Cover image for Creating a life of meaning and compassion : the wisdom of psychotherapy
Creating a life of meaning and compassion : the wisdom of psychotherapy
Firestone, Robert.
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Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvii, 461 pages ; 27 cm
A vision of a meaningful life -- Factors that impede personal development -- Disrupting fantasy processes -- Challenging addictive, self-nurturing lifestyles -- A feeling versus nonfeeling existence -- Coping with anger, passivity, and a victimized point of view -- Generosity versus withholding -- Challenging self-destructive, microsuicidal, and suicidal tendencies -- Defenses against death anxiety -- Couple relationships -- Sexuality -- Family relationships -- Child-rearing -- Protecting the rights of the individual in couples and families -- Societal forces : malevolent and benevolent -- Psychotherapy : past, present, and future? -- The therapeutic value of friendship -- Spirituality, mystery, and the search for meaning.
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RC480 .F5558 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This is the story of an unusual group of people who have transformed their lives. The book describes their struggles as they gradually learned to accept the fulfilment of their dreams and documents the insights they gained along the way. The chapters clarify how these individuals gradually overcame a wide range of defensive behaviours which enabled them to embrace a more self-affirming lifestyle; and how they applied the knowledge and understanding they acquired to various areas of their daily lives. Most importantly, the authors describe how the insights achieved can be applied by therapists in clinical practice. This book offers a comprehensive guide for helping professionals and other people who are interested in their personal development, deepening their friendships, sustaining intimacy in their couple relationships, achieving success in the workplace and developing healthy child-rearing practices. It points out the value of leading a life marked by adventure and recreation, transcendent goals and spiritual exploration, offering fresh views on the past, present and future of psychotherapy.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Firestone and his coauthors describe the defensive processes that restrict people from making positive changes in their lives. They argue that living a meaningful life requires the openness and vulnerability of experiencing emotions, thoughts, and dreams that ultimately expose individuals to pain as well as joy. A compilation of therapeutic insights that are valuable in achieving a better way of living, this book offers a comprehensive guide for helping professionals and other people who are interested in personal development, deepening friendships, sustaining intimacy in couple relationships, achieving success in the workplace, and developing healthy child-rearing practices. The book is based on the principle that the defenses against emotional pain, frustration, and anxiety each individual develops during childhood act as obstacles to achieving a more fulfilling life. Explanations of methods, guidelines, and suggestions for challenging and counteracting defensive behaviors and lifestyles are explored as a group of friends pool their resources and maintain a freer, less defended life. Problems arising in relationships based on the defenses of each partner are explored, and methods for recapturing intimacy are examined. Readers who appreciated Firestone and Catlett's Fear of Intimacy (CH, Jul'00) will value this book. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Most useful in professional and general collections. R. B. Stewart Jr. Oakland University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. 3
I. The Challengep. 13
Chapter 1. A Vision of a Meaningful Lifep. 15
Chapter 2. Factors That Impede Personal Developmentp. 35
II. Overcoming Barriers to Psychological Developmentp. 57
Chapter 3. Disrupting Fantasy Processesp. 59
Chapter 4. Challenging Addictive, Self-Nurturing Lifestylesp. 87
Chapter 5. A Feeling Versus Nonfeeling Existencep. 107
Chapter 6. Coping With Anger, Passivity, and a Victimized Point of Viewp. 131
Chapter 7. Generosity Versus Withholdingp. 149
Chapter 8. Challenging Self-Destructive, Microsuicidal, and Suicidal Tendenciesp. 165
Chapter 9. Defenses Against Death Anxietyp. 185
III. Restoring Intimacy in Relationshipsp. 211
Chapter 10. Couple Relationshipsp. 213
Chapter 11. Sexualityp. 239
Chapter 12. Family Relationshipsp. 271
Chapter 13. Child-Rearingp. 291
IV. Philosophical Considerationsp. 311
Chapter 14. Protecting the Rights of the Individual in Couples and Familiesp. 313
Chapter 15. Societal Forces: Malevolent and Benevolentp. 331
Chapter 16. Psychotherapy: Past, Present, and Future?p. 347
Chapter 17. The Therapeutic Value of Friendshipp. 367
Chapter 18. Spirituality, Mystery, and the Search for Meaningp. 377
Epiloguep. 387
Referencesp. 409
Author Indexp. 441
Subject Indexp. 449
About the Authorsp. 461