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Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion

by Ethel S. Person American Psychiatric Association Publishing
Pub Date:
Pbk 405 pages
AU$115.00 NZ$117.39
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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This groundbreaking study has been widely hailed for its focus on a human emotion generally considered impervious to rational analysis: romantic, passionate love. Ethel Person views romantic love as a powerful agent of change, arguing that it is as central to human culture as it is to human existence. This new edition of Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters emphasizes the relevance of passion not only to lovers but also to mental health professionals whose patients often enter treatment because of love-related issues and mdash;from the inability to love or make a commitment to the perils of extramarital love to love sickness or loss of love. She forthrightly addresses not only the power of love to unlock the soul but also its inherent paradoxes and conflicts. Employing a philosophical perspective in order to understand the existential dilemmas posed by love, and a cultural perspective in order to understand its cultural variability, Dr. Person breaks with contemporary intellectual and philosophical dismissive assumptions about romantic love. She acknowledges love's vital importance and power, proposing that passion serves an important function not only for the individual but also for the culture while charging psychoanalysis with a reductionist emphasis on sexuality and psychopathology that has narrowed the focus of inquiry into love. Among the issues she discusses are: romantic love's sources in our early lives, its relationship to imagination and creativity, and its capacity to enable the lover to transcend the self how romantic love often demands a reordering of values and promotes personal growth by exposing the self to new risks and possibilities the transformational potential of transference love in the therapy process flaws in the common misperception that women are more influenced by romantic love than men considerations of homosexual love, love across generations, and love triangles, focusing on the individual growth that can result from such relationships Citing accounts of love drawn from literature, film, and real life, Person focuses on the lover's internal soliloquy and external dialogue with the beloved that can develop over an individual's life. An uplifting resource for people experiencing failing or unorthodox romances, Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters boldly takes on issues pertinent to lovers, to professionals who encounter patients for whom key conflicts revolve around romantic love, and to anyone who has struggled to understand the importance of romantic love in his or her own life.

Preface to the Reprint EditionIntroductionPART I: The Experience of Romantic LoveChapter 1. Falling in LoveChapter 2. Love Realized: The Idyllic PhaseChapter 3. Love's Divided Nature: The Pleasure and Pain of Romantic LovePART II: The Aims of LoveChapter 4. How Love Develops: Love Dialogues and the Life CycleChapter 5. The Creative Synthesis in LovePART III: The Paradoxes and Struggles Inherent in LoveChapter 6. Self-Surrender: Transcendence Versus EnslavementChapter 7. The Link Between Love and PowerChapter 8. Disillusionment Chapter 9. TrianglesPART IV: The Gender Difference in LoveChapter 10. Transference Love and Romantic LoveChapter 11. Modes of Self-Realization: Women and Romance, Men and PowerPART V: The Fate of LoveChapter 12. Unhappy Love: Experience and ConsequencesChapter 13. Love That Enriches, Love That EnduresFinal Thoughts: Romantic Love as an Agent of ChangeNotesReferencesIndex

The author takes a very difficult topic, romantic love, and details a fascinating and useful examination of it. There are few other books that explore the topic so well, and love is often avoided by other authors or cast in a negative light. The author takes a positive look at the benefits and pitfalls inherent in romantic love and explores both equally. [Person's] clinical examples are appropriate and the literary/film references help to provide a setting or situation that everyone can appreciate. I particularly enjoyed the section on the paradoxes and struggles in love and I gained a new perspective on some of my patients' difficulties. I would recommend this title to anyone, clinician or lay person, interested in romantic love.

Ethel S. Person, M.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York City