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Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic Paperback – Jan 1 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791430766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791430767
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #884,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on June 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
Diamond redeems anger in much the same way that May redeemed Anxiety over 50-years ago. A student of May's, Diamond shows an excellent grasp of both May's work and the broader context of exisential and depth psychology. Particularly helpful is Diamond's ability to apply the concept of the daimon to psychopathology and the psychological disorders. This provides for a penetrating analysis of pathology from an existential perspective along with a new approach to the etiology of these disorders.
In this single volume, Diamond shows himself to be one of the leaders in contemporary existential thought. This book should be a must read for contemporary students and practitioners of depth psychology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johann on Dec 5 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a clinical psychologist, and in my list of favorite books, I write this:
Diamond writes: "The volatile emotions of anger and rage have been broadly 'demonized,' vilified, maligned, and rejected as purely pathological, negative impulses with no real redeeming qualities. As a result, most 'respectable' Americans habitually suppress, repress, or deny their anger-inadvertently rendering it doubly dangerous." He also clarifies, while developing the ideas of Rollo May, how we therapists collude with our clients and culture, thus depriving ourselves of the value and resources of this normal dimension of our being. He integrates psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential theory under a new rubric of Existential Depth Psychology. As May states, our job is often "not to still the daimons but to wake them."
In addition, I think this is an important, engaging, and well-written work that I wish all my colleagues would read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "feynline" on Oct. 23 1999
Format: Paperback
a difficult book to read, stylistically speaking. the sentences are awkward, and 300 pages later i couldn't adapt to the point that they smoothed out. chapters 2-5, roughly 100 pages, seemed particularly viscous. i went through the entire book without feeling that i really knew what the author meant by the term "daimonic." there's a footnote from the intro that gives a hint, another hint on page 65, but after going through it a third time the best i can do is work backward from terms from freud and jung. diamond provides reasonably informative and entertaining overviews of noted theorists and brief biographies of creative artists. the most welcome line of the book for me was a quote from rollo may: "the task of the therapist is to conjure up the devils rather than put them to sleep." no devils, and few other readers, will be particularly stirred up by the book, i'm afraid, but i give it a four for the revelation that western thinkers have arrived at "confrontation therapy" mere thousands of years after the orient (a zen master shoved his non-swimming student into a deep pond. as the student thrashed, the master calmly asked, "at this moment, what is your original mind?").
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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Required reading for understanding anger and creativity. June 9 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You hear of it almost daily, the mayhem. A building is dynamited in the name of some high-sounding cause. A gang sprays a street corner with bullets. Children bring hunting rifles to school. A comic's wife kills him, then herself.
For a country drenched in violence I can't imagine a book more timely than "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity" (SUNY Press, 1996). Having counseled violent men and teens court-referred for mandatory therapy, I can state my reaction to the book in two words: read it.
Building on the work of Rollo May, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and other well-known theorists, Dr. Stephen A. Diamond has brought to the exploration of our violence epidemic his experiences as a psychotherapist and forensic psychologist. He also draws on art, literature, philosophy, and comparative religion to reveal the roots of rage.
Those roots are, to use the classical expression, daimonic, a term also favored by James Hillman. Anger is a natural, dynamic reaction to woundedness, injustice, violation, powerlessness. When repressed and denied, however, anger ferments into a neurotic, narcissistic rage, which itself gets repressed until it explodes. You cannot banish a vital facet of yourself without suffering consequences. The executive who jumps out a window, the postal worker who comes to work with a pistol, the celebrity who one day massacres a mate are not necessarily insane: we all cast shadows, and everyone who stuffs down anger for too long is at risk. (My work with violent men has repeatedly shown me that the passive, "it doesn't bother me" gentlemen in denial of how angry they really are routinely reviolate and return to jail.)
And what are psychotherapists doing about the rage epidemic? In some cases unknowingly boosting its virulence. By medicating or misinterpreting anxiety, irritability, conflict, or other symptoms of repressed anger, a symptom-oriented psychotherapy-increasingly the only kind p! aid for by insurance companies --can actually become one more weapon for banishing the daimonic from consciousness, thereby rendering it incapable of transformation. Dr. Diamond is clear that a model of persons that focuses only on growth, healing, and wholeness but not on passivity, irresponsibility, or victim-thinking does all of us a disservice and reinforces the widespread denial and false optimism that help turn daimonic anger into demonic destructiveness.
Dr. Diamond points out that managing our anger and rage involves respecting and relating consciously to our daimonic impulses, acting creatively rather than acting out. Creativity is not a skill or a gift, however, but a way of being that is open to everyone with the courage to make constructive use of the dark side-within. For the daimonic, as Rollo May and Paul Tillich and the ancient Greeks well knew, is by nature also creative, and only by tapping its vitality can we humanize its destructive potential, brother to the mayhem all around, into what Nietzsche referred to as "light and flame."
How do we do it? Read the book and find out.
Craig Chalquist, M.S.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Working with the Daimonic April 6 2010
By Steven Herrmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Steven B. Herrmann, PhD, MFT
Author of "William Everson: The Shaman's Call"

Steven Diamond's book is a key to understanding some effective methods and techniques which may clearly delineate how to deal constructively with daimonic anger and rage in psychotherapy and most importantly, how to transform them creatively in the consulting room. The "daimonic" is, Diamond notes, a symbolic concept, one which Rollo May amplified courageously, in the late sixties and early seventies in his books, lectures, and articles, culminating with his seminal paper "Psychotherapy and the Daimonic" (Myths, Dreams, and Religion, New York: Dutton, 1970). May made the paradoxical claim that it is the task of the psychotherapist "to conjure up the devils rather than put them to sleep" (Diamond, 181) The goal is not to repress the daimonic but to activate it, he says, to bring it to full awareness. "Great creativity," Diamond adds "is most often an amalgam of many elements, including mental disorder, disease and evil. Herman Melville, in his epic novel Moby-Dick, goes so far as to suggest that great women and men `are made so through a certain morbidness.... All mortal greatness is but disease'" (261). The problem of modern psychotherapy, in Diamond's view, is how to transform this basic human proclivity for destruction (including madness) into healthy passion which would include anger, eros, and creativity. In Diamond's view, techniques should "be employed for the express purpose of cultivating the daimonic rather than suppressing, diffusing, or eradicating it" (221, 222) and his use of "cultivating" implies maturation and differentiation. "We are, to some significant degree," Diamond says "all responsible for defining that yet obscured way which will lead us to our destiny: not our individual personal and professional destinies, but the collective destiny of this country" (299). Diamond seems never to overlook the personal or the ethical aspects of our profession. He accents the duty that psychotherapists today have to transform the daimonic through social as well as clinical action. This is an important book that I highly recommend.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
An important work Dec 5 2002
By Johann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a clinical psychologist, and in my list of favorite books, I write this:

Diamond writes: "The volatile emotions of anger and rage have been broadly `demonized,' vilified, maligned, and rejected as purely pathological, negative impulses with no real redeeming qualities. As a result, most `respectable' Americans habitually suppress, repress, or deny their anger-inadvertently rendering it doubly dangerous." He also clarifies, while developing the ideas of Rollo May, how we therapists collude with our clients and culture, thus depriving ourselves of the value and resources of this normal dimension of our being. He integrates psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential theory under a new rubric of Existential Depth Psychology. As May states, our job is often "not to still the daimons but to wake them."

This is an important, engaging, and well-written work that I wish all my colleagues would read.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An excellent contribution to the field!! June 6 2004
By Anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Diamond redeems anger in much the same way that May redeemed Anxiety over 50-years ago. A student of May's, Diamond shows an excellent grasp of both May's work and the broader context of exisential and depth psychology. Particularly helpful is Diamond's ability to apply the concept of the daimon to psychopathology and the psychological disorders. This provides for a penetrating analysis of pathology from an existential perspective along with a new approach to the etiology of these disorders.
In this single volume, Diamond shows himself to be one of the leaders in contemporary existential thought. This book should be a must read for contemporary students and practitioners of depth psychology.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Existentialism at it's best! April 14 2011
By Robert Ortiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a new student of psychology and this book was amazing and what it has to say about violence in our culture. It's observations on how off the mark we are as a society to stop the violence is also priceless!

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