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Promises, Oaths, and Vows: On the Psychology of Promising Hardcover – Jan 23 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (Jan. 23 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881634549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881634549
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 1.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Herbert Schlesinger has long been a psychoanalytic clinician and theoretician whose wisdom has been valued by psychoanalysts everywhere.  As in all of Schlesinger's books, clinical pearls abound.  The psychotherapist or psychoanalyst who spends an afternoon or evening with this slim volume will be richly rewarded.  The clinical wisdom imparted in the pages will pay off in the reader's own practice.  I promise." - Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., American Journal of Psychiatry

"The next time you seek to have an inner dialogue via reading with a professionally experienced, well-read, and wise observer of the human condition, please give Promises, Oaths, and Vows: On the Psychology of Promising and its author a chance. I promise, I vow, and I aver an oath that Schlesinger's book is more than ready to be in the service of the psychology professional and what remains of a well-educated public." - Richard W. Bloom, Ph.D., PsycCRITIQUES

"In this fascinating, clear, wise and informative book by a master psychoanalytic clinician and educator, Herbert Schlesinger fills a gap in the developmental psychology literature regarding the ordinary and important human capacity for morality and trust. Promises, both implicit and explicit, form the basis of human relationships and are a requirement for our psychotherapy work. Dr. Schlesinger enlightens as he informs and can be read not only by psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals but by all educated seekers of compassionate truth." - Eric Marcus, M.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

"Schlesinger takes the commonplace and everyday acts of making, keeping, and breaking promises, and transforms and broadens them into a comprehensive and complexly nuanced psychoanalytic understanding of the psychology of promising in its multiple variations: ‘primary’ (propitiatory) and ‘secondary’ (morally committed) promising, explicit and implicit promising, etc., all as revealed in everyday life and in everyday psychotherapy, and also as attested in our entire cultural heritage, from the ancient Greek drama, through Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, and in the oaths, vows, and covenants that mark our religious traditions. A breathtaking enlargement of our psychological vistas." - Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D., Former President, American Psychoanalytic Association (1971-72) and International Psychoanalytical Association (1985-89)

"Herbert Schlesinger has been a prolific contributor to psychoanalytic psychology. With this third book of our new psychoanalytic century, he demonstrates the continuing vitality of traditional psychoanalytic ideas and his own ongoing generative talent."

-Jeffrey H. Golland, PhD, in Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, Fall 2008

"This volume reaches beyond the confines of psychoanalysis and psychothearpy to the realms of developmental psychology with special reference to moral development, philosophy, and the social sciences. It should be instructive as well as entertaining for nonclinician, psychoanalytically-informed readers."

- The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 197(4), 2009

About the Author

Herbert J. Schlesinger, Ph.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and Supervising Analyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is the author of two previous TAP titles, Endings and Beginnings (2005) and The Texture of Treatment (2003).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa471fd98) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4279210) out of 5 stars What emotional and cognitive developments occur in a child to make him or her capable of making and keeping promises? June 9 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Expert psychoanalytic clinician and educator Herbert J. Schlesinger presents Promises, Oaths, and Vows: On the Psychology of Promising, a thoughtful psychological study of a crucial lynchpin to modern civil society - that most people will do what they say they will do, and live up to their explicit or implicit promises. What emotional and cognitive developments occur in a child to make him or her capable of making and keeping promises? What forces compel individuals to keep a promise made with "good" intentions when there is no longer any practical reason to do so? Garnering information from sources ranging from literature on moral development in children, to psychotherapy of a patient who made and regularly broke unnecessary promises, and offering special insight for analysis in selecting which "promising" patients are most likely to benefit from treatment, Promises, Oaths, and Vows is highly recommended as a welcome addition to the body of research scrutinizing how the human minds work. "Unmodified psychoanalysis is a fine tool for helping patients to deal with self-deception but it is poorly equipped to deal with persons who intend consciously to deceive others. One tends to take for granted honesty and essential morality in those who come to us for help."