Despair and the Return of Hope: Echoes of Mourning in Psychotherapy
Publisher: Jason Aronson
ISBN 10: 0765705818
ISBN 13: 978-0765705815
When unmourned experiences of helplessness and disavowed desires turn into a passive fatalism, people stop hoping for the best and fear the worst, despairing that the real world has anything good to offer. This can lead individuals to memorialize past sufferings through psychological symptoms and compulsive repetitions. Dr. Shabad discusses how patients, after many years of living a life limited by resentment, fear, and despair, can come to terms with their childhood experiences: a mother who can never be satisfied, a father who consistently buries his head in the newspaper. He explains how people can overcome hardships endured and losses suffered. The authentic spontaneous dialogue between therapist and patient provides the generosity and courage necessary to shed their now obsolete defenses and mourn what cannot be remedied or replaced. Rich clinical material demonstrates how mourning can bring about selfacceptance, and set individuals free to take responsibility for and live out their own personal truths. This is a deeply felt, and beautifully written tribute to the redemptive power of psychotherapy and to the regenerative capabilities in all human beings.
Peter Shabad's remarkable new book reminds us of the reach and the resonance of the language of psychoanalysis at its best. His subject, in a sense, is the retreat from sociability; and his descriptions of what he calls the 'desperate morality of survival,' of the ways in which the troubled person cures himself by segregating his experience and then can't find a cure for his self cure, are among the most powerful in contemporary psychoanalysis. This is a book not merely for psychoanalysts, but for anyone interested in the roots of contemporary morality. (Adam Phillips, author of Promises, Promises)
Peter Shabad has written a book of large achievement. Despair and the Return of Hope is bound to usher in a new epoch in clinical discussions and debates about the problem of adapting to the facts of life. There are many reasons to applaud the author's accomplishments. I especially like his original clinical views on disillusionment (deep-seated negative illusions) and mourning (as distinguished from grief), and the refreshing ways he articulates complex ideas. Dr. Shabad walks comfortably and judiciously through the terrains of psychology, literature, philosophy, and popular culture. Mental health professionals will be impressed with his numerous and elegant clinical examples and his call for the use of the personal in psychotherapy. His treatise has broadened and deepened the therapeutic message. Dr. Shabad has written a book that sparkles with creativity as it scrutinizes the face of death. (Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP, Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis; Stephen A. Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis)
With Despair and the Return of Hope, Dr. Peter Shabad has masterfully crafted a richly textured, beautifully elegant work of art, a masterpiece that represents the culmination of years of clinical work and theoretical study. In a book that is at once inspired, inspiring, and poetic, Dr. Shabad has managed seamlessly to integrate the psychoanalytic and the existential. The result is a riveting volume whose pages are replete with clinically useful pearls of wisdom about life, death, and much that is in between. This is ultimately a story about transformation, forgiveness, and letting go; the development of the capacity to 'choose oneself' as one moves from disillusionment, hopelessness, and despair to freedom, hopefulness, and possibility. A must-read that you won't be able to put down until you've read every last word. (Martha Stark, M.D., Harvard Medical School; author, Modes of Therapeutic Action)
About the Author
Peter Shabad, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Northwestern University Medical School. He teaches, supervises, and maintains a private practice in Chicago.