No one likes being called crazy. But Dr. Martha Stout, a psychological trauma specialist, invites all to question their own level of mental acumen in The Myth of Sanity. Her logic makes sense: all humans experience fear, especially during youth; individuals' response systems determine how their brains catalogue traumatic experiences and trigger "dissociative" coping strategies. Those who experience horrific situations like abuse, catastrophe, or grueling medical procedures fare the worst over time; their dissociative behaviors can manifest themselves as situational fatigue, "lost" hours or days, or split personalities.
Drawing from 20 years of treating such patients, Stout presents several composite characters to illustrate all levels of dissociative behavior: from the very serious DID (dissociative identity disorder, or "switching" among distinct personalities) to the nearly universal "brief phasing out" (losing a thought or getting "caught up" in something). As each patient undergoes psychoanalysis, Stout highlights clues for identifying trauma sufferers and lends advice to their loved ones. Tending away from scientific data or supportive research findings--while tending toward a fiction-lover's prose--The Myth of Sanity focuses on personal stories and Stout's zealous admiration for responsible therapy patients who wake to a sanity unclouded by past fears. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Stout, a clinical psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, writes here about her experiences working with abuse survivors who exhibit dissociative behavior--blacking out, losing time, even developing "alters" or multiple personalities. Engaging in the fashionable practice of analyzing psychiatric disorders in terms of the culture at large, Stout claims that in our repeated exposure to media violence, we have become a "shell-shocked species." In other words, the everyday experiences of distraction and escape ("spacing out" during a meeting, losing oneself in a movie) are not that different--in terms of physiology and behavior--from an abused individual's experiences of dissociation and hypnotic trance, which she illustrates through fascinating accounts of her patients' lives, such as the boy who witnesses his brother being kicked to death by a sexually abusive uncle and the girl whose mother threatens, during a terrifying game of hide and seek, to cut off her thumbs. Stout describes dissociative experiences in compassionate and moving prose ("Julia did not remember her childhood because she was not present for it"; "Garrett's childhood was too terrifying for any child to survive... he became several children, and these children divvied up the horror, and made it survivable"). However, readers may be surprised to find that, title aside, this engaging book never delivers on its initial promise to show us how dissociative individuals have harnessed a particular ability to live life to its fullest; most of the people here seem pretty happy just to have survived. Agent, Susan Lee Cohen.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
I find ALL of Martha Stout's books to be EXCEPTIONAL in their content...including the profundity of HER UNDERSTANDING [that, for me, REMAINS "light years" ahead of other... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joy Bright
An in-depth look at consciousness and how the mind constructs the phenomenon of awareness. Well written and although its slightly advanced it brings forth many new concepts and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Charles
I've only made it through the first few pages of the text and I am captivated. There is much instore for me with this reading.Published 10 months ago by Samantha Story
MARTHA STOUT!!! Need I say more!!! BEST author ever. Right on target, never misses a beat! Incredible Incredible Incredible!!! Thanks Amazon seller!!! Fantastic find. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rachel W. Cronin