The Paradoxical Self

The Paradoxical Self

by Kirk J. Schneider


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As we enter the threshold of the new millennium, increased dangers face us on the foreign and domestic fronts: terrorism, rising substance abuse, youth violence, ethnic hatreds, and religious fundamentalism. On the individual level, people are experiencing rising levels of isolation, technological depersonalization, and existential emptiness. As a result, they feel angry, depressed, and directionless. Kirk J. Schneider, a leading existential psychologist, presents a model of breathtaking scope to redress these predicaments.

Drawing on the vast literature of existential psychology, Dr. Schneider develops what he calls the paradox principle, based on the assumptions that human experience spans a continuum from constriction to expansion, the former characterized by the capacity to yield and focus, the latter by the capacity to assert and incorporate, and that people become dysfunctional, polarized, or excessive when they fear either of these capacities.

After applying his model to a variety of dysfunctional syndromes, Dr. Schneider goes on to depict its relevance for psychological health. He ties his model directly to subjects' personal histories and shows its pertinence to creativity, physical health, religious and social organizations, child rearing, and psychology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306432682
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 03/28/1990
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 5.91(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.95(d)
Lexile: 1190L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Paradox and the Long Shadow of Kierkegaard21
Chapter 1The Paradox Principle: Basic Assumptions25
Chapter 2Dysfunctional Extremes35
Descriptions of the Dysfunctional38
Mixed Dysfunctions (Constrictive/Expansive Blends)50
Chapter 3The Basis for Dysfunctional Extremes: Background and Theoretical Roots55
Psychoanalytic Limitations59
The Limitations of "Self Psychology" and "Clinical Psychoanalysis"64
The Paradoxic Understanding71
Developmental Paradoxes75
Case Summaries of the Forms of Trauma86
Case IAcute Trauma86
Case IIChronic Trauma89
Implicit Trauma: Case Overviews91
Mixed Dysfunctions94
Chapter 4The Extremism of Everyday Life: Conventional Answers to Terror99
False Confrontations103
Individual vs. Collective Insanity120
Signs, Symbols, and Dreams122
Chapter 5Optimal Confrontations with Paradox137
Empirical Studies of Optimal Integration141
Optimal Personality: A Study in Controlled Madness142
Optimal Physical Health151
Optimal Organizations157
Optimal Societies160
Optimal Development167
Conclusion on the Empirical Status of Optimal Confrontations173
Optimal Worship: Confronting the Paradoxes of Religion173
Chapter 6Toward a Paradox-Based Therapy and a Therapeutic Rapprochement183
Case Illustrations194
Jane: A Case of Hyperexpansion194
Sally: A Case of Hyperconstriction198

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