Freud wrote in his famous essay that happiness is not included in the plan of creation Anxiety in culture (1939). But that doesn’t mean you should get frustrated. Freud developed a theory and method of treatment, psychoanalysis, which formed the basis for a smoldering body of schools of psychotherapy and guidance for alleviating suffering. To our contemporary happiness-oriented eyes, Freud’s goal may seem a bit too rigid: to replace neurotic suffering with real suffering. Freud explains that you still have to work hard to make it happen. It can make a global difference.
The ambition of British psychiatrist and writer Frank Thales is connected to this, although his tone is slightly more optimistic. in his book Life. What the greatest psychologists tell us about happiness, unease, and meaning وال He is looking for ways to an ideal life, least hindered by fears and other psychological torments. But life is still full of misfortunes and misfortunes, and the roads are not smooth.
The answers that Thales seeks to life’s constantly recurring problems do not come from philosophy (think of Alain de Botton’s book The consolation of philosophyNor from the religion that God deals with and disposes of. Thales evaluates psychotherapy thinking in terms of its value to people’s psychological problems, such as fears, loneliness, and inferiority.
These problems are in part all-times, but according to Thales, “human helplessness” is most acute at a time when it feeds fears and insecurity. The message of his book is clearly expressed in the English subtitle:What great psychologists can teach us about surviving discontent in an age of anxiety“.
Psychotherapy as an intellectual tradition
Thales argues that psychotherapy as an intellectual tradition can be a resource in everyday life, not only as a form of therapy, but also as a way of seeing. It’s not about healing, but about striving for the best life possible. Tradition can help us work on that.
In his book, a colorful procession of famous, forgotten and semi-consumer psychic thinkers: Maslow, Perls, Laing, Reich, Winnicott, Fromm, Eysenck, Frankl, passes in extraordinary groups, with Freud as a rock in the surf of all the turbulent currents.. who master the field. The book is organized not by chronology or by competing schools but by a number of vital issues, such as safety, identity, insight, narcissism, meaning and acceptance and highlighting what these therapists have written about them.
One of the central themes is the imbalance between parts of the self. This is the crux of Freud’s view of psychological problems, but concepts such as the divided self, the false self, and the contradictory or fragmented self also recur in Winnicott, Rogers, and Young and Ling. No matter how different the terms are, the goal is always to mend internal divisions.
The importance of the integrated story giving meaning, the narration, is one of the recurring themes in the book. Briefly, through a coherent life story in which the essential elements of the self are given place, Thales writes: “The variables of the self are connected to one another through stories.” “Your story is your connectable core—and if you can’t tell your story, you risk losing the plot.”
Formulas like this raise questions about plot and substance and about who can determine it, as well as how, but Thales language has something light and exciting that I like. For example, the titles and titles of his chapters: “Desires: The Trap of Greed, Inferiority: Consolation of Incompetence, Narcissism: Staring at the Pond”: This is different from the inaccessible terms in psychiatry textbooks.
Thales does not look for a remedy in changing social conditions, such as reducing poverty and social inequality, but it does keep an eye on the demands of the times. At the end of his book he says that people today are more unhappy, stressed and anxious than ever before. Such a thing is difficult to prove, but his interest in the influence of the external world on the inner world was fruitful. Today, as a result of information technology, people can create versions of themselves that have little connection to their “true selves” that are full of weaknesses and flaws, which can create a sense of division.
Adding to our weakness, Thales adds, is that the range in which people compete and compete has increased exponentially. For this reason, the feeling of inferiority increases rapidly and with it the tendency to compensate for this anxiety in harmful ways, with addictions, punitive sports routines and the pursuit of unattainable ideals of perfection.
Sometimes the advice that Thales gives is not so amazing at first glance. It refers to the importance of thinking, security, receiving and giving love, and satisfying basic needs without harming others. This seems a bit generic and uncomplicated.
What makes his argument intriguing however is his eye for inner struggles, for the importance of wisely navigating between conflicting desires and afflictions. People are not determined by their traumas, nor are they passive games of fate, but their lives cannot be determined by a cheerful decision or by following well-intentioned advice. You take your experiences with you, process them into a narrative, and search for meaning. It is a constant search for balance, between reflection and experience, between perseverance and abandonment, in line with what the situation requires. In short, the work remains hard, and it will not be handed over to you. “You have to practice being the person you want to be.”
Insights like this elevate the “lessons” from this book above advice for a better life or insights from new literature.
Thales ends the book with a picture of the result. The meaning of psychotherapy insights becomes fully visible only when they are lived, just as music becomes reality through the playing of musical notes. Through life itself.
Life. What the greatest psychologists tell us about happiness, unease, and meaning وال.
Atlas Contact 336 pages €22.99
There is something to be learned from this psychotherapy literature
What do reviewers themselves like to read? Shera Keeler is addicted to Classical psychoanalysis.
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