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Passion and Reason : Making Sense of Our Emotions
Lazarus, Richard S. and Bernice N. Lazarus
Oxford University Press [Trade] / Softcover / 1996-03-01 / 0195104617
Consumer/Survivor / Psychology
price: $21.95 (may be subject to change)
336 pages
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When Oxford published Emotion and Adaptation, the landmark 1991 book on the psychology of emotion by internationally acclaimed stress and coping expert Richard Lazarus, Contemporary Psychology welcomed it as "a brightly shining star in the galaxy of such volumes." Psychiatrists, psychologists and researchers hailed it as a masterpiece, a major breakthrough in our understanding of the emotional process and its central role in our adaptation as individuals and as a species. What was still needed, however, was a book for general readers and health care practitioners that would dispel the myths still surrounding cultural beliefs about emotion and systematically explain the relevance of the new research to the emotional dramas of our everyday lives.

Now, in Passion and Reason, Lazarus draws on his four decades of pioneering research to bring readers the first book to move beyond both clinical jargon and "feel-good" popular psychology to really explain, in plain, accessible language, how emotions are aroused, how they are managed, and how they critically shape our views of ourselves and the world around us. With his co-author writer Bernice Lazarus, Dr. Lazarus explores the latest findings on the short and long-term causes and effects of various emotions, including the often conflicting research on stress management and links between negative emotions and heart disease, cancer, and other aspects of physical and psychological health. Lazarus makes a strong case that contrary to common assumption, emotions are not irrational--our emotions and our analytical thought processes are inextricably linked.

While not a "how-to" book, Passion and Reason does describe how readers can interpret what lies behind their own emotions and those of their families, friends, and co-workers, and how to manage them more effectively. Exploring fifteen emotions in depth, from love to jealousy, the authors show how the personal meaning we give to the events and conditions of our lives trigger such emotions as anger, anxiety, guilt, and pride. They provide fascinating vignettes to frame a "biography" of each emotion. Some are composite case histories drawn from Dr. Lazarus's long career, but most are stories of people the Lazaruses have known over the years--people whose emotional fears, conflicts, and desires mirror readers' own. The Lazaruses also offer a special chapter on the diverse strategies of coping people use in managing their emotions, and another, "When Coping Fails," on psychotherapy and its approaches to emotional stress and dysfunction, from traditional Freudian psychoanalysis to continuing research into relaxation techniques, meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback.

Packed with insight and compellingly readable, Passion and Reason will enrich all readers fascinated by our emotional lives.

About the Authors:

Richard S. and Bernice Lazarus have been happily married since 1945. Richard S. Lazarus, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, was recipient of a 1989 Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association. He is the author of Emotion and Adaptation, Stress, Appraisal, and Coping and Psychological Stress and the Coping Process, and editor of the 14-volume Foundations of Modern Psychology series.

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