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 w obsolete defenses and mourn what cant be remedied or replaced. Rich clinical material demonstrates how mourning can bring about self-acceptance, 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, 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.