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I Shop Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self Hardcover – July 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0765702425 ISBN-10: 0765702428 Edition: 1st

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I Shop Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self + To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop + Spent: Break the Buying Obsession and Discover Your True Worth
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1 edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765702428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765702425
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Dr. Benson and her colleagues have given us the first serious, scholarly, comprehensive (and fascinating) study of compulsive buying, its root causes, accompanying disorders, and treatment approaches. (Joseph A. Califano, Jr.)

Shopping, often ridiculed, pathologized as an obsession and a perversion, and associated with frivolous women, has now been given serious, balanced, and substantive treatment. Using current contributions from infant research, motivational systems theory, self psychology, and relational psychoanalytic perspectives, Dr. Benson and her contributors add to the literature on shopping by indicating its self-sustaining and self-enhancing aspects. Richly illustrating all aspects of the shopping experience, this book addresses the multitude of psychological issues that shopping can encompass and attempt to negotiate. (Frank M. Lachmann and Beatrice Beebe)

April Benson's I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is a comprehensive and timely examination of an understudied but emerging public health problem. Our understanding of compulsive shopping, along with the other impulse control disorders, is rapidly changing, and this book will surely facilitate a reexamination and reconceptualization. Including material on shopping as a drug; gender and self image issues; psychiatric assessment; psychopharmacology; and psychodynamic, couples, and self-help approaches, this book is a tour de force... (Eric Hollander)

This is a substantive, impressive, and important book that should be read by every clinician in practice. It is the first work ever to attempt—and largely succeed at—a serious, comprehensive examination of the nature of compulsive or addictive shopping, spending, and buying, problems now astonishingly widespread, usually denied, and nearly always concealed. It is a work that is both flawed and inspired, at once infuriating, stimulating, annoying, and exhilarating. It is somewhat wrong at times; at other times, dead right. Fortunately, it is more often the latter. In the end, this work is a significant and valuable contribution to healing in the new century. (Jerrold Mundis)

Intellectually and clinically substantial, I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is so timely it ought to be on bookshelves everywhere, from the consulting room to the training institute. Given the remarkable explosion of e-commerce, Benson's focus on this subject seems almost prescient. It is impossible to imagine any therapist who doesn't come across the problem of compulsive buying, and equally impossible to imagine most clinicians having any idea about how to handle it.Dr. Benson has courage to take on this much disparaged, yet central aspect of everyday life... (Ron Taffel)

Intellectually and clinically substantial, I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is so timely it ought to be on bookshelves everywhere, from the consulting room to the training institute. Given the remarkable explosion of e-commerce, Benson's focus on this subject seems almost prescient. It is impossible to imagine any therapist who doesn't come across the problem of compulsive buying, and equally impossible to imagine most clinicians having any idea about how to handle it. Dr. Benson has courage to take on this much disparaged, yet central aspect of everyday life. (Ron Taffel)

April Benson's I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying & the Search for Self is a comprehensive and timely examination of an understudied but emerging public health problem. Our understanding of compulsive shopping, along with the other impulse control disorders, is rapidly changing, and this book will surely facilitate a reexamination and reconceptualization. Including material on shopping as a drug; gender and self image issues; psychiatric assessment; psychopharmacology; and psychodynamic, couples, and self-help approaches, this book is a tour de force. (Eric Hollander)

About the Author

April Benson, Ph.D., is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia and a member of the Board of Directors, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, both in New York City. She has worked on the problem of compulsive shopping for more than a decade—doing research, treating patients, and training therapists—and has developed a comprehensive treatment program to help eliminate it. She has written about the treatment of compulsive buying and about social factors, social costs, and public policy related to compulsive buying and been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and The Los Angeles Times. Dr. Benson has discussed compulsive shopping on numerous radio and television shows, including Good Morning, America and The Today Show. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan.

Please click here to visit April Benson's website.

Customer Reviews

Having trouble with compilsive spending, this book was a real help to me in understand myself.
Linda Cooper-smith
Being part introduction, part overview, and part anthology, the book nonetheless unpacks its material with purposeful movement and in clear and readable language.
The Rev. Martha S. Jacobi, LCSW
In fact anyone interested in the psychological issues of money will find this book fascinating.
Bonnie Kellen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By T. Powers on September 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is, at best, mediocre and I agree with the reviewer who said it costs too much. A well-written, well-chosen, well-edited series of essays on overshopping would have been worth the price. Not this relatively simplistic analysis.

