Three Obstacles and Solutions for Second Mind Medicine

Updated: Jan 17


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 directly accessible and modifiable via the mind does not receive the kind of reimbursement, which brings us to the next obstacle.

2. Demonstrating the efficacy of Second Mind Medicine is not easy because of a lack of standardized protocols.

  • 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.

  • There is no commonly accepted language to describe Second Mind Medicine. 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 language we use has been developed by the First Mind for the First Mind. When conveying Second Mind principles, this language has to be used with greater rigor and attention to be scientifically 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 makes 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, and therefore, scary. 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 beliefs which pose as science-based. It changes our view of who and what we are. It broadens the range of needed expertise in healthcare. This can destabilize the sense of identity.


1. Education. The First Mind is the dominant perspective in medical science around the world. We have to develop a curriculum whereby the First Mind can recognize itself and see that there is also a broader Second Mind context in which it is situated. The curriculum should emphasize that the broader context still applies 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 greater, more powerful 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 all understand when someone 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 shifting experience from the First to the Second Mind so we can recognize and understand much more of the mindbody and its processes. This means experimenting with your mind responsibly through various types of introspection.

3. Research. Once the above obstacles are recognized, and once education and practice have begun, informed and directed research can begin. Without a prepared foundation, research will be ineffective because the First Mind will not be able to find its standard bearings in context, language, and protocol.

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