A Buddhist Approach to Addiction, Grief, and Psychotherapy
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Addiction therapist Lucas offers “a summary of what I know about grief, psychotherapy, addiction, physics, and Eastern thought.”

These elements converge, Lucas suggests, in what Buddhists call the “truth of impermanence,” the fluid dynamism of life. Central to impermanence is grief, a common denominator: “Every event, from the largest to the smallest, involves change; change means loss, and loss means grief.” Lucas extends our association of grief with bereavement following a physical death to the more fundamental, ever-present flux that attends the quotidian, tying it to issues like aging, marriage, divorce, retirement, job change, ill health, addiction, nesting and empty-nesting. Anxiety, stress, anger, depression–Lucas argues that these conditions can be viewed as aspects of the grief process, as responses to states of change. Since life involves a cacophony of such states, we are dealing with these conditions all the time. The author draws on a wide variety of material to illustrate his subject, from physics–with its constancy of creation, transformation and annihilation–to the Eastern philosophy of birth, death and rebirth, and through a host of Western psychotherapeutic approaches to the debilitating responses we experience in between states. He delineates an existential therapy of meaning and choice (here drawing upon the works of Viktor Frankl), and advocates embracing the between states as “charged moments of intensified life.” The author continues the work of thanatologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, but with a more inclusive spirit that allows us to learn to negotiate the multiform expressions of grief.

A persuasive argument for transcending the fear of impermanence.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-595-32149-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
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