I Shop Therefore I Am

Overview

Compulsive buying is a serious, often secretive affliction, with profound emotional, social, occupational, and financial consequences. As many as a quarter of us have problems with buying, and studies suggest that between one and six percent of the population are full-fledged compulsive buyers. I Shop,Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self brings together, for the first time, the most important thinking about this disorder. As more and more therapists encounter compulsive buying (whether as a ...

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Overview

Compulsive buying is a serious, often secretive affliction, with profound emotional, social, occupational, and financial consequences. As many as a quarter of us have problems with buying, and studies suggest that between one and six percent of the population are full-fledged compulsive buyers. I Shop,Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self brings together, for the first time, the most important thinking about this disorder. As more and more therapists encounter compulsive buying (whether as a presenting problem or revealed in the course of ongoing therapy), the need for an in-depth clinical understanding of the disorder has grown. Dr. Benson has responded admirably to that need with a practical, comprehensive, and wonderfully readable work. While the book focuses a wide-angled lens on the many aspects of compulsive buying, it emphasizes understanding the disorder as a desperate search for self in people whose identity is not securely established. It defines the syndrome of compulsive consumption, examines the range and variations within it, discusses assessment and associated disorders, and delineates successful treatment modalities. Offering insights from a broad spectrum of therapies–psychopharmacology, psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment, couples and group therapy, self-help, and financial counseling–this book is an indispensable toolbox for the increasing number of therapists who see patients with shopping, buying, or debting problems. A Jason Aronson Book

Disc. assessment, treatment modalities, identity issues & associated disorders; couples counseling, support groups.

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Editorial Reviews

Joseph A. Califano
Dr. Benson and her colleagues have given us the first serious, scholarly, comprehensive (and fascinating) study of compulsive buying, its root causes, accompanying disorders, and treatment approaches.
Frank M. Lachmann and Beatrice Beebe
Shopping, often ridiculed, pathologized as an obsession and a perversion, and associated with frivolous women, has now been given serious, balanced, and substantive treatment. Using current contributions from infant research, motivational systems theory, self psychology, and relational psychoanalytic perspectives, Dr. Benson and her contributors add to the literature on shopping by indicating its self-sustaining and self-enhancing aspects. Richly illustrating all aspects of the shopping experience, this book addresses the multitude of psychological issues that shopping can encompass and attempt to negotiate.
Eric Hollander
April Benson's I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is a comprehensive and timely examination of an understudied but emerging public health problem. Our understanding of compulsive shopping, along with the other impulse control disorders, is rapidly changing, and this book will surely facilitate a reexamination and reconceptualization. Including material on shopping as a drug; gender and self image issues; psychiatric assessment; psychopharmacology; and psychodynamic, couples, and self-help approaches, this book is a tour de force.
Jerrold Mundis
This is a substantive, impressive, and important book that should be read by every clinician in practice. It is the first work ever to attempt—and largely succeed at—a serious, comprehensive examination of the nature of compulsive or addictive shopping, spending, and buying, problems now astonishingly widespread, usually denied, and nearly always concealed. It is a work that is both flawed and inspired, at once infuriating, stimulating, annoying, and exhilarating. It is somewhat wrong at times; at other times, dead right. Fortunately, it is more often the latter. In the end, this work is a significant and valuable contribution to healing in the new century.
Ron Taffel
Intellectually and clinically substantial, I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is so timely it ought to be on bookshelves everywhere, from the consulting room to the training institute. Given the remarkable explosion of e-commerce, Benson's focus on this subject seems almost prescient. It is impossible to imagine any therapist who doesn't come across the problem of compulsive buying, and equally impossible to imagine most clinicians having any idea about how to handle it. Dr. Benson has courage to take on this much disparaged, yet central aspect of everyday life.
Booknews
Private practitioner Benson brings together 20 psychoanalytic contributions that explore compulsive shopping as way that some people attempt to make up for an inadequate sense of self. After a brief overview of the topic, chapters discuss gendered constructions of shopping, possessions as parts of the extended self, the compulsive collector, the compulsive giver, and treatment strategies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765702425
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Meet the Author

April Benson, Ph.D., is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia and a member of the Board of Directors, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, both in New York City. She has worked on the problem of compulsive shopping for more than a decade—doing research, treating patients, and training therapists—and has developed a comprehensive treatment program to help eliminate it. She has written about the treatment of compulsive buying and about social factors, social costs, and public policy related to compulsive buying and been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and The Los Angeles Times. Dr. Benson has discussed compulsive shopping on numerous radio and television shows, including Good Morning, America and The Today Show. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan. Please click here to visit April Benson's website.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Part I: An Overview Chapter 2 When Money Is the Drug Chapter 3 A Systematic Investigation into Compulsive Buying Part 4 Shopping, Buying, and Selfhood Chapter 5 Shopaholics, Spendaholics, and the Question of Gender Chapter 6 Are We What We Own? Chapter 7 The Role of Self-Image in Excessive Buying Chapter 8 Clothes, Inside Out Part 9 Part III: Special Issues in Compulsive Buying Chapter 10 Collecting as Reparation Chapter 11 Giving until It Hurts Part 12 Part IV: Psychiatric Considerations Chapter 13 Assessment of Compulsive Buying Chapter 14 Diagnosis, Associated Disorders, and Drug Treatment Part 15 Part V: Psychodynamic Theory and Technique Chapter 16 Compulsive Buying as an Addiction Chapter 17 When Eating and Shopping Are Companion Disorders Chapter 18 The Use of Money as an Action Symptom Chapter 19 Clothes and the Couch Part 20 Part VI: Couples Treatment and Group Therapy Chapter 21 Overcoming Overspending in Couples Chapter 22 Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Buying Disorder Chapter 23 Psychoeducational Group Therapy for Money Disorders Part 24 Part VII: Treatment Adjuncts Chapter 25 Debtors Anonymous and Psychotherapy Chapter 26 Financial Recovery Counseling Chapter 27 Simplicity Circles and the Compulsive Shopper

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