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Body and Soul: Toward a Radical Intersubjectivity in Psychotherapy Paperback – August 13, 2016
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About the Author
Ellis Amdur grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduating from Yale University, he moved to Japan for the purpose of studying East Asian martial arts, acquiring teaching licenses in two archaic Japanese martial traditions. He lived in Japan for 13 years, before moving to Seattle, Wash., where he raised two sons. After a number of years, working for various community mental health facilities in their emergency services departments, Amdur founded a company called Edgework, through which he offers psychotherapy, consultation and training concerned with people ‘on the edge’ of suicide, violence, or severe character disorder. This work was first published in different form as a ‘reflection paper’ towards graduation from the Masters Program in Existential Phenomenological Psychology at Seattle University. It represents the philosophical substrate that informs all his work. Amdur has published a number of other books in ad- dition to this one, as well as several instructional DVDs. They include books on the de-escalation of aggression as well as one for the training of hostage negotiators, books on the nature and history of traditional Japanese martial arts and several works of fiction.
Top customer reviews
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This book will not go easy on you! I quite liked the first chapters that may seem a bit too philosophical to some but for me the they were a nice exercise for the mind as pondering about your soil always gives you few insights.
The chapters to follow kind of take you by surprise after the first two as they feel as if written by a different author altogether. They tell stories that actually flesh the ideas from the first chapters but will present the reader with a totally different flavour and may be quite disturbing to some. Sometimes you are so enchanted by the stories that you may actually forget why they are in this book and you have to remind yourself that this is tour of the soul that the author is taking you on.
The author is a martial artist and the book will not let you forget that fact. You can feel how he deals surgically precise cuts to shape the story and present his ideas to the part of reader's mind that he sees fit. It is a bit like multi-layered duels between all the participants, the reader, the author and the patient, where everybody is fighting with himself and with all the rest at the same time while at the end it is not a clear victory for no one for this is very often the reality of dealing with aggression.
It is a weird book that I liked but I find it hard to recommend to the general public. It requires a free mind to appreciate it.
I wasn't disappointed. The first 2 chapters, while rather philosophical and abstract, are as thought-provoking and intriguing as I've come to expect based on reading much of Ellis's thoughts on martial arts.
But it was the rest of the book that I found to be compelling reading. Amdur captures the nature of working with highly-troubled and sometimes out-and-out dangerous mental health clients quite well. The looking for a "way in," the potential trap of becoming condescending, the empathy, the anxiety and self-doubt, the anger, the frustration, the well-played and the accidental successes, the fear - these and other experiences that a therapist goes through in the process of "dialogue-ing" with very troubled clients become almost palpable as one reads his eloquent prose.