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The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Martha Stout
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26. Februar 2002
Why does a gifted psychiatrist suddenly begin to torment his own beloved wife? How can a ninety-pound woman carry a massive air conditioner to the second floor of her home, install it in a window unassisted, and then not remember how it got there? Why would a brilliant feminist law student ask her fiancé to treat her like a helpless little girl? How can an ordinary, violence-fearing businessman once have been a gun-packing vigilante prowling the crime districts for a fight?

A startling new study in human consciousness, The Myth of Sanity is a landmark book about forgotten trauma, dissociated mental states, and multiple personality in everyday life. In its groundbreaking analysis of childhood trauma and dissociation and their far-reaching implications in adult life, it reveals that moderate dissociation is a normal mental reaction to pain and that even the most extreme dissociative reaction-multiple personality-is more common than we think. Through astonishing stories of people whose lives have been shattered by trauma and then remade, The Myth of Sanity shows us how to recognize these altered mental states in friends and family, even in ourselves.

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  • Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin Books; Auflage: Reissue (26. Februar 2002)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0142000558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142000557
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,9 x 12,9 x 1,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 68.880 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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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 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"We only think we're sane, says this Harvard psychologist. . . . The befuddled, normally sane masses can learn a lot from the victims of grave psychological abuse." The Dallas Morning News

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen If you want to improve your life, read this book! 14. September 2012
Von Luke
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a fantastic read. Compassionately and insightful, the author draws from years of experience working with traumatized clients, ranging from truly disturbing cases to people with "ordinary" little traumas that most of us experience in modern society.

