Book Reviews

The End of Suicidology: Can We Ever Understand Suicide?

"This book may well mark a historic turning point for suicidology: not the end, but a re-awakening. This is a wake-up call." - C. A. Soper, PhD, Author of “The Evolution of Suicide”

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A Critical Introduction to Psychology

“I would have loved to have this book available when I first started teaching psychology. Its clear description and critical analysis of major themes running through the typical Introduction to Psychology course should prove invaluable to anyone teaching that course today or planning to do so in the future, as well as to anyone curious about mainstream psychology’s culturally determined biases. The book is a useful, thought-provoking corrective to unexamined assumptions, an excellent choice for seminars on the interplay between mainstream psychology and other institutions that reinforce a status quo that leaves little room for diverse non-Western perspectives. Even non-critical psychologists will find much to ponder here, along with a steady stream of observations to spark student interest.” - Dennis Fox, PhD, Emeritus Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Psychology, University of Illinois at Springfield, Co-founder, Radical Psychology Network

“This is an ‘introduction’ to psychology that is not merely ‘critical’ as a first step, but it traces a fully critical journey around the discipline, enabling the reader to develop their own theory and practice in such a way as to question the parameters of academically-enclosed images of the individual.” - Ian Parker, PhD, Psychoanalyst in Manchester, UK, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, Secretary of Manchester Psychoanalytic Matrix, President of the College of Psychoanalysts, UK

“A Critical Introduction to Psychology provides the reader with a timely, original and thought-provoking analysis of modern psychology, which offers a valuable perspective on the existing status-quo of psychology as an academic discipline. This book is a ‘must-read’ and an invitation to all scholars, teachers and students of psychology to critically reflect upon the reductionist conceptualizations and ideologies inherent in the discourses of introductory textbooks of psychology. As such the authors of Beshara’s edited volume introduce a compelling account on how a transdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to psychology provides a more inclusive, holistic and diverse view of human identity, behavior and cognition consistent with developments in history, philosophy, society, culture and the sciences.” - Laura Cariola, PhD, Honorary Fellow and Tutor in Clinical Psychology, The University of Edinburgh, Co-founder of Language and Psychoanalysis, Social Science Protocols, and Language and Mind Research Network, Leader editor of the book series “Language, Discourse and Mental Health”

"Robert Beshara’s edited book, A Critical Introduction to Psychology, is timely and historic. The volume brings together a collection of radical and cutting edge essays on critical psychology that provide an accessible counter narrative to the standard story of EuroAmerican psychology. What I found extraordinarily compelling about this book is the new humane and inclusive vision that Beshara lays out for the future of psychology. Questions about decolonization and decoloniality are the core of this vision and the book narrates a story of psychology that beautifully integrates psychoanalysis, humanistic and discursive psychology, feminism, anti-psychiatry, post-structuralism, liberation psychology, as well as theories from postcolonial studies. This book is bound to become a classic that will be read by undergraduate and graduate students across several disciplines and across generations. " - Sunil Bhatia, PhD, Professor of Human Development, Chair of the Human Development Department, Connecticut College

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The Happiness Compass: Theories, Actions and Perspectives for Well-Being

"The Happiness Compass covers a wide range of interesting topics related to subjective well-being. Its multi-disciplinary approach – psychology, economics, politics, social psychology, urban planning, religion, and health – provides a wide-ranging overview of the importance of well-being. Moreover, the case studies in various countries worldwide, international comparisons, and the description of numerous characteristics affecting subjective well-being demonstrate the growing importance of this research field almost everywhere. Francesco Sarracino’s edited volume indeed serves as a compass for many scholars interested in this fascinating Beyond GDP research." - Hans Schmeets, Special Professor of Social Statistics, Maastricht University

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The Power to Care: Effects of Power in Intimate Relationships

