The following lists the contents of Self and Society, Volume 44 Issue 2.
Each article can be downloaded as a PDF, but only if you are logged in as an AHP subscriber.
The table of contents for this issue can be downloaded as a PDF file.


Editorial:
Authors: David Kalisch, Richard House
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Depressive realism: what it is and why it matters to Humanistic Psychology
Author: Colin Feltham
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Article:
On the road to nowhere? Social-materialist psychology and depressive realism compared
Author: The Midlands Psychology Group The Midlands Psychology Group
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Abstract:

The two schools of thought known, respectively, as social-materialist psychology and depressive realism – (hereafter abbreviated to SMP and DR) – count themselves as ‘realist’ and science based. They reject the received Western notion of the person as the rational creator-entrepreneur of their own life, and they take a dim view of the current market-driven social and political order as the harbinger of yet more instability to come – economic, political and environmental. However, there are important differences between the two standpoints. For DR, all notions of human perfectibility are futile, whereas social-materialist psychology holds that improvement is conceivable. Our shared bodily experience of a social world structured by power offers some (albeit fragile) potential for achieving agreement about the shape of a common and more humane future, and about how to get there.


Feminism, optimism and depressive realism
Author: Jeannie K. Wright
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Abstract:

Personal journal writing to voice experience is a complex form of inquiry, often related to ethnography. This article critically appreciates depressive realism (DR) from a feminist perspective using personal journal writing. It is argued that second-wave feminist ideas are ‘current’ and developing again and, in different and creative ways, provide alternatives to DR. Collective action is illustrated in the UK and in international contexts, whether to combat individual depression or in more explicitly political movements. Although there is a case for optimistic thinking, the therapy industry is cited as a gendered area in need of radical review, and a focus for feminist attention.


When the desert starts to bloom: moving beyond depressive reality
Author: Russell Stagg
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Abstract:

In this article a person-centred therapist discusses how, in the aftermath of trauma and crisis, people can move beyond depressive reality, and how the concept of the actualizing tendency can help in understanding this process. The author examines research on the impact of a nadir event, the experience of one of the very lowest points of life. Those who survive severe trauma often lose their faith in God, their trust in others and their sense of meaning. Their world has become a psychological desert empty of hope, and some accept this as a depressive reality. Yet as a result of the actualizing tendency, some trauma survivors see their desert start to bloom. They experience positive growth, including renewed appreciation of life, recognition of personal strength, a sense of new possibilities, better relationships, new meaning in existence, a greater sense of connection to something greater than themselves, and deeper compassion. Meaning making is an important factor in growth, and reflection seems to play an important role. The author considers the special case of childhood sexual abuse, and discusses implications for therapy for all types of nadir experiences.


Is life a bitch? The need to contextualize depression and realism
Author: Barbara Dowds
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Abstract:

This article maintains that splitting into polar extremes is detrimental for the individual, for society and for therapy. Accordingly, it balances realism with its opposites of fantasy and idealism, and examines where in society and in therapy we need more of one or the other. It questions whether realism is necessarily linked with depression, and summarizes the research literature which reveals the situational constraints that limit the realism of depressives. The article then goes on to hypothesize some additional benefits of mild depression for both the individual and society. As well as the survival benefits of greater realistic ‘pessimism’, improved cognitive performance and giving up unreachable goals, low mood can carry us below the bland and the superficial into greater depth where the soul can thrive. Finally, some of the steps that might be involved in synthesizing realism and idealism are outlined.


Depressive Realism: an existential response
Author: John Pollard
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Abstract:

Existentialism and Depressive Realism (DR) share some important concerns, most notably meaninglessness, absurdity, death, self-deception and free will/freedom. Within existential philosophy and therapy there is an understanding of the difficult givens of being human. However, because these difficulties relate to our freedom and possibilities, existentialism, unlike DR, can offer a positive and hopeful response. Unlike DR, most of which seems to affirm an essentialist view of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’, existentialism prioritizes our ‘way’ of ‘being’ over an essential human nature, which leads to an openness to individual human experience, likely to include positive elements.


Book Review:
The soul of the marionette: a short enquiry into human freedom
Author: Colin Feltham
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House of cards: on Ken Wilber's neo-traditionalism
Author: Manu Bazzano
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Abstract:

Wilber's writings rely on perennial philosophy and present a traditionalist perspective drawing on selective scholarship. They provide the reader with the illusion of stability and inclusiveness in a field that is instead pluralistic and multi-layered. His perspective is implicitly wedded to political conservatism and to a hierarchical vision of human experience that denies the reality of the body and the transience of life, and is at variance with a progressive counter-tradition and a counter-cosmology whose provisional tenets are highlighted.


Wilber and me
Author: John Rowan
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Article:
Wilber and me – or is it I, it or thou? A commentary on Bazzano and Rowan
Author: William West
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Wash your plate: rejoinder
Author: Manu Bazzano
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Article:
Critique of Manu Bazzano: a rejoinder
Author: John Rowan
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Know thyself
Author: Robert Sardello
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The AHP chair’s page
Author: Lucy Scurfield
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Letter to the Editor:
A word about Alan Watts
Author: John Rowan
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Book Review:
Against obedience
Author: Michael Kalisch
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Grace and danger
Authors: Subhaga Gaetano Failla, Manu Bazzano
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Beyond self-help
Author: Stuart Morgan-Ayrs
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People, not illnesses
Author: Paola Valentini
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Not another theory
Author: Cristalle Hayes
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From personal to global – the art of living well
Author: Laurence Hegan
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Take a hike: the trail as therapy
Author: Nigel Armistead
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Joy of being
Author: Nigel Armistead
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Excuses to kill
Author: Toby Bull
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