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Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil and Creativity (Suny Series in the Philosophy of Psychology) Paperback – January 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0791430767 ISBN-10: 0791430766 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press; 1 edition (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791430766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791430767
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic explores the origin of anger and rage and how they can be canalized into constructive activity. This provocative book masterfully handles a complicated topic and ends with the credo that "the indomitable human will and spirit to survive, create...and bestow meaning is the only sensible response to...violence and evil." -- AHP Perspective, September/October 1997

In Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic clinical psychologist Stephen Diamond considers the ancient Greek concept of the daimonic as a unified life-force with potential for both good and evil, in an effort to revitalize our psychology of human evil, psychopathology, and creativity. Diamond argues for the use of existential depth psychology as the most promising approach to dealing with daimonic tendencies in individuals and society. ...bear(s) reading and rereading and, I feel certain, will continue to reward readers who wish to have their most deeply felt ideas challenged at nearly every turn. -- The Quest, September 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Though the causes of violence in our society are complex, the troublesome human emotions of anger and rage play a central role in the genesis of violent behavior and psychopathology in general. In this book, clinical psychologist Stephen Diamond determines where rage and anger originate and explores whether these powerful passions are -- as most people believe -- purely negative, pathological, and evil or can be meaningfully redeemed and rechanneled into constructive activity. Using clinical and biographical case studies, as well as striking visual images, he traces anger, rage, and violence through their most destructive expressions to their creative and transcendent functions in art, psychotherapy, and spirituality.

"An excellent book... I have always felt that Dr. Diamond's emphasis on the daimonic was extremely timely and important in our day. The myth of the daimonic covers vital, archetypal human experiences, as this work clearly illustrates. I find it very readable, and done like the true scholar." -- from the Foreword by Rollo May

"An impressive, prodigious work; so comprehensive, so rich, and very creative. This excellent book is unique in making sense of the 'senseless violence' that permeates American society today. When we understand the root causes of the human need for violence, we will be able to make an ally of the energy it liberates." -- June Singer, author of Boundaries of the Soul

"Diamond shows how existential depth psychology can help us understand the anger and violence so rampant in American society. He explains how we are both subject to and responsible for powerful psychic forces active within us, forces which, depending on how we respond to them, can press toward either creative or destructive expressions. Diamond's book is elegantly written, well researched, and clinically well informed. It is an important contribution." -- Michael Washburn, author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective

"Written with great vigor, clarity, and conviction, this book is fast paced and a pleasure to read." -- George B. Hogenson, author of Jung's Struggle with Freud

More About the Author



Licensed clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen A. Diamond is a former pupil and protégé of Dr. Rollo May, and the author of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity (1996, foreword by Rollo May). Other publications include chapters in the best-selling anthology Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature (Tarcher/Putnam, 1991), Spirituality and Psychological Health (Colorado School of Professional Psychology Press, 2005), Forensic Psychiatry: Influences of Evil (Humana Press, 2005), The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion (Springer, 2009), as well as various professional articles in the San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, the Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, and the Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies among others. Dr. Diamond is former Assistant Clinical Professor and Training Clinic Director at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (now Palo Alto University). He has also taught courses at John F. Kennedy University, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Argosy University, Ryokan College, and the C.G. Jung Institut-Zurich (Switzerland). Dr. Diamond has been a practicing clinician for thirty-five years, specializing primarily in adult psychodynamic and existential psychotherapy or what he calls "existential depth psychology." He served for more than a decade as a member of the Approved Panel of Psychiatrists and Psychologists for the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Criminal Division), and additionally for several years before that with the criminal division of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Currently, Dr. Diamond provides clinical supervision to graduate students at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and maintains a private psychotherapy practice near Beverly Hills. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and regularly writes an ongoing blog ("Evil Deeds") for Psychology Today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
You hear of it almost daily, the mayhem. A building is dynamited in the name of some high-sounding cause. A gang sprays a street corner with bullets. Children bring hunting rifles to school. A comic's wife kills him, then herself.
For a country drenched in violence I can't imagine a book more timely than "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity" (SUNY Press, 1996). Having counseled violent men and teens court-referred for mandatory therapy, I can state my reaction to the book in two words: read it.
Building on the work of Rollo May, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and other well-known theorists, Dr. Stephen A. Diamond has brought to the exploration of our violence epidemic his experiences as a psychotherapist and forensic psychologist. He also draws on art, literature, philosophy, and comparative religion to reveal the roots of rage.
Those roots are, to use the classical expression, daimonic, a term also favored by James Hillman. Anger is a natural, dynamic reaction to woundedness, injustice, violation, powerlessness. When repressed and denied, however, anger ferments into a neurotic, narcissistic rage, which itself gets repressed until it explodes. You cannot banish a vital facet of yourself without suffering consequences. The executive who jumps out a window, the postal worker who comes to work with a pistol, the celebrity who one day massacres a mate are not necessarily insane: we all cast shadows, and everyone who stuffs down anger for too long is at risk. (My work with violent men has repeatedly shown me that the passive, "it doesn't bother me" gentlemen in denial of how angry they really are routinely reviolate and return to jail.)
And what are psychotherapists doing about the rage epidemic?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Herrmann on April 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Steven B. Herrmann, PhD, MFT
Author of "William Everson: The Shaman's Call"

