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Self-Delight in a Harsh World the Main Stories of Individual, Marital and Family Psychotherapy

by James P. Gustafson

Self-Delight in a Harsh World The Main Stories of Individual, Marital and Family Psychotherapy cover
  • ISBN: 9780393701364
  • ISBN10: 0393701360

Self-Delight in a Harsh World the Main Stories of Individual, Marital and Family Psychotherapy

by James P. Gustafson

  • List Price: $22.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
  • Publish date: 05/01/1992
  • ISBN: 9780393701364
  • ISBN10: 0393701360
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Description: This book is about the kinds of plots that run the lives of patients. Just as natural selection selects the forms of animals, so the selection of human hierarchies chooses us for our willingness to take the forms required by the hierarchies: subservience, bureaucratic delay, and overpowering. The territory delimits the plots, and within each of the three kinds of plots are allowable variations of characters. The book is also about the three kinds of psychotherapy that attempt to deal with these plots: (1) objective psychiatry or psychotherapy, which deals with the outside surface and names the character, as in DSM-III-R; (2) subjective psychiatry or psychotherapy, which deals with the inside surface of plots and often starts with the person's dreams; and (3) narrative psychiatry or psychotherapy, which attempts to deal with both, that is, playing the inner dream onto the outer world. Thirdly, this is a book about the three kinds of therapeutic work that spring people free of old plots into new stories they prefer: individual, marital, and family work. Acknowledging the advantages of subjective, objective, and narrative work, Gustafson meets his readers halfway with their current practice and then shows them what is left out by each tradition and how one might go further to a full explication of stories. When therapists can identify the variations which only keep the patient in the same class of stories, they can spot beacons that will lead the hero out of them--the hero, as Joseph Campbell would say, of a thousand faces. Ultimately, this is a book about delight, about triumphing over harsh hierarchies, about writing one's own realistic and growth-enhancing story.
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