The Soul of Desire

The Soul of Desire

Discovering the Neuroscience of Longing, Beauty, and Community

by Curt Thompson
Foreword by Makoto Fujimura

The Soul of Desire
  • Length: 238 pages
  • Published: October 05, 2021
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-1-5140-0210-0
  • Item Code: A0210
  • Case Quantity: 28

We are people of desire.

In The Soul of Desire, psychiatrist Curt Thompson suggests that underneath all our longings is the desire to be known—and what's more, that this fundamental yearning manifests itself in our deep need to make things of beauty, revealing who we are to others. Desire and beauty go hand in hand.

But both our craving to be known and our ability to create beauty have been marred by trauma and shame, collapsing our imagination for what God has for us and blinding us to the possibility that beauty could ever emerge from our ashes. Drawing on his work in interpersonal neurobiology and clinical practice, Thompson presents a powerful picture of the capacity of the believing community to reshape our imaginations, hold our desires and griefs together, and invite us into the beauty of God’s presence.

The Soul of Desire is a mature, creative work, weaving together neuroscience and spiritual formation to open up new horizons for thinking not only about the nature of the mind, but about what it means to be human.

"This is an extraordinary testimony to the power of beauty in a broken and fragmented world. It is extraordinary not simply because of its unusually direct and winsome style, but because of what the author brings to his theme: a professional expertise in neurobiology. More than a testimony, it is also an invitation: to have our deepest desire set alight, our desire for the One from whom all beauty springs."

Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

"Curt Thompson's previous work on shame has been life-transforming for numerous readers. Here he continues his interdisciplinary exploration of one of the elemental human experiences that founds our sense of self—the desire to see and to share beauty. Disarmingly self-disclosing, deeply in touch with Scripture and classic Christian sources, and engagingly conversant with the advances and insights of current neuroscientific research, this book beckons us to a deeper, healing knowledge of ourselves and, ultimately, of God."

Wesley Hill, associate professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary

"The Soul of Desire by Curt Thompson is a deep and edifying book that emphasizes that we are people created with a fundamental desire or longing for beauty, goodness, and truth related to healing and wholeness. He helps us to take time to dwell, gaze, and inquire of the Lord to fulfill our desire for beauty in the context of community, as well as sharing our grief and suffering, preparing and practicing for heaven to come. Highly recommend!"

Siang-Yang Tan, senior professor of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective


1. People of Desire
2. Beauty: Desire Made Manifest
3. Beauty: Becoming What We Create
4. People of Grief
5. Psychotherapy and Confessional Communities
6. Imagine That—Over and Over and Never Alone
7. Dwell
8. Gaze
9. Inquire
10. Practicing for Heaven

Curt Thompson

Curt Thompson (MD, Wright State University) is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia. He is also the founder of the Center for Being Known, a nonprofit organization that develops resources to educate and train leaders  about the intersection between interpersonal neurobiology and Christian spiritual formation. He is the author of Anatomy of the Soul. Thompson is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he speaks frequently at workshops, conferences, and retreats.

BY Curt Thompson