George Weinberg is a nationally celebrated author and one of the most prominent psychotherapists of our time. From such best-sellers as Self Creation and The Action Approach to the classic The Heart of Psychotherapy to his critically acclaimed collections of case histories, The Taboo Scarf and Nearer to the Heart's Desire, Weinberg has forged an outstanding reputation for his work on both the clinical and the popular sides of psychology. Now comes this groundbreaking study of compulsive behavior: what it is, how ...
George Weinberg is a nationally celebrated author and one of the most prominent psychotherapists of our time. From such best-sellers as Self Creation and The Action Approach to the classic The Heart of Psychotherapy to his critically acclaimed collections of case histories, The Taboo Scarf and Nearer to the Heart's Desire, Weinberg has forged an outstanding reputation for his work on both the clinical and the popular sides of psychology. Now comes this groundbreaking study of compulsive behavior: what it is, how it comes to be, how it shapes our lives, and, most important, what we can do to change it. Although only a small percentage of the population suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, all of us, to some degree, are held hostage by behaviors that we unconsciously believe will protect us from ourselves - or at least those parts of ourselves that we have deemed unacceptable. Weaving together alternating chapters of informal discussions of the psychological underpinnings of the phenomenon with actual case histories that are as compelling as the best mystery stories, Weinberg illuminates this prevalent yet often misunderstood aspect of human psychology. With tenderness, courage, and vast insight, George Weinberg offers us the key to liberating ourselves from our compulsions, allowing us to truly become masters of our own lives. And with breathtaking clarity and sureness, he makes the most elusive sides of our psyches visible in a way that is both instructive and entertaining.
Manhattan psychotherapist Weinberg ( The Taboo Scarf ) examines the purpose and function of compulsive behaviors--ritually repeated, severely limiting activities--in five extended case histories from his practice. He observes that compulsions ``are always motivated by fear'' and have a ``special cover-up function'' that deflects the compulsive's attention from ``some horrifying idea.'' An individual's compulsions develop ``in a process that is akin to dreams,'' he adds. In his examples, a young boarding school teacher who is compelled to start his day shooting basketballs learns to face his erotic feelings toward his students; a woman whose family disregarded the abuse she endured as a child understands that shoplifting was how she confirmed her belief in the world's indifference. Using a broad definition of compulsion that covers many repetitive, undesired behaviors, Weinberg offers concrete suggestions for determining the nature of the fear that gives rise to the unwanted activity and steps for loosening its grip on one. Neither reductive nor simplistic, his views offer encouragement and hope to similarly afflicted readers. (Jan.)
Most of us know of people who are driven by some kind of compulsion (e.g., constant hand washing, smoking, gambling, talking fast, and controlling others). Weinberg, a psychotherapist and writer ( The Taboo Scarf , LJ 7/90), shows that compulsion comes linked with its own special memories and that what differentiates a compulsion from a simple habit is the dread from which the compulsion springs. While engaged in this symbolic solution to a problem, the compulsive person relives the instant the behavior was adopted. Every compulsive activity is progressive, Weinberg claims, and engaging in the behavior worsens the underlying problem and creates an even greater need to carry out the activity. The author offers five distinct steps for breaking a compulsion and includes four case studies that make for riveting reading. Highly recommended for all popular psychology collections.-- Carol Schrader, Carrollton P . L . , Tex.