"Written with wit and elegance, Erez Zverling provides an impressive scholarly overview of the effects power can have on people in various domains, from intimate relationships to society at large. Using beautiful examples, the author shows that power affects us in both negative and sometimes surprisingly positive ways. This book will give the reader a truly deep understanding of what it means to have power, and what it means to lack power. " - Johan Karremans, Professor, Radboud University, Behavioral Science Institute, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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The Power to Care: Effects of Power in Intimate Relationships

"Written with wit and elegance, Erez Zverling provides an impressive scholarly overview of the effects power can have on people in various domains, from intimate relationships to society at large. Using beautiful examples, the author shows that power affects us in both negative and sometimes surprisingly positive ways. This book will give the reader a truly deep understanding of what it means to have power, and what it means to lack power. " - Johan Karremans, Professor, Radboud University, Behavioral Science Institute, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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Beyond Money: The Social Roots of Health and Well-Being

"Scholars concerned with cultural post-modernization tend to agree upon several basic assertions. At least one is relevant for the debates around wellbeing and quality of life. With the social and economic change, people focus on better life expressed in non-material way." READ MORE... - Reviewed by Bogdan Voicu, Senior Researcher I, Romanian Academy, Research Institute for Quality of Life

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Psychiatry on the Edge

"Dr. Ronald Pies latest book, Psychiatry on the Edge, is a masterful collection of his writings. In addition to having been editor of Psychiatric Times, Dr. Pies is a prolific scholar who has written about topics ranging from psychopharmacology, medical causes of psychiatric illnesses, ethics, Judaism, Buddhism, Stoicism, cognitive-behavior therapy, and poetry. In this volume, he explores how we can begin to understand what psychiatry is and what it is not. At a time when our field is under attack from many quarters, it is critically important to be able to discuss what it is that we do as psychiatrists in a non-defensive and intellectually rigorous manner. In order to do so it is helpful to critically view our field from different vantage points and prisms.

Dr. Pies engages the reader in a thoughtful review of relevant philosophy, drawing upon original source material. On a process level, we are taught about philosophic principles salient to our field. For those of us who never took philosophy (or who are a little rusty), we are treated to a highly educational and enjoyable overview. How best to learn about philosophy than to relate it to our own field and what better way to learn about psychiatry than to draw upon philosophy as a field of thought that is different than our usual intellectual framework! This book offers the reader an intellectual opportunity to learn (or relearn) philosophic principles and, by applying the basics of rational philosophic thought, be able to critically explore the very nature of psychiatry, including the many misunderstandings and negative polemic offered about our field in the popular press or when we are asked existential questions by our patients and others.

Dr. Pies is an exceptional author and scholar, able to draw upon many different topic areas and write in an enjoyable manner, which exemplifies such fantastic “synthetic thought.” This volume helps focus our attention on the central vexing issue our field faces: how do we embrace an evidence based, scientifically driven mindset while simultaneously maintaining the art of medicine, and the critical empathic connection with our patients, both of which are necessary for treating the hallmarks of disease – suffering and incapacity. Pies offers the concept of “polythetic pluralism,” which embraces the world of both medical science and the healing arts.

The essay “Can Psychiatry be Both a Medical Science and a Healing Art? The case for Polythetic Pluralism” should be read by all psychiatric providers. The book also goes a long way in debunking the belief that psychiatry is not scientifically based, reminding us that mental health signs and symptoms are as real as the headaches that a neurologist treats. The fact that mental phenomena are subjectively experienced does not detract from the validity of symptoms representing disease. As an example, affect and mood can be assessed in a reliable manner and can reflect valid distress and illness despite being subjectively experienced. Logical positivism is put in a safe perspective that does not allow it to crowd out the very meaning of psychiatric illness.

Dr. Pies is a very wise physician who shares his knowledge and insights with true generosity. In addition to learning about philosophic thinking, he shares insights into many topics including health care as a basic human right, psychiatrist participation in executions and interrogations, gun control, and internet ethics, to name a few. Each section left me with many new ideas and I was often awe inspired.

This is a thinking person’s collection, with much to learn, enjoy, and share with each other. Psychiatry on the Edge develops a dialog which helps us define who we are and what we do as psychiatrists, critical in understanding our field and sharing it with others. I highly recommend this contribution as the reader will be rewarded with much knowledge and many deep insights."
- Jeffrey S. Barkin MD, DFAPA, Portland, Maine, US

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Psychoanalysis and Complexity

"The book of Dr. Lenti is to be considered as a considerable effort on the part of the author to try to establish an epistemological platform that would support a scientific point of view the evolution of the psychoanalytic theories from Freud's drive theory to the theory that today we might call the theory of affections according to James Grotstein. His intellectual commitment marries our attention and our solidarity of psychoanalysts, I am convinced that we really have to thank him for the publication of this book." - Giuseppe Ballauri

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Relationship Paradox: The Spiritual Quest for Union and Freedom

"Dr. Kendell Thornton's book is an insightful and engaging study of the psychology of relationships. He explains the paradoxes of relationships,such as why we hurt the ones we love and why we want what we cannot have, in ways that are both interesting and profound. Understandable and useful for psychologists and general readers alike, Relationship Paradox is a much needed addition to the relationship science literature, and a book that can help anyone gain a deeper understanding of the most important things in our lives our personal relationships." - William Indick, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, USA

"Relationship Paradox does double-duty: a concise overview of the scholarly research on relationships, and original insights from Dr. Thornton on the essence of great relationships integrating ideas across many areas within psychology. Highly recommended!" - Marcus C. Tye, Ph.D., Sexuality & Our Diversity: Integrating Culture with the Biopsychosocial (in preparation for late 2012 / early 2013 release), Professor of Psychology, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, USA

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Loneliness, Love and All that’s Between: A Psychological Look at What Makes Us Lonely and What Keeps Us in Love

"Is well written, with a good, logical flow of valuable information, easy to read and understand, and should be on every counselor's/ psychologist's/ social worker's desk. It also should be required reading In college counseling, mental health and related courses. This book is a winner. Few books cover the topic of loneliness as does this one. The Chapter " Enriching Good Marriages and Fixing Bad Ones " is a must read for everyone. Dr. Rokach has produced a winner! Congratulations!" - Joseph P. Cangemi, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, WKU

"Dr. Rokach’s book offers a wide range of perspectives on loneliness. Spanning all age groups, the analysis helps the reader to understand the meaning and implications of loneliness. The research-supported approaches to overcoming loneliness are wonderful tools in coming to an understanding of one’s loneliness and how to cope with it. Case examples used throughout the book not only illustrate how loneliness affects individuals, but also relationships; providing hope for those experiencing loneliness within their relationships. In a compelling way, the book encapsulates a breadth of information about what makes or breaks relationships while program suggestions provide the reader with clear direction and useful ideas. Loneliness, Love and All That’s Between is a book that is a perfect guide for couples or individuals who are experiencing loneliness. Nicely done Dr. Rokach! - Nicole Mitchell, MEd (Counselling Psych)

"Dr. Rokach’s new book dissects the complex issue of loneliness which is so prevalent today. He walks us through identifying and assessing our intimate relationships, and how to improve them. In an age where nearly 50% of marriages break down, it is valuable to have a roadmap to optimizing the union we have chosen, and because it is written in easily understood terminology and with many anecdotes, a greater audience will be able to benefit from the knowledge imparted.” - Doreen Davies Ioannou, Author of “A New Eden”

"This is a wonderful book with a very thorough, exhaustive approach to the topic of loneliness. The amount of information and the comprehensive analysis with which the various points are depicted is quite impressive." READ MORE... - Milada Disman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (retired), Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, ON, Canada

"Loneliness, Love and All that’s Between: A Psychological Look at What Makes Us Lonely and What Keeps Us in Love provide comprehensive overviews of loneliness in adult romantic relationships. Written from the perspectives of clinical psychologists engaged both in couple therapy and in academia, the books are an attempt to fill in a literature gap regarding the experience of loneliness despite being actively involved in an intimate relationship." READ MORE... - Alex Molaver, University of Connecticut in the May 2016 newsletter, Interpersonal Acceptance

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