Fear: A Dark Shadow Across Our Life Span

Editor : Salman Akhtar

Fear: A Dark Shadow Across Our Life Span

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : January 2014
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 272
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 34690
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782200680
  • ISBN 10 : 1782200681
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Beginning with Freud’s celebrated case of Little Hans, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists have been intrigued with the topic of fear. Eclipsed in theoretical writings by the term ‘anxiety’, fear remains a pervasive expression in day to day clinical work. Patients constantly talk about it. One implores that we cure him of his fear of dogs. Another offers the fear of aloneness as the rationale of her staying in a bad marriage. Yet another avoids all athletic activity due to the fear of physical injury. And a fourth one lives in utter denial of passing time to avoid facing his fear of death.

Despite its ubiquitous presence, fear has received little direct attention in psychoanalytic literature. This book aims to fill this lacuna. It explicates various intensities of fear, e.g. apprehension, dread, panic, and terror. It delineates the boundaries between fear and anxiety and demonstrates how phobic states constitute an admixture of these two emotions. The book also deals with phobic character and the personality trait of cowardice.

Individual chapters are devoted to six main fears of life that arise sequentially over the course of psychic development. These include the (i) fear of breakdown, (ii) fear of aloneness, (iii) fear of intimacy, (iv) fear of injury, (v) fear of success, and (vi) fear of death. Each of these fears is addressed by a distinguished psychoanalyst in a contribution written specifically for this volume. Elucidating symptomatology, psychodynamics, and treatment strategies, together these chapters and a final and synthesizing commentary upon them help enhance empathy and fine tune technical interventions with patients afflicted with fear of one or the other variety.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Remarkably, until this book, the turmoil caused in our patients by their multivariant fears has been neglected. A collection of distinguished colleagues examine a cluster of everyday, ubiquitously experienced fears – of dark and violent places within us, of breakdown, aloneness, injury, and death. It also looks at the most troubling, paradoxical fears: of intimacy and of success. Like anxiety, fear of a conscious experience opens the door to our patients’ psychodynamics and conflicts; it points the way. As we have come to expect of him, Salman Akhtar again, wisely, enlarges our understanding of what so interferes with our patients’ well-being.’
— Henri Parens, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Jefferson University; training and supervising analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

‘Salman Akhtar has once again produced a book filled with his unique blend of scholarship, humanity, humour, and integrity. In the introductory chapter entitled “Fear, Phobia, and Cowardice”, he asks, “Is fear to be avoided at all costs or can this bitter gourd of emotion be transformed into a sweet mango of cultural delight?” He goes on to treat the reader with a masterly and eloquent synthesis of psychoanalytic knowledge and ideas, richly illustrated by his own clinical examples and reflections. The subsequent chapters, designated “The Six Main Fears of our Lives”, are carefully chosen, with each contributor providing an invaluable addition to the literature.’
— Julian Stern, MD, Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy and Head of Psychiatry, Adult Department, Tavistock Centre, London

About the Editor(s)

Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.

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