What it comes down to is the fact that most of us have been traumatized in one way or the other, which leads to mild or severe dissociated states that affect our lifes negatively in ways we usually don't realize. Accepting this reality and working on our traumas, we can become more free, more in control of our lives, and ultimately happier. This book will open up your horizons and help you achieving just that. Five stars, for sure.
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151 von 153 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent overview of dissociation 14. Juni 2002
Von Michelle Pettit - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
It took me a long time to find a book like this. Dr. Martha Stout provides deeply-moving insights into the vulnerabilities of people affected by trauma. She describes the relativity of trauma and its effects through three common situations. Child abuse has been a common reason given for dissociation - but Stout shows there are many other reasons. (for example, a small boy "disconnects" from his fear when he isn't picked up at the bus stop. For a five-year-old in an unfamiliar place that is a traumatic situation) Using interesting and realistic case stories, she develops a compassionate picture of the gradations of symptoms on the dissociative continuum -- everything from temporarily zoning out while driving and disconnecting from yourself while watching a movie to the extreme dissociation of a man with multiple personalities. I read it all in one sitting (up until 6a.m.) and felt enthusiastic -- wanting to purchase one for all my family members and friends. A major point Stout makes is we all experience dissociation in varying degrees. Dissociation doesn't necessarily involve having "multiple personalities" Well-written, intelligent, accessible. Reveals the large and small traumas that cause us to separate ourselves from our experience of living.
75 von 77 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A cogent, enlightening read 9. Dezember 2003
Von Daniel Jolley - Veröffentlicht auf
Martha Stout has written a cogent, eminently readable book on the wide range of dissociative reactions we have to different stimuli, providing meaningful insight into the behavior of ourselves and those around us. We are all a little bit crazy, she declares. This book was something of an eye opener for me, as I had never considered dissociation as a common condition in society. Dissociation is actually a natural survival mechanism that has helped man survive for thousands of years on this planet; in cases of extreme, disturbing stimuli, the human mind may be unable to handle what it is witnessing, so it compartmentalizes the trauma into self-contained groupings within it. The person may withdraw his/her own awareness from the situation at hand, and he/she may well have no conscious memory of it after the fact. The effects of significant trauma cannot be self-contained in such a way forever, though, and so eventually the individual begins having nightmares or flashbacks, begins to space out or lose himself/herself at different times, exhibits dramatic mood swings, etc. In the most serious cases, the person may well harm himself or someone else, transform into a completely new person, lose control of his own conscious self, or exhibit what used to be called multiple personalities. It has been my understanding for some time that the number of actual multiple personality cases is extremely small, but Stout points to a small but significant number of cases of dissociative identity disorder (DID), an unknown number of which go undiagnosed.
Pointing to vivid examples from her own case files as well as anecdotal accounts of nonprofessional acquaintances, Stout identifies the points along the dissociative spectrum. The most familiar and benign examples of detachment from self include daydreaming and losing oneself in a good book or movie. At the opposite end of the spectrum is full-fledged DID. In between lie such states as temporary phasing out, habitual dissociative reactions (phasing out whenever a remark or emotion suddenly triggers a trauma from early life), dissociation from feeling (feeling nothing during an event that should be emotional), intrusion of dissociated ego states (feeling strong, usually negative, emotions for no clearly discernible reason), demifugue (feeling adrift from both reality as well as your body), and fugue (losing significant periods of time wherein you unconsciously go about your daily life). In extreme cases, an individual may develop separate personalities of which he/she may or may not be consciously aware, as these separate personalities may or may not have identifiable names.
The source of all these dissociative states, Start argues, is childhood trauma. She is quick to point out that trauma does not necessarily result from a condition of personal harm, although it naturally does include physical abuse, incest, emotional abuse, and similar reprehensible acts. A child has a limited understanding of the world, so he/she may be traumatized in ways his/her parents never even discern; becoming lost, for example, even for a short period of time, can have a lasting, deleterious effect on a child. Years later, some word or sound or smell might trigger this buried trauma, thereby triggering a dissociative reaction in the individual; such root causes of dissociative behavior can be very hard to ferret out. The very process of remembering can be pure torture, but whatever dissociative behavior is negatively impacting the individual's life must be uncovered in order for that person to find healing and live as normal a life as possible. One cannot protect oneself (which is basically what dissociation consists of) and live life to the fullest at the same time. In the end, one's ability to withstand and/or recover from the dissociative effects of early traumas comes down to a conscious choice of personal responsibility.
I'm no psychologist, but Stout communicates her ideas in a way that makes very good sense to me; she even manages to sum up quite distinctly the difference between her techniques and those of psychoanalysis. Her case studies of dissociative identity disorder are of course fascinating, but the biggest thing I will take away from The Myth of Sanity is the insight I have gained into normal, everyday life.
71 von 77 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Myth of Sanity reveals the myteries of the mind. 9. Februar 2001
Von Carol M. Kauffman, Ph.D. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Are we all a little crazy? Dr. Martha Stout has written a compelling and controversial book about the true nature of human consciousness and identity. It is as beautifully written, as it is informative. Are we all slightly multiple? Do you experience yourself as "switching" from one you to another? Does that description fit someone you know? Dr. Stout examines the phenomenon of "Dissociation" -- the psychological defense that allows individuals to survive intense trauma. But it isn't just the Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) who utilize it. We all do.
In the Myth of Sanity, Dr. Stout shares provocative and horrifying stories of the true "survivors" of our time. Step by step she walks you through the nuts and bolts of the intangible processes the brain uses to keep terror at bay and allow the human being to function despite adverse circumstances. Did you know that trauma affects the brain? Have you wondered about how memories could possibly be "repressed"? How can people possibly want to cut themselves, and not seem to feel it when they do? Why is it sweet caring people can seem to molt into rageful tormentors? Would you like to be a fly on the wall during psychotherapy sessions with trauma survivors or those diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder? The Myth of Sanity will not just teach you about the psyche of people at the extreme edge of human experience. It will teach you about yourself.
27 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen very helpful for people who wish to understand dissociation 3. März 2002
Von Jennifer Robinson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book explains dissocation as what it really is, a coping mechanism which often leads into chaos and difficulties that then qualify it as a disorder. Martha Stout exposes the myth that DID is extremely rare for what it really is, a myth based on ignorance and misconception that popular media with books and movies such as Sybil and the Troops of Trudi Chase describe the lives of the majority of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder). Such books and films with their portraits of obvious displays of extreme changes in personality lead people to believe that you can spot anyone with DID from ten miles away and they will most likely look like raving lunatics or hysterical women. Martha Stout describes the way real people who have DID often are affected in ways that are not quite so noticeable to others and how many people with dissociative disorders are often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, or never diagnosed at all.
35 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Extremely informative and helpful book 30. Juni 2001
Von Sasha - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I must thank the author for an extremely informative and helpful book, my first foray into the field of "dissociation." Having read the book, I now realize that I, my parents, and many other people I know are mildly dissociative and that these sudden switches in personality and temperament (but not identity) have a name and a cause. This helped me become more compassionate with myself and others and gave me an impetus to seek treatment again even though many years of therapy have failed to bring full healing.
This book helped me understand many things about myself -- why a part of me might love a particular lover and the other would simultaneously want to run away, why my mood could be instantly switched from euphoric to depressive by an insensitive remark or a troubling thought, or why a part of me could set out to pursue a particular task, only to be sabotaged by another part. It also helped me understand my parents - both my mother (who could switch from loving to outrageously insensitive) and my father (who is a wonderful physician and loved by many of his patients but was a terror to me when I was growing up.)
Learning more about the progress of others, particularly those who seem to have experienced much greater trauma than mine, gave me added strength to seek help for myself and experiment with new therapies (EMDR and EFT) not mentioned in the book. While Martha Stout seems to have principally used hypnosis for her most difficult patients and did not even mention these other therapies, I found EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to be particularly helpful in healing my childhood traumas. So while I may not have used the author's methods -- her findings and message have proved to be very important on my healing journey.
Understanding your own dissociative tendencies is a must for full self-acceptance and integration. I am grateful for Martha Stout's book and will happily take ALL of my "inner children" to the next session with my EMDR therapist.
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