For example, we hear (over and over and over) that people who shop compulsively do so to avoid emotional pain in their lives: they shop to manage feelings. I do believe I grasped that by about the 5th repetition. This obvious point is repeated again and again and again in different essays, which means that there was a mind-numbing sameness to many of them.

And a really good psychology book shouldn't do that. One essay, two at the most, to make the basic points - then on to something more substantive. For example, is childhood sexual assault an important variable in overshopping? What about physical abuse? What about child neglect, or present-day illness or disability? I didn't see any of that addressed.

Secondly, there is no consideration of what to do when overshoppers have other very serious mental health problems - even though it is stated that other problems, such as overeating, often coexist. It seems to me that the priorities in this case would be as follows:

1 - don't commit suicide; 2 - stay out of the hospital; 3 - avoid mania and depression and other extreme moods that cause immediate and serious crises; 4 - get enough sleep; 5 - avoid alcohol and other drugs; 6 - make sure you have a stable, violence free place to live; 7 - fill the day with structured activities, work if possible - the order I put things in might be questioned, but the fact that all of these things are more important than stopping overshopping is not.

The essay on clothes is particularly poor.
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110 of 143 people found the following review helpful By The Rev. Martha S. Jacobi, LCSW on October 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I Shop, Therefore I Am is a Shopping Bag filled with a veritable cornucopia of well-made and carefully placed articles. Exploring the contents of this book-bag takes the reader into its deepest depths, as if into the "fabric" of the bag itself wherein lies the previously taboo realm of compulsive buying, spending, and shopping. For this reason alone the book is singularly important and a "must read" for interested persons from a wide range of perspectives.
I Shop, Therefore I Am is at once thought provoking and behavior challenging. Being part introduction, part overview, and part anthology, the book nonetheless unpacks its material with purposeful movement and in clear and readable language. Indeed, the more one reads, the more one wants to read! Each chapter contains compelling insights, all of which are brilliantly woven together into a single piece in editor April Lane Benson's own concluding essay. Nuances of definition are revealed as writers from behavioral, biological, psychological, social and spiritual disciplines present their understandings of the scope and nature of problems related to money-use, as well as assessment and treatment options.
But Benson does not leave us consumed by the bag! Quite the contrary-in noting that the exchange of money for goods and services can be done as "conscious shopping" she suggests that shopping can be about the "process of search...about being" rather than having or buying. She thus leaves the reader searching for the next book-bag(s?) of goodies, in which one might hope to find essays attending to issues of culture, ethnicity, socio-economic status and downward mobility in relation to "shopping gone bad", as well as a fuller exposition of the reparative use of shopping, or "shopping gone good."
When all is said and done, however, I guarantee - after reading this book you will never shop the same way again!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By NO MORE SHOPPING on January 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
this book is really long, and it is overpriced. I think you need to be a psycologist to understand a lot of the verbage used. Very boring. I am disappointed that I purchased it, that alone made me realize that I am a shopaholic.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By designgnome on July 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is packed with more clinical information than any self help book. Not that it doesn't have a fair amount of personal stories to tell. The price is high but it is apparent that it is because of the research that went into the writing. If you really wish to use your brain to get a handle on shopping problems of any level ...read this book and think about its contents.............
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Kellen on April 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I Shop Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search For Self

By Dr. April Lane Benson, editor

Jason Aronson Inc. 2000

Book Review by Dr. Bonnie Kellen

Dr. Benson was a pioneer in the field of eating disorders, cofounding one of the first clinics and training centers. In this must read collection she again leads the way in tackling the burgeoning epidemic of compulsive shopping and money disorders in general. In fact anyone interested in the psychological issues of money will find this book fascinating.

We all have clients and acquaintances who have problems with shopping, buying and debting but many of us are ill equipped to address these problems because we are not educated in this area. Dr. Benson has gathered the leaders in the field and in her fastidious quest for quality has created an excellent and most readable reference book for all.

The first section gives an overview of the field with such topics as When money is the drug ( Bounty). She then focuses on shopping,buying and selfhood with such interesting topics as Are we what we own? (Belk), Collecting as reparation (Muensterberger) and Giving until it hurts (McGrath). Included is the diagnostic assessment of compulsive shopping with questionnaires and clinical interview techniques. Another section covers psychodynamic theory and technique and includes Compulsive shopping as an addiction (Goldman) and The use of money as an action symptom ( Krueger).

Detailed and instructive coverage of treatment plans and techniques include a detailed curricular for an 8 week Group cognitive behavioral therapy for buying disorders (Burgard and Mitchell) and a Psychoeducational group therapy for money disorders (Brazer).
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