This book will demonstrate how to use novel, systematic method for recognizing psychological adaptive mechanisms (known in psychoanalytic theory as ego defenses) in clinical encounters. This clinical method is based in published theoretical and empirical studies of these mechanisms over the past 14 years as well as working with successive classes of mental health trainees of varying disciplines at the University of Colorado. The result is an approach that trainees both apprehend and find useful. This work will offer the mental health disciplines, and even wider audiences, a platform both for 1) clinical use in everyday practice, 2) continuing clinical studies of adaptive psychology as well as 3) direct application of psychological adaptive mechanisms theory in clinical research that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of persons with mental or emotional disorders.
This an important empirical model for understanding how humans adapt to the stressful experiences of their lives. They have developmental, biological, and evolutionary significance and all of these will be discussed in the book. Psychological Adaptive Mechanisms are observable behaviors that range on a developmental hierarchy from the Primitive defenses of normal early childhood and of major mental illness in adults, through the Mature defenses of fully functioning adulthood. They also serve to limit and to direct the human anxiety response, giving the "fight or flight" reaction to threat many more than those two classically described behavioral options.These mechanisms are likely transduced by the brain and, in providing wider ranges of adaptive behavior, most probably reflect an evolutionary selection towards greater flexibility of adaptation.
"Tom Beresford has written a wonderful book for anyone interested in the complexities of the human mind. He brings superior teaching skills and thirty years of clinical experience together with the talents of a poet and the literary knowledge of an English professor. Each literary and clinical vignette used to illuminate unconscious coping mechanisms is a gripping, lucid, believable and compelling departure from what leads many of us away from "psychoanalytic" writing. This is a book for both beach and academic library reading." --George E. Vaillant MD, author of The Life and Lives of the Harvard Grad Study
"Tom Beresford shows us clearly that psychodynamic assessment can be carried out reliably on the basis of observable behavior. In his view adaptive mechanisms are flexible and creative means of coping as well as possible, rather than involuntary defenses. His positive psychobiological approach is lucidly described with insightful case histories and other examples from writers as diverse as Homer, Chekhov, and Shakespeare. Psychiatry residents and anyone else who wants to understand human motives will delight in its content and style." -- C. Robert Cloninger, MD, Renard Professor of Psychiatry & Genetics, Washington University & Author of Feeling Good: The Science of Well-being
"With Psychological Adaptive Mechanisms Dr. Beresford has presented to us a compassionate, humane, eminently readable and clinically useful labor of love. He gives us a generous mixture of clinical experience, systematic research, and poetry, helping the reader to see the poetry in each person's striving for growth and intimate connection. This book that grows out his own teaching and clinical experience will prove most useful for trainees in all the mental health disciplines, both in the USA and abroad." -- Bennett Simon, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (Cambridge Health Alliance); Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society
Number Of Pages: 340
Published: 21st June 2012
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 19.4 x 2.24
Weight (kg): 0.614