum in which broader, Second Mind perspectives are also taught. The curriculum should emphasize that the broader context still applies to First Mind diagnostic and treatment principles in appropriate situations, while not being restricted to them. This isn’t about rejecting an old system, but rather taking its best and putting it in a broader context.

2. Practice. The reason we can communicate well through language is because we share similar experiences. For example, we know what it feels like when the wind blows in our face while riding a bike, so we can understand someone who says “I feel like I’m flying when I ride my bike.” If we didn’t share that bike riding experience, the words would be confusing, or even sound utterly strange. The same happens when we discuss the Second Mind perspective without sharing a similar experience.

Moving healthcare toward Second Mind Medicine means broadening our own experience of ourselves, so we can recognize and understand more of the mindbody and its processes first-hand. This means experimenting with your mind responsibly through various types of introspection.

3. Research. Once education and practice have begun, informed and directed research can begin. Many researchers are already doing this.

With the above steps, the quantity, quality, and breadth of research into healing will increase, culminating in greater healing and a better healthcare system. No researcher or physician has to change their area of focus–they will simply see the same subject with new eyes.

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