This book foregrounds the life struggles of an individual, Brenda, in such a way that argument and theoretical exploration arise organically out of experience. The “frustration” of the title is traced to avoidant attachment – pretending not to need others. In Brenda this is associated with a body- energy pattern that is both over-charged and over-contained, generating a self-frustrating process. Such a repressive defence works against her, so that she experiences her life as dry, soulless, and uncreative. A variety of existential diffi culties are traced to how such core developmental issues interact with our socio-cultural environment. A way forward is outlined: play and finding meaning are identified as transformational hubs that bring wellbeing into Brenda’s life and restore her capacity for experiencing.
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Reviews and Endorsements:
‘This is a fascinating book. Barbara Dowds has a fertile, creative intelligence, which makes unexpected connections between the scientific and the spiritual, culture, and therapy. Her starting point is a masterful integration of the energy systems of the body with developmental neuroscience and attachment theory. This book really is an unusual and welcome addition to the understanding of attachment and human well-being. I enjoyed it very much.’
— Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain
‘Barbara Dowds’ profound and readable meditation on therapeutic movement from anomie to a meaning-infused life is an integrative triumph, drawing on attachment theory, psychodynamics, body therapies, literature, neuroscience, and psychodrama. These pearls of theory are seamlessly threaded around her fictional heroine, Brenda (the name evokes authorial overtones), an everywoman with whose travails the reader, therapist, or client – or both – can readily identify. This breath of fresh air will raise the spirits and widen the horizons of therapists wishing to escape the longueurs of conventional psycho-scripture.’
— Professor Jeremy Holmes MD, FRCPsych, University of Exeter, UK
About the Author:
Barbara Dowds, PhD, is a humanistic and integrative psychotherapist in the Dublin area. She teaches on the BSc in counselling and psychotherapy and is director of the MA in integrative psychotherapy in the Personal Counselling Institute (PCI College). For seven years she was on the editorial board of the Irish psychotherapy journal, Eisteach. Barbara was a senior lecturer in molecular genetics at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, until 2002 when she changed careers and began practising as a psychotherapist.