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Healing The Soul In The Age Of The Brain [Paperback]

Elio Frattaroli
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 27 2002
We would all like a quick fix for our problems, a simple pill to take away our anxiety and lift us out of our depression. But there is no quick fix for the soul, and anxiety and depression may be signals of the soul's unmet needs. In this landmark work, Dr. Elio Frattaroli challenges our fixation on psychiatry's "Medical Model," which treats mental illness solely with drugs instead of seeking a deeper understanding of our problems-in other words, treating symptoms rather than people.

Combining a Renaissance humanism with a sophisticated understanding of modern science, he makes an impassioned, persuasive case for "listening to the soul"-paying attention to the inner life of the emotions, both in psychotherapy and in our everyday lives. Drawing upon philosophy, literature, psychology, and riveting case histories from his own life and practice, Frattaroli explores what has happened to a culture that has been "listening to Prozac" and hearing nothing else.

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From Publishers Weekly

A decade after Peter Kramer's bestselling Listening to Prozac (also published by Viking) refashioned cultural attitudes and beliefs about mental, emotional or personality disorders and their treatment, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Frattaroli reexamines the "Medical Model" of psychiatry, according to which disturbances such as brain chemistry imbalances are treated solely with psychopharmacology. Lamenting that the brain has replaced the mind or the soul as the object of healing in psychiatry, he offers a clear and comprehensive description of how the alternative "Psychotherapeutic Model" works to bring the unconscious into consciousness, addressing inner conflicts that can't be medicated and ultimately offering deeper and more permanent healing. Using case studies from his own practice, Frattaroli makes a strong argument for the effectiveness of and need for long-term psychotherapy. However, he is careful not to condemn the use of drugs in treating mental and emotional disorders. Heavily influenced by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, with whom he trained, and borrowing from Martin Buber's "I-Thou" vs. "I-It" principle, Frattaroli provides an unusually lucid explanation of Freud's theories of personality, inner conflict, transference and the therapeutic relationship. In view of the current "quick fix" culture and the "greed of the managed care industry," which doesn't usually pay for long-term psychotherapy, Frattaroli calls for an integration of biological and psychoanalytic approaches. His insights are fresh, highly readable, informative, passionate and memorable. (Sept.)Forecast: Ten years in the making, this thoughtful defense of the talking cure could be important and influential for many years to come. A six-city author tour is scheduled for January

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

To his first book, Frattaroli, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and teacher (Univ. of Pennsylvania), brings wide reading in science and the humanities, long experience as a therapist, and remarkable self-analysis. The result is a discursive, challenging, important meditation on the human process of helping others and ourselves through a complex empathic awareness. Frattaroli critiques the ills of scientific materialism, the medical model, and the culture of quick fixes, arguing that the soul needs another kind of healing. In this regard, he both defends and improves upon Freudian psychology with the help of Niels Bohr, Erik Erikson, John Searle, and even Plato and Descartes and arrays it against neurological and pharmaceutical evangelism. Yet while he crusades against a strictly materialist bias, Frattaroli does not engage in New Age soul-flashing, instead respecting brain chemistry, the conservative use of medication, and the tools of humane science. Ultimately, he brings out what is best in the therapeutic procedure. It is only disappointing that Carl Jung gets a mere footnote and that Otto Rank is not mentioned. A major achievement, this is essential for all libraries. E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Facing Life Straight On Feb. 6 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Elio Frattaroli is a man if intellect and integrity. His book is academically challenging while being spiritually enriching. In the tradition of M. Scott Peck and William Glasser, Elio challenges us to face life straight on without numbing ourselves with mind altering pharmaceuticals. I found his metaphor of life as a swimming pool or a quest a call to action in my life. Elio does not hand us ten easy steps to Nirvana. Instead he challenges those in the helping professions to assist people in learning life's lessons through the challenges that life brings. This is not light reading but for anyone who desires to live life on purpose a must read.
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By John
Format:Paperback
I had been immersed in the psychoanalytic process for over three years when I came across this book. Having experienced, first hand, the soulful aspects of analysis, both pleasant and painful, I connected instantly to Dr. Frattaroli's accounts of his work with patients. I am convinced that the only sane and solid path to emotional well being is the long, introspective one described so eloquently in this book. If you have ever considered beginning psychoanalysis (or you are simply interested in learning more about what it means to be fully human) then I strongly recommend that you read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a great read March 5 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
THis book was obviously written by a great Freudian analyst. It is very thought-provoking, and worth the read, especially if you are in analysis or some form of talk-therapy. Frattaroli makes several important points about the importance of talk therapy, and giving up some of the medications to get the work done - no matter how difficult the journey.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Companion to the Psychoanalytic Process May 27 2003
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had been immersed in the psychoanalytic process for over three years when I came across this book. Having experienced, first hand, the soulful aspects of analysis, both pleasant and painful, I connected instantly to Dr. Frattaroli's accounts of his work with patients. I am convinced that the only sane and solid path to emotional well being is the long, introspective one described so eloquently in this book. If you have ever considered beginning psychoanalysis (or you are simply interested in learning more about what it means to be fully human) then I strongly recommend that you read this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read March 5 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
THis book was obviously written by a great Freudian analyst. It is very thought-provoking, and worth the read, especially if you are in analysis or some form of talk-therapy. Frattaroli makes several important points about the importance of talk therapy, and giving up some of the medications to get the work done - no matter how difficult the journey.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the inherent duality of existence from a psychodynamic perspective March 1 2011
By Omar Azam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A really mind-opening book (quite an accomplishment for a psychological theorist).
I read the first half of it and was sufficiently blown away that I had to pause. Also,
the remainder is heavy on the case study and a psychdynamic case study which is a
little bit indulgent. However, the author has a very original and powerful theoretical
framework which inquiring minds should examine. I liked the opening chapters a lot
regarding the philosophy of science and the inherent duality of existence.

I was awakened to the undeniable existence of the subjective after
reading these chapters. As long as there is an "I", the I's interpretation of
reality is all that really matters to that individual, in the way one speaks
of Descartes epiphany. In the end, when you throw away everything you have
ever learned, all that is really cogent and true is that which is
subjective.

As a matter of fact, this book helped inspire the title of my
poetry website, Subjective Substance.

I really liked the concrete examples that challenged modern brain science.
It really seems that brain scientists are involved in trying to map
responses to brain manipulation to subjective states. For example, their
logic goes, "If we can find that manipulating this region of the brain leads
to the person seeing red, then we can conclude that we can assume that this
part of the brain maps to the color red for all people all the time."

A few of my thoughts on this:

A fundamental problem with this logic is that they are trying to correlate a
subjective state based on an objective manipulation and then throw away the
utility of the subjective report.

If we look at this from an experimental perspective, what they are trying to
do is perform a regression of subjective state on objective manipulation.
The predictor variable is the physical manipulation and the outcome variable
is the subjective state. One problem is that they are still relying on the
subjective report of the patient as the outcome variable! They are still
bound to consider the subjective state as they go about trying to equate
objective with subjective. Now, as long as the relationship between the
manipulation and the subjective state is 100% consistent within that subject
and between all subjects, they are correct in their unification theory. But
otherwise, this correlation is really spurious, because the subjective state
really is the litmus test.

My comment on the book, in my opinion, furthers the ammunition against the
attempt to throw away subjective report as the important thing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly composed! Sept. 3 2008
By Int'l Trade And Corp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful exploration of psychiatry and the human condition examined through humanistic and philosophic lenses. Thoroughly challenging, delightful, and poignant. Re-readable for years. Highly recommended.
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