16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
May knock you off your feet,
This review is from: Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration (Paperback)
Feeling overwhelmed? Can't understand why some people sail through life relatively easily? Seem unproductive but occupied with far-fetched ideas? Or work with gifted children? The theory of positive disintegration (TPD) may be just what you need.
Although a lay person, I'm fairly widely read in psychology so I was surprised I had never heard of this theory by the Polish psychiatrist Dabrowski. It seems many of his works are out of print and, if obtainable, quite expensive. This collection of articles by his followers seems an outstanding way to become acquainted with TPD.
Who might have suspected that the difficulties some of us seem invariably to face despite efforts to adjust are a powerful means by which we can grow throughout our life? Perhaps you did. You may have felt like you were, by temperament, an artist but not producing art. You may have moved outside of common values. Dabrowski was such a person and he recognized their value. He saw that society tended not to value such people even though much depended on them. They are less likely to succeed in business but some may be more likely to have rich inner lives. Dabrowski considers such people as to be quite likely to be on an accelerated development of their personality toward an ideal not given to them by society but created each by him/herself in struggles outwardly and inwardly. Such people and not the easy success stories or those adjusting easily represented for Dabrowksi authentic mental health. Not that some may not fail but what seemed like illness may, in fact, provide conditions for personal growth and significant, creative contributions to society.
Dabowkski is not R.D. Laing. The disintegrations he describes may lead to illness (and even positively beyond, as with Laing) but need not at all. Dabrowksi was in tune with the oversensitive, those many with "overexcitabilities": his concern was that such people learn to direct themselves and appreciate their nature. He warned against school environments that could crush gifted children by overemphasizing grades and the use of criticism. He didn't provide therapy so much as encourage those who were prone to ongoing cycles of the dissolution of "lower" mental processes and creation of higher forms, as they developed a rich hierarchy of values, to learn to provide their own therapy.
The articles in this book flow together well and seem to provide a relatively comprehensive look at how TPD might be applied.
Do I understand TPD? Reading this review, you probably glean that I'm just learning about it and haven't quite realized what to make of it. It seems to help me to understand myself and my past - but maybe I am deceiving myself. Nevertheless, I recommend this book strongly if you work with gifted children or any of what I describe makes sense and seems like it might apply to you or someone you know.
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jul 2008 00:37:02 BDT
One of the articles in this book [ Chapter 4: "Dabrowksi on Authentic Education" by Marlene D. Rankel, Ph. D. notes the 5 "idols" of American life and education criticized by Dabrowki:
1) Behaviorism in psychology, as over-emphasizing measurement more suitable for training of animals than humanistic education
2) Excessive advertising that leads people into mindlessness and away from inner concerns
3) overvaluation of material goods and comparison to neighbors based on that ("she who has the most toys wins")
4) attitudes of certainty which have at their root acceptance of mediocrity, which leads to efforts to impose one's views on others.
5) conformity, seeking groups similar to oneself, an adjustment to mediocrity.
Do these seem to you a good description of U.S. idols? If you don't share these idols [and live in the U.S.] , you undoubtedly feel you don't fit in.
What do you think the "idols" of British life and education are?
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2008 11:28:52 BDT
I have 'discovered' TPD in the last few weeks and it seems to fit exactly my life. So, I looked here on amazon and found this book - your review has helped persuade me to buy it.
So, I will hopefully be in a better position to reply to this soon. I am British but have been living in India for 3 years. Am on the verge of returning, due to events beyond my control, and know I have to analyse what it is about life in UK that means i feel like I don't quite fit in in my home country.
So, I will read the book and think about what it says. I am looking forward to another perspective.
In the mean time, thank you for taking the time to write a review. It has certainly helped me.
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2008 17:14:48 BDT
I hope you do find the book helpful. If you haven't come across it yet, the web site
is an excellent resource about TPD.
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2008 01:40:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2008 04:46:34 BDT
My "honeymoon" with TPD is over. Now that my initial excitement with it has died down somewhat, I'm beginning to review just how well it does indeed describe me and it what way it might help me. I feel reason to be suspicous: who wouldn't want to feel one is gifted and creative even if one hasn't been able to show it well [yet]? Who wouldn't want to rationalize one's anxieties and failure to fit in as part of a "grand" process. Maybe I am just messed up and would do best to attend to "mundane" cognitive therapy techniques and focus on my "boring" job: not that I can't do these in any event but shouldn't I be busy working on my novel :-)
I'll be interested in hearing about the experiences of others responding to this book and TPD in general.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Aug 2008 13:02:27 BDT
Thanks for the link - I had found it previously.
Might be REALLY sad but there is a facebook site - newly set up - on this. Sad, because I set it up after discussions with friends and others on different sites (HSP etc)! Not much there yet but a few links to info, a few discussions on the go etc. I know how many people feel about facebook but it's been a good forum...
I have the book now but haven't got round to reading it - I will do though in the next few days. i have re-read the synopsis i have and I am still liking it. Even if only because it validates how I am feeling.I know what you mean about wanting to 'rationalize one's anxieties and failure to fit in as part of a "grand" process' - it is something I would love to be able to do. Maybe I am really just a bit strange!
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2008 15:32:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Aug 2008 15:37:21 BDT
I went to the Facebook group to have a look: good for you, I see the discussions have already begun there.
I'll bookmark it and follow. Not sure I want to join yet another Internet group but reading through even what is already there was helpful. Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2008 02:11:23 BDT
I always loved the saying "Being normal is nothing to be proud of".
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2010 01:24:43 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Feb 2010 01:25:07 GMT]
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2010 01:27:43 GMT
Came here to order the book... But, after reading your (helpful) review plus your post-honeymoon thoughts, i just wanted to ask if you're familiar with Elaine N. Aron's work? These two are closely linked and her book (The Highly Sensitive Person) is splendid. May prove very helpful if you're in doubt.
I know, I know, I'm a year and a half late :)
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2011 11:59:46 BDT
Hi Wisak, Calmly and Snooks
I too have read Aron's 'The Highly Sensitive Person' - an excellent book - but, while it was helpful in making me feel less alone with my 'over-sensitivities' (as so many friends referred to), it did not help me move any further forward in trying to fit in with society. (I guess I was looking for a label that would make my general over-excitability and sensitivities acceptable.) Saying that, I would recommend Aron to anybody suffering by society's inability to accept such sensitivities as both normal, and as a positive.
Dabrowski has proved more enlightening, however. I saw an Educational Psychologist two days ago, referred by a university disability resource centre in my quest to have my dsypraxia confirmed. The Ed Psych confirmed that while I do have dyspraxic tendancies, I'm actually gifted (his tests showed an IQ of 134+) and, in common with so many gifted others, I exhibit and/or experience most of the sensitivies listed in Dabrowski's over-excitabilities.
As a PGCE student, the Ed Psych's diagnoses (including an additional one of auditory processing disorder - simply put, the inability to filter out background noise) have confirmed to me what inwardly I already knew: that I wouldn't be able to cope with teaching in a state school. At the same time, I feel vindicated both in my failure to complete my degree (despite knowing I was intellectually more able than the majority of my peers) and in my lack of 'life' success (who's definition of success?!). Dabrowski has given me hope, understanding and - probably most importantly - self-acceptance.
Good luck to you all!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›