Steven Diamond's book is a key to understanding some effective methods and techniques which may clearly delineate how to deal constructively with daimonic anger and rage in psychotherapy and most importantly, how to transform them creatively in the consulting room. The "daimonic" is, Diamond notes, a symbolic concept, one which Rollo May amplified courageously, in the late sixties and early seventies in his books, lectures, and articles, culminating with his seminal paper "Psychotherapy and the Daimonic" (Myths, Dreams, and Religion, New York: Dutton, 1970). May made the paradoxical claim that it is the task of the psychotherapist "to conjure up the devils rather than put them to sleep" (Diamond, 181) The goal is not to repress the daimonic but to activate it, he says, to bring it to full awareness. "Great creativity," Diamond adds "is most often an amalgam of many elements, including mental disorder, disease and evil. Herman Melville, in his epic novel Moby-Dick, goes so far as to suggest that great women and men `are made so through a certain morbidness.... All mortal greatness is but disease'" (261). The problem of modern psychotherapy, in Diamond's view, is how to transform this basic human proclivity for destruction (including madness) into healthy passion which would include anger, eros, and creativity. In Diamond's view, techniques should "be employed for the express purpose of cultivating the daimonic rather than suppressing, diffusing, or eradicating it" (221, 222) and his use of "cultivating" implies maturation and differentiation.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Johann on December 5, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a clinical psychologist, and in my list of favorite books, I write this:

Diamond writes: "The volatile emotions of anger and rage have been broadly `demonized,' vilified, maligned, and rejected as purely pathological, negative impulses with no real redeeming qualities. As a result, most `respectable' Americans habitually suppress, repress, or deny their anger-inadvertently rendering it doubly dangerous." He also clarifies, while developing the ideas of Rollo May, how we therapists collude with our clients and culture, thus depriving ourselves of the value and resources of this normal dimension of our being. He integrates psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential theory under a new rubric of Existential Depth Psychology. As May states, our job is often "not to still the daimons but to wake them."

This is an important, engaging, and well-written work that I wish all my colleagues would read.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on June 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Diamond redeems anger in much the same way that May redeemed Anxiety over 50-years ago. A student of May's, Diamond shows an excellent grasp of both May's work and the broader context of exisential and depth psychology. Particularly helpful is Diamond's ability to apply the concept of the daimon to psychopathology and the psychological disorders. This provides for a penetrating analysis of pathology from an existential perspective along with a new approach to the etiology of these disorders.
In this single volume, Diamond shows himself to be one of the leaders in contemporary existential thought. This book should be a must read for contemporary students and practitioners of depth psychology.
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