The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

Anxious with Joseph LeDoux + Mark Epstein


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
7:00 PM–8:30 PM
Sold Out

Roughly 20% of the population suffers from anxiety disorder in one form or another. Anxiety can only be understood in the context of its partner, fear. In conversation with psychiatrist Mark Epstein, neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux tells us why in his latest book ANXIOUS: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety.

A book-signing will follow the talk.

LeDoux’s groundbreaking premise is that we have been thinking about fear and anxiety, and emotions, in general, the wrong way. These are not innate states waiting to be unleashed from the brain. They are cognitively assembled experiences. The conscious manifestations and the underlying non-conscious processes both need to be treated, separately.

Anxiety can only be understood in the context of its partner, fear. Both are negative emotions that lead to distress as a result of the perception of a threat. In the case of fear, the threat is an object or situation that is present; in anxiety, the threat is not present, but is a potential event in the future that leads one to be distressed. In both fear and anxiety, the distressed state involves a psychological experience (the state of being in harm’s way), as well as physical symptoms (tight gut, tense muscles).

About the Speakers

Joseph LeDoux has spent over thirty years studying the biological underpinnings of memory and emotion, especially the mechanisms of fear. He is a University Professor at NYU in the Center for Neural Science and the Department of Psychology, directing the Emotional Brain Institute (at the Nathan Kline Institute and at NYU). He is member of the National Academy of Science and is the author of Synaptic Self and The Emotional Brain. LeDoux is also a member of two bands, The Amygdaloids, and So We Are, both of which play original songs about the mind, brain and mental disorders. The publication of ANXIOUS (the book) will coincide with the release of Anxious (the music CD) by The Amygdaloids. Joseph LeDoux lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is Prof. LeDoux’s fourth appearance at the Rubin.

Mark Epstein, M.D. is a regular participant in the Rubin’s programs. A highly-regarded psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, he is the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Open to Desire and Psychotherapy without the Self. His newest work, The Trauma of Everyday Life (Penguin Press), uses the Buddha’s biography as a means of exploring the hidden psychodynamics, and contemporary relevance, of Buddhist thought. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University.