THE COURAGE TO LIVE by

THE COURAGE TO LIVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This kind of impersonal, information-from-the-experts approach to the topic of suicide will probably be most useful to the families and friends bewildered by a loved one's attempts at self-destruction (there is, in fact, an entire chapter of advice to ""significant others""). Ari Kiev (Social Psychiatry, Cornell) has headed Cornell's suicide prevention center, and treats suicide as ""a public health problem of major gravity."" The focus here is on depression--symptoms, efficacy of chemotherapy in breaking the cycle (""only the first step in an ongoing process of rehabilitation""), underlying causes (psychological, genetic), and the mechanics of psychotherapy. Kiev outlines four key tasks of psychotherapy in dealing with potential suicide--searching for causes, mobilizing the patient's energies, involving the family, and strengthening the patient's will to explore life's possibilities. Not as affecting as the letters and commentaries in Linnea Pearson and Ruth Purtilo's Separate Paths (1977), this nevertheless offers rational hope in the form of simple insight: suicide requires decisiveness and activity, not passive acceptance, and anyone with enough courage to die can learn to redirect that courage toward life.

Pub Date: June 6th, 1979
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell