- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1st edition (2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765702428
- ISBN-13: 978-0765702425
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Shop Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self 1st Edition
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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.
Top customer reviews
It is multi-authored and heavily referenced. It is not a book you can sit and read through (at least I couldn't) rather, as April Lane Benson recommends "shop this book as you would a store, feeling free to pick and choose, return or exchange. Gather information on anything you wish." Following her advice I found it informative and useful.
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. It is stated too many times that "clothes reveal as much as they conceal." first of all, I got that after the 2nd time. secondly, in many parts of the world, this is demonstrably untrue. women wear the chador and it is designed to be as ugly and unrevealing as possible. I have heard that underneath it, women often dress up to impress each other, but in public they are to be concealed. similar points might be made about nun's habits and the head coverings that married European women wore in the Middle Ages.
so the treatment of clothes was very, very simple, and very much focused on current times and Western sensibilities, making me wonder why it was written. What is considered appropriate wear for women has changed dramatically over the past 200 years. Are women from religious families more or less likely to buy clothes compulsively, or does it not matter? How does the "obesity epidemic" affect clothes buying? (other than the obvious - that people need larger sizes. are overweight people more or less likely to buy clothes compulsively?
Finally, I did not care much for the conclusions, which involved praising simplicity circles and debtor's anonymous. it seems to me that compulsive shoppers probably tend to be people who need to get in touch with and manage their own feelings (see above), and so telling them what to do seems counterproductive. Of course basic financial information needs to be imparted, but TELLING clients how to find meaning in their lives seems the opposite of what a good therapist should be doing. Letting clients discover it for themselves, which may have nothing to do with a simplicity circle, seems a lot better.
I think this is recommended only for therapists who need basic information, because IMO you won't get much more than that here.
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By Dr. April Lane Benson, editor
Jason Aronson Inc. 2000
Book Review by Dr.Read more