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The Importance of Suffering: The Value and Meaning of Emotional Discontent Paperback – 18 Nov 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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"James Davies offers a highly original and insightful approach that restores the vital place of suffering in human development. Drawing from anthropology, philosophy and psychology Davies weaves a rich narrative that deserves to be widely read." - Alistair Ross, Oxford University, UK

"This book, fluently and engagingly written, takes us back a number of decades to the exciting times of Szasz, Laing and others, and the revolutionary assertion that the origin of suffering is due to an unduly oppressive social environment. It asks us to take our leave of the pathologising foundations of most current therapies, and resist complying with that ill-considered theorising... Such a prodding enlivens one's critical stance to what we as therapists do, and places the book next to classics like Philip Rief's The Triumph of the Therapeutic, and Ian Craib's The Importance of Disappointment." - R. D. Hinshelwood, University of Essex, UK

"The Importance of Suffering is a brave and creative work that will change how we think about human suffering. Critiquing the ideology of anesthetization that characterizes modern-day life, Davies demonstrates – with great sensitivity and depth – how suffering can be leveraged for positive growth and change when not exiled from human experience. This is a bold and hopeful book; a major contribution." - Rebecca J. Lester, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

"This book offers a deeply informed and nuanced understanding of the value of suffering, when productively engaged. Elegantly written in crisp prose, it offers an incisive critique of the medicalization of suffering when narrowly conceived as disorder to be treated by anti-depressant medications and prescriptions for "positive thinking". Rich in insights of value to psychoanalysts, philosophers, psychologists, and the broadly educated European and North American public." - Janis H. Jenkins, University of California at San Diego, USA

About the Author

James Davies is a senior lecturer in the departments of psychology and anthropology at Roehampton University, London, UK. He obtained his doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, UK, and is also a qualified psychotherapist. He has practised in various settings including the NHS, and has delivered lectures at many universities including Yale, Brown, CUNY, Oxford, London and Harvard


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers an interesting reflection on suffering and its essential role in healthy human development. The author draws from anthropology, psychology and philosophy to offer an engaging argument on the value and positive function of suffering. Pain and suffering can be a valuable catalysts to promote growth and awareness at the individual as well as at collective levels, instead of being considered symptoms to be anesthesised (by medication, quick fix therapies and industries claiming to provide relief from general life experiences which have become labelled as 'problems' e.g. ageing, heartbreak, ordinariness). This mindful discussion that successfully reframes the importance of suffering would be a particularly helpful resource to those in the mental health industries, social workers, educators and those interested in current social cultural studies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Very well-written and clear, important. James Davis has written a realistic book on suffering. I took this on holiday and read it mostly by the pool (with a rye smile revelling in my own individuality) and found myself being 'hooked' into a description of the human condition followed by an examination of 'healthy' or 'natural' emotional suffering which amounts to 'a wake up call' to make changes versus 'unproductive' suffering which has no benefit whatsoever. I urge anyone who is suffering to read this book... er.. which means everyone!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Provoking and relevant predecessor to his new book 'CRACKED' Looking at how we anaesthetise ourselves against constructive suffering in our society
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