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Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair [Paperback]

Our Price $ 19.51  
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Item Number 425509  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   314
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 11, 2004
Publisher   Shambhala
ISBN  1590301013  
EAN  9781590301012  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A leading psychotherapist explains how to use one's negative emotions and pain, including depression, anxiety, fear, grief, and despair, to transform one's life, drawing on examples from her own practice to demonstrate how such dark emotions link us to the world around us and provide a path to growth, wisdom, and true happiness. Reprint.

Publishers Description
Nautilus Book Award Winner - Gold
We are all touched at some point by the dark emotions of grief, fear, or despair. In an age of global threat, these emotions have become widespread and overwhelming. While conventional wisdom warns us of the harmful effects of "negative" emotions, this revolutionary book offers a more hopeful view: there is a redemptive power in our worst feelings. Seasoned psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan argues that it's the avoidance and denial of the dark emotions that results in the escalating psychological disorders of our time: depression, anxiety, addiction, psychic numbing, and irrational violence. And she shows us how to trust the wisdom of the dark emotions to guide, heal, and transform our lives and our world.
Drawing on inspiring stories from her psychotherapy practice and personal life, and including a complete set of emotional exercises, Greenspan teaches the art of emotional alchemy by which grief turns to gratitude, fear opens the door to joy, and despair becomes the ground of a more resilient faith in life.

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More About Miriam Greenspan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Miriam Greenspan is an internationally known psychotherapist, writer, and speaker who has helped to establish the field of women's psychology. She is the acclaimed author of "A New Approach to Women and Therapy " and lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Death & Grief > Grief & Bereavement   [891  similar products]
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6Books > Subjects > Medicine > Specialties > Psychiatry > General   [2031  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Compassionate wisdom...  Aug 11, 2008
I can't recommend this book highly enough... The author writes is a very direct, honest, down-to-earth style, yet what she has to say is extremely profound. Like the little boy who says, "look, but the emperor has no clothes", she compassionately yet clearly through the cultural myths and denial that envelop and alienate us from the truth of our own direct experience.

I came to this book having read plenty of other books already on "the shadow", "befriending our pain", the dangers of "spiritual bypass", etc. etc. etc. so I was initially concerned that I might find some of this material old-hat or repetitive. Instead, I was delighted to find that the author offers a fresh and original take on these valuable subjects from the perspective of both Jewish spirituality and mysticism, as well as from the wisdom of her own hard-won experience.

The stories that the author shares from her own life, as well as the stories of the clients who have been fortunate enough to have her as a therapist, point to the real possibility of transformation and healing, by learning to listen to the wisdom of the "dark emotions". I found this book highly inspiring, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to find their way through and beyond the truth of suffering...

While I have never met the author, I want to say a heartfelt "thank you" for having written such a powerfully moving book...

Extremely useful for deepening emotional competence - very highly recommended  Jan 31, 2007
A relatively recent book with the simple but profound concept that fear, grief and despair contain the seeds of great wisdom, vitality and balance when they are experienced fully rather than phobically avoided. It demonstrates how our aversion to pain sabotages our search for happiness. I often recommend this book in my psychotherapy practice.
This booked helped me  Apr 1, 2006
I am a 9/11 survivor and this book really helped me accept my feelings rather than judging myself for having them. I bought this at this from an Awesome Deal I found on
Definitely a keeper!  Aug 27, 2003
Greenspan's book deserves wider recognition. I found it by accident online and I wish I had seen it earlier.

What I liked best: Greenspan writes from her own experienced as therapist and bereaved mother, a woman who came to the US as a young child and lost her first child due to unexplained brain defects. She knows the darker emotions first-hand.

Even better, Greenspan is not afraid to confront the received wisdom of the psychiatric establishment. Medication works for some depressed clients, but it is only by going into the emotion that we can transform despair into faith and fear into joy. She picks up on the values embedded in the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria: depression is a "mood disorder," which means that only cheerful, upbeat people are "normal."

I found myself making notes of key points that were unusual and insightful. In particular, her discussion of "boomerang emotions" will be especially valuable to anyone who's ever been frustrated in one area and acted out in another. It is easy to make impulsive, often dysfunctional decisions after stifling feelings for a long time. This section is one of the best in the book.

On the downside, I wish Greenspan had been more rigorous. Although her views seem sensible, some research suggets disagreement. For example, one study found that people recovered from grief as well if they were medicated as if they were allowed the full experience. Other studies have demonstrated that people experience grief differently. Some may not need to go deep into the feeling.

Because Greenspan works with therapy patients, she does not discuss the context of these "dark" emotions. Despair can be experienced by someone like William Styron, whom she discusses, as a person who seems on top of the world. But would there be a different experience of despair for someone who just lost a job, has little chance of finding a new job, anticipates old age and perhaps has family stresses too? Despair rooted in real obstacles seems somehow different from despair that has more existential "why are we here" origins. And biologically based depression seems to be different altogether.

Many New Age and popular authors (such as best-selling author Lynn Grabhorn) make exactly the opposite point: if you force yourself to be upbeat, your life gets better. I wish Greenspan had addressed this point directly, as some people do seem to do better after forced cheerfulness. This topic may not be amenable to scientific research but it would be nice to see some science-based discussion.

Finally, I wish Greenspan had stated her credentials on the book jacket. Is she a PhD? Does she have degrees? Has she published articles in academic or research journals? I was a little disconcerted by the discussion of chakras in a book by a more-or-less mainstream therapist.

Then again, Greenspan seems to be making a statement. She doesn't like the way we treat the darker emotions. And maybe she doesn't like the way therapists are categorized and pigeon-holed either. After all, there's no research (as far as I know) demonstrating that certain training results in better therapeutic outcomes. Definitely worth a read.

A must read for everyone  Apr 9, 2003
Everyone has losses. Everyone has wounds. This is not the end of joy but the beginning, if only we can learn to live with and find ourselves in our feelings, and embrace the life that waits for us on the other side of our pain. Miriam Greenspan's wise book is a warm and helpful guide to dealing with the dark emotions we all experience. As a writer and therapist myself I know how needed her book is and how valuable what she has to offer is. This is a must read for everyone.

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