PASSIONS by Georgia Witkin


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 How to accentuate the positive emotions and eliminate, or at least manage, the negative; by a master of the pop-psychology genre. Witkin (Psychiatry/Mount Sinai Medical College; Quick Fixes and Small Comforts, 1988), a frequent guest-expert on TV (Donahue, Oprah, etc.), here offers a program for coming to terms with overwhelming emotions. In Witkin's terminology, passions are the strongest emotions (those that seize both mind and body) and are to be distinguished from emotions that engage merely the mind (e.g., boredom and confusion) or the body (e.g., terror and shock). Readers are invited to take the author's ``Passions Survey'' and to compare their answers with those of some 400 respondents, whose replies are charted but given rather cursory analysis in the text. Women, it seems, are less likely to feel-- or to admit to feeling--rage, despair, and infatuation; men shy away from infatuation, contentment, and despair. Women reported their most frequent emotions, in order, as anxiety, contentment, and hope; men reported contentment, hope, and anxiety. Witkin speculates briefly about possible reasons for the differences between the sexes, and then shifts into what seems to be her most comfortable mode: telling others how to effect self-improvement. She devotes a chapter each to despair, fear, rage, guilt, joy, love, hope, and awe, studding the text with numerous real-life anecdotes, quizzes, and self-help lists that attempt to offer assurance that one can indeed change one's life by following simple, sure-fire techniques. Appendices list sources of help for specific problems, such as drug dependency and eating disorders, and chart the effects of such emotional crutches as stimulants, relaxants, and psychedelic drugs. Not likely to help those with serious problems, but bright and chipper and infused with a gung-ho spirit.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-57914-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992