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Averting Global Extinction : Our Irrational Society as Therapy Patient
Louis S. Berger
Jason Aronson, Inc. / Hardcover / Jul 2009
9780765706522 (ISBN-10: 0765706520)
Social Psychology / Psychotherapy
reg price: $110.00 our price: $ 93.50 (may be subject to change)
140 pages
Not in Stock, but usually ships within 2-3 weeks

The extensive literature about averting ecological disasters, nuclear catastrophe, and unsupportable overpopulation typically describes dangers, analyzes their implications, and presses for remedial action. It seems that what is taken as too obvious and well understood to mention, let alone to address seriously, is humanity's failure to give global and human survival top priority. More careful consideration of this irrational, self-destructive sociocultural negligence shows that it is complex, puzzling, and ensconced and perpetuated by pathological societal defenses. This paradox is Averting Global Extinction's subject; Berger argues that if these psychological defenses were reduced, so would be society's indifference to necessary action. The book's clinically informed approach conceptualizes society's self-destructiveness as an analogue to the self-destructive psychopathologies of individuals, identifies society's ubiquitous and destructive psychological defenses (denial, projection, and avoidance) as the chief element in that sociocultural psychopathology, and devises a "sociocultural therapy." This therapy is accomplished by translating a carefully selected individual psychotherapy framework, a subtype of the so-called analysis of defense, into a corresponding societal therapeutic methodology—society becomes the "patient."


Averting Global Extinction is a brilliant effort to save our species and our world from the consequences of our least mature, least realistic tendencies. As everything that sustains human life hurtles toward disaster, Louis Berger notes that our collective response has been a social pathology of denial, distraction, and wishful fantasy. Although other authors have published similar observations, this book is unique in offering a closely reasoned psychological approach to changing such self-defeating patterns. Berger's erudition encompasses theory and praxis, science and art, the insights of the past and the stunning originality of a new angle of vision. His writing combines the intellect of the philosopher with the wisdom of the experienced therapist. I hope this book is widely read while there is still time to apply that wisdom.
— Nancy McWilliams, PhD, Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology

Louis Berger has turned his critical mind to the dangers of global destruction and the result is a book that challenges the universal denial of reality. Viewing society as a patient in need of treatment, this discourse on psychoanalytic sociology can be read with profit by a general audience.
— Joseph Reppen, PhD, ABPP, former editor of the journals Psychoanalytic Psychology and Psychoanalytic Books

About the Author:

Louis S. Berger is a clinical psychologist and a former assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

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