The Self Under Siege: A Therapeutic Model for Differentiation

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How much of our identity or 'self' is truly representative of our own wants, needs, and goals in life and how much does it reflect the desires and priorities of someone else? Are we following our own destiny or are we unconsciously repeating the lives of our parents, living according to their values, ideals, and beliefs? In this thought-provoking book, noted clinical psychologist Robert Firestone and his co-authors explore the struggle that all of us face in striving to retain a sense of ourselves as unique individuals. The self is under siege from several sources: primarily pain and rejection in the developmental years, problems in relationships, detrimental societal forces, and existential realities that affect all people.

Through numerous case studies and personal stories from men and women who participated in a 35-year observational study, the authors illustrate how voice therapy, a cognitive/affective/behavioral methodology pioneered by Firestone, is used to elicit, identify, and challenge the destructive inner voice and to change aversive behaviors based on its prescriptions. The theory they describe integrates the psychodynamic and existential approaches underlying voice therapy and is enriched by research findings in the neurosciences, attachment research, and terror management theory (TMT).

An important addition to the area of personality development theory, The Self under Siege offers a new perspective on differentiation and the battle to separate ourselves from the chains of the past. It provides psychotherapists and other mental health professionals with the tools needed to help clients differentiate from the dysfunctional attitudes and toxic personality traits of their parents, other family members, and harmful societal influences that have unconsciously dominated their lives. This book will have a special appeal to clients and, in fact, to any person interested in his/her own personal development

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About the author

Robert W. Firestone, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and author. He has been affiliated with the Glendon Association as its consulting theorist since its inception. His innovative ideas related to psychotherapy, couple and family relationships, suicide, parenting, and existential issues have been the inspiration and cornerstone of Glendon's research and many publications.

Lisa Firestone, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Research and Education at the Glendon Association. She also maintains a private practice in Santa Barbara, CA. Since 1987, she has been involved in clinical training and applied research in the areas of suicide and violence.

Joyce Catlett, MA, is an author and lecturer. Since 1979, she has collaborated with Robert Firestone on writing 12 books and numerous articles. She currently lectures and conducts continuing education workshops at universities and mental health facilities throughout the United States and Canada.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Sep 10, 2012
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781136332555
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Psychotherapy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much--just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
--from Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork--all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.

Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. Step by step, she leads us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.


From the Hardcover edition.
"This book fruitfully serves those looking to apply Ernest Beckerís ideas psychotherapeutically, in individual counseling or in group therapy. A capstone to Robert Firestoneís 50 years of work in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and psychiatry and to the numerous books written by these authors, Firestone and Catlett show how to apply the themes and implications of the ideas of Ernest Becker in everyday life. Their basic premise is that accepting death is part of developing an affirming and meaningful experience of life. Contributing to the credibility of their presentation is the wealth of clinical evidence and personal experience Firestone and Catlett incorporate."

--The Ernest Becker Foundation

"[F]ascinating and an enjoyable read....steeped in well researched and relevant psychological and sociological perspectives applicable to all social studies areas..."

--Carol Lloyd
University of Chichester

"Firestone and Catlettís work is a marvelous achievement....This volume is both innovative and intrepid. Firestone and Catlett challenge prevailing psychoanalytic views on death and they demolish many of the accepted canons of thanatology and existential psychology. ...This is required reading for anyone who purports to talk about death."

-- Jerry Piven, PhD
Author of Death and Delusion: A Freudian Analysis of Mortal Terror

"[A] towering synthesis of personal and clinical wisdom about death....with a superb overview of the psychology of death and death anxiety....Dr. Firestone draws on the best of the existential-humanistic as well as the psychoanalytic thinkers to address a flourishing path toward self-realization."

-Kirk J. Schneider, PhD
Author, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy and Awakening to Awe
(From the Foreword)

Firestone and Catlett's groundbreaking volume assists mental health practitioners in helping their clients learn to accept and face their mortality. They describe the many defenses of death anxiety that keep individuals from achieving personal fulfillment, and also suggest methods to cope directly with fears of death; an approach that, ironically, can lead to more satisfaction, more freedom, and a greater appreciation for the gift of life.

This book examines the many destructive consequences of death anxiety, including introversion, depression, and withdrawal from life. Throughout the book, the authors demonstrate the importance of achieving what they call life-affirming death awareness.

Key topics include: The dawning awareness of death and its impact on the developing child Literal and symbolic defenses against death anxiety Separation theory and "the fantasy bond" Challenging the defenses that interfere with living fully Microsuicide: the death of the spirit Breaking with limiting religious dogma and cultural worldviews

With this book, mental health practitioners and their clients will be able to better understand death awareness, overcome the defenses against death anxiety, and ultimately lead richer, more fulfilling lives.

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