"... fascinating and an enjoyable read....steeped in well researched and relevant psychological and sociological perspectives applicable to all social studies areas..."
University of Chichester
""Firestone and Catlett's 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.
Robert W. Firestone, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, author, and artist, who has established a comprehensive body of work that explains how defenses formed by children early in life in relation to interpersonal pain are strongly reinforced as they become aware of death. These defenses impair people's ability to sustain intimate adult relationships and have a damaging effect on their children. Dr. Firestone was engaged in the private practice of psychotherapy from 1957 to 1979, working with a wide range of patients, expanding his original ideas on schizophrenia, and applying these concepts to a theory of neurosis. In 1979 he joined the Glendon Association as its consulting theorist. Dr. Firestone's major publications include The Fantasy Bond, Compassionate Child-Rearing, Fear of Intimacy, and The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships. His studies of negative thought processes-or internalized "voices"-led to the development of an innovative therapeutic methodology described in Voice Therapy, Suicide and the Inner Voice, Combating Destructive Thought Processes, Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice, Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy, and Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships. In collaboration with his daughter, Dr. Lisa Firestone, he developed three assessment instruments based on the concept of the voice process: The Firestone Assessment of Self-Destructive Thoughts (2007), The Firestone Assessment of Suicide Intent (2007), and the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts (2008).
Joyce Catlett, MA, author and lecturer, is the coauthor of Fear of Intimacy, (1999), Psychological Defenses in Everyday Life (2000), Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice (2002), Creating a Life of Meaning & Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy (2003), Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships (2006), and The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships (2009). She has collaborated with Dr. Robert Firestone in writing peer-reviewed articles and several other books, such as The Fantasy Bond (1985), Compassionate Child-Rearing (1990), and Voice Therapy (1988) Ms. Catlett is a lecturer and workshop facilitator in the areas of child-abuse prevention and couple relations. She has coproduced forty video productions for the Glendon Association in the areas of parent-child relations, suicide, couple relations, and voice therapy. A child mental health specialist, Ms. Catlett has developed and trained instructors in the Compassionate Child-Rearing Parent Education Program throughout the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica.
--- from